The worst possible combination when living in North America is being Muslim and being a youth. As if one or the other wasn’t hard enough, the combination of the two is lethal. Parents don’t get you and you have a hard time making and keeping friends. You’re always battling between culture and religion, and no matter how hard you try, you never completely “fit in” anywhere. If you’re “too Canadian” you’re going to get ongoing looks of disapproval from masjid aunties. And if you’re a little too religious, forget RCMP, your own classmates will be looking at you funny! So what’s a teen to do? And who do you turn to if you just want to talk?
Today, the organization boasts 30 professionally trained counsellors who take shifts between Monday and Friday from 6-9pm. You can reach out in complete confidence knowing that you’re going to be in safe hands. Not only are they willing to talk to you about your issues, but also offer resources who can assist without compromising Islamic values. For the youth, struggling to strengthen their faith while juggling a Canadian identity, this may be the first and only solution to a slew of overwhelming issues they face while growing up in North America.
Critics of the organization claim that Muslims aren’t “affected” by North American issues, and don’t need a specialized outlet. But teenagers today will verify that everything Naseeha is trying to do, is much needed. Muslim youth aren’t exempt from social issues. They face the same challenges, maybe even more, when it comes to growing up in North America. When faced with the overwhelming amount of feelings and socio-cultural pressures, it’s necessary to have support from someone who “gets you”. That’s the kind of environment offered at Naseeha. Trained professionals who are living the same life you are, and can offer help when you need it most.
The founders of Naseeha want to help Muslim youth overcome the stigma of speaking out. They want to create a “safe space” for those who need to have an unbiased – non-judgmental conversation in a supportive Islamic environment. If we don’t provide our children with an outlet that lets them seek advice from a Muslim source, then they will automatically turn to non-Muslim sources and become vulnerable to advice that isn’t rooted in Islamic values. We are losing our youth to a culture that isn’t conducive to a balanced Islamic upbringing. In order to help them strengthen their own identity they need to speak openly about issues they may have or experiences they might be going through. Naseeha provides a beautiful balance of both, where Muslim youth can turn to for help and advice.
In preparation for their upcoming training program and their desire to expand, Naseeha is reaching out to the community to help fund their initiatives. If you would like to contribute to Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline, visit their website and see how you can help.
Help them help Muslim youth feel empowered and accepted in Canada.