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Press release

Message to Muslim Youth (Jimas) conference on Educating the Family - Building the Foundation of a Successful Society held at the University of Leicester, 27-30 August 2004

I am pleased to be able to send a message of support to this JIMAS conference. JIMAS is a vibrant and youthful organisation led by brother Abu Muntasir. I have a personal admiration for the innovation and open-minded style of leadership Abu Muntasir has shown. The challenges facing an organisation with roots such as those of JIMAS are numerous. There is a battle of ideas raging within Islam and the wider world that requires new thinking and courageous people to break from mistakes of the past. Islam must not become a prisoner of its own history, instead it must re-emerge as a religion of peace and justice for all peoples of the world. I am confident that JIMAS will rise to this challenge.

The theme of this year's conference is a crucial one. The health of the family ultimately determines the health of the society in which we live. A child needs a loving, caring and an engaging atmosphere to grow into a normal adult. It is a parental responsibility to ensure that a child grows into a mature and confident individual. Children learn a great deal from the examples parents set in their own lives such as patience, honesty, truthfulness and fairness. Often out of enthusiasm, parents indoctrinate their children. This destroys their creativity; instead, they should teach their children the criteria to distinguish right from wrong so that by applying the criteria children can themselves arrive at the right conclusion.

The home should be a place of love, happiness and contentment. It should be the most attractive place in once life to avoid being distracted by something that may be undesirable. Children should be involved in decision-making in family affairs not only to train them as to how decisions are made but also to give them the feeling that they are being treated as mature individuals. The more trust and confidence parents show in their children's abilities the more responsible their children will behave.

In the formative stage of a child's development, serious thought should be given to the possibility of living in proximity to their grandparents, who would be happy to help out with childcare chores with a smile.

To know how important the role a family environment plays in moulding the life of a young person it is but necessary to study the life histories of criminals and dropouts. Invariably, one finds that human failings are rooted in childhood - something they missed out on, something they did not get when they were young.

Only a mature and stable family is best capable of producing productive members of a cohesive society.

From Dr. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui
Leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain





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