The second follow-up Youth Empowerment Conference was held on Saturday, 19 November, in Sydney at Muhammad Rasulullah Centre, Regents Park, where professionals discussed tools for Muslim Youth to combat Educational, Social and Religious issues.

The events were organised by Shia National Network of Australia Inc and attended by youth and guests, including Minister for Multiculturalism and Seniors Hon Mark Coure, local state MP  Lynda Voltz and Hajeh Maha Aboud, CEO of the Muslim Women Association.

The conference was a follow-up to the first conference held in Ahlulbait Centre in Auburn on 17 July 2022, where almost 100 Muslim Youth were asked to share their issues with the community.

The conference was started by the MC, Sayed Kamran, with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran by youth reciters Fatima Dirani and Hussain Dirani.

The first speaker, Miss Rawasy Al Zubaidi, responded to the youth’s demands to extend the Network’s canvas. Miss Al Zubaidi said that English programs should be put on Network’s Website.

Community directory and database development are on the agenda of the Network.

Discussing the tools, Sayed Zawar Shah suggested that cases of any kind of bullying should be reported to the Grievance Officer in the relevant institutions. He said the swimming classes for Muslim girls are negotiable.

He further added that the mosques and the centres should create youth drops in various facilities, and Islamic scripture in public schools should be more organised on a professional level, while prayer rooms in institutions are negotiable.

Hajeh Maha Abdo, the CEO of the Muslim Women Association Inc, talked about the social tools and discussed different aspects of Islamophobia. She advised the youth to deal with such situations with patience and tolerance.

She referred to Islamophobia Register to report incidents.

Hajeh Maha deliberated on the injurious effects of media on youth and discussed the increasing gap between parents and the youth quoting Syeda Fatim Zehra as a role model for our young women.

Dr Sheikh Hossein Javaheri referred to the reasons for the deterioration of faith in youth, saying it would not happen to us if we had complete faith in Allah.

He referred to various Quranic verses through his PowerPoint presentation and elaborated on how a Muslim should behave in various situations, especially with the neighbours.

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Ms Lynda Voltz explained the kinds of bullying and their negative effects on the youth. She said that the Australian Constitution allows the people complete religious freedom and also the type of prayers the worshippers want to perform. She praised the Network for such initiatives.

Honourable Mark Coure, Minister for Multiculturalism, explained the steps taken by his Government for the Multicultural communities. He said that the amount of grants in this respect had been increased by 70 million in addition to the existing allocation.

The present government has increased the number of interpreters and translators. The Minister praised the role of Muslims in Australia.

The Government has set up an Advisory Council for the Religious Communities and NSW Interfaith Domestic and Family Violence Declaration with the collaboration of faith leaders.

At the end, the Minister handed plaques to the volunteers for their excellent work and media coverage. A plaque was presented to the Minister by Dr Sheikh Hussain Javaheri, the media spokesperson of the Network.

Afghani lunch was provided by the management of Muhammad Rasulullah Centre to conclude the conference.