On Saturday 30th April, Imams Online delivered the second in a series of Digital Summits to 150 Imams, Mosque leaders, Madrassah teachers & Social Media practitioners in Manchester. The day consisted of presentations, E-safety training and discussions on how, as a community and as religious leaders, we can more effectively engage with young people online.
The event was held in partnership with the Lancashire & Manchester Councils of Mosques as well as Social Media giants Twitter and Facebook. Some of the key speakers involved on the day included:
Amjid Khazir – Founder and Director, Media Cultured
Nick Pickles – Head of UK Public Policy, Twitter
Dr Mahmood Chandia – Senior Lecturer at UCLAN
Nick Lowles – Director of Hope not Hate
Each presentation focussed on a key area of discussion and set out to highlight the need for faith leaders to be engaged on a variety of issues and to showcase the benefits of faith leaders being present and active online and in the media.
Dr Mahmood Chandia focussed his talk on the need for Imams to contextulise their faith leadership here in the UK and imparted advice on how to best understand and emulate good practice in leadership by learning lessons from history and engaging in contemporary modes of communication.
As well as focusing on how and why its important to use online platforms to engage the youth, our speakers and attendees also discussed how we can tackle Islamophobia, how to maintain the integrity of Muslim institutions and how to bridge the generational gap – important issues that were shared on the day.
Media Cultured and Hope Not Hate in particular, covered the topic of Islamophobia and Right-Wing Extremism. They discussed how we can tackle the issue to create a peaceful community.
Amjid Khazir, founder and director of Media Cultured, demonstrated the groundbreaking work being done by Media Cultured in the form of workshops that tackle Islamophobia and promote positive messages of Islam. He previewed the trailer of his film ‘Combinations’ which challenges extremism by and against British Muslims – the film will be released at the Australian Film Festival this year.
Nick Lowles, director of Hope Not Hate, focused on the recent surge in right wing extremism and the influence they wield online through specific messaging and by employing deliberately provocative language. In one example he cited an online page that has over 1 million followers. Nick urged the Muslim leaders in the room to be on the same online platform as right wing extremists in order promote positive messages and counter what is being said.
“Far right extremists have thousands and a certain page has a million followers, they spread lies and hatred by using social media. There needs to be a counter on the same platform.”
A key aspect of the summit was certified E-Safety training in delivered by Shaukat Warraich. The training consisted of different aspects
Imams, Mosque Leaders and Teachers should be aware of when children under their supervision ave access to the internet. With the increase in the number of teachers using digital devices in their Madrassahs, it is important for them to know what to look out for and how to safeguard children from harm and abuse.
We were also fortunate to hear talks by Afzal Khan (MEP) & Tony Lloyd (Mayor and Police Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester).
Images from the Imams Online Digital Summit in Manchester