Teenage Muslim kids in American being brought up in the public schools are under peer pressure to hang out every weekend for entertainment. This entertainment may vary from a get-together at a friends house, playing video games, basketball, interacting with girlfriends or spending time at movies and malls. This can go further extreme to the point where kids get involved in drugs and other adventures like guns and robbery.
For teenagers who are 18 and over, pre-marital consensual sex may be an acceptable practice in American secular society, however from Islamic, Christian or Jewish religious guidelines, this is unacceptable. For a Muslim youth to do drugs, consume alcohol or get involved in pre-marital consensual sex is prohibited and every young or adult Muslim should protect him or herself from these shameful actions.
These are real challenges for many Muslim parents who want to protect their teenage kids from getting involved in immoral or criminal activities like sex, drugs, and alcohol that do not comply with their religion and cultural values. In this fear, they prohibit their kids from entertaining themselves with their public school friends while their peers and friends spend weekends at movies, malls or sleepovers.
Young Muslim hangout groups are a great alternative for Muslim youth in America to properly channelize their energies in a positive manner along with entertaining themselves over the weekend in activities like sports, dine-outs and hanging out with the kids of their age group. The Young Muslim groups also popularly known as YM groups are available all over the US particularly in the urban centers with relatively higher Muslim demographics. The general age group is between 13 – 25 years.
Kids in the YM group meet once a week on Friday nights around 6:30 in the evening, they start the hangout with a group discussion at a local Muslim center or a school. Kids are encouraged by their group leaders who are also young Muslims between the age of 18 -25 to bring up and brainstorm on topics that might be bothering them in their daily lives. This gives an open platform for the kids to exchange views on the challenges they face in American society. Kids after the group discussion session, pray their Maghrib or Isha Salat and then proceed to their next activity which is sports like basketball or soccer. They finally go out for dinner at the local Halal fast food restaurant or order pizza and sandwiches delivery. Kids return back home around 10:45 PM after spending 4 hours together educating and entertaining themselves.
This is a great platform for American Muslim Youth to learn from other Muslim kids of their age along with getting entertained. This not only provides a platform for their recreation but also protects them from other vulgar activities that they might potentially get involved if they were to hang out with their co-students in public school.
I encourage Muslim American parents to consider sending their kids to these YM groups however they still need to be vigilant about their kids by keeping an open and friendly communication channel with them to make sure that they are not getting astray.
If you are interested in your local YM group, please refer to their YM website for more information on the groups available near your area.