CAIRO - Seeking to shield young Muslims against alcohol, imams in the northern British city of Bradford are joining hands to raise awareness in their community about the dangers of alcoholics.
There is a stigma because Islam forbids alcohol and drugs, Ilyas Khan, a member Bradford Imam Forum, told The Telegraph & Argus.
But the youngsters live in a Western society and they are readily available and when they grow up they are attracted to these things.
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A group of 15 Muslim imams will attend a training course at the Lifeline Project in Bradford on Saturday, November 10, on the dangers of drinking alcohol.
This will bring the Imams together to give them the basic tools to work within their communities to help those who have a problem with alcohol, Faz Hafiz, a senior practitioner at Lifeline Piccadilly, said.
We will talk about things like the effect of alcohol on the human body and identify where levels of drinking are dangerous.
Khan admits that there are alcohol problems among the Muslim community in Bradford.
We had a meeting a few weeks ago with Lifeline because there is a problem amongst the Asian community with alcohol, Khan said.
But they are not aware of the help available to get off alcohol and recover from alcohol abuse.
Islam takes an uncompromising stand in prohibiting intoxicants.
It forbids Muslims from drinking or even selling alcohol.
The general rule in Islam is that any beverage that get people intoxicated when taken is unlawful, both in small and large quantities, whether it is alcohol, drugs, fermented raisin drink or something else.
Imams say that that some alcohol-drinking Muslims seek help to abandon the practice.
Some people get sucked in badly but don't seek help because they are scared what the community will think of them and are worried they will be treated as an outcast, he said.
We want to say that is not the case, approach us and we can help'.
Khan hailed the role of civil society organizations helping addicts to give up alcohol.
Organizations like Lifeline are there to help and they do a tremendous job. I have been volunteering there for four weeks there are not many Asians using the service, he said.
Maybe they're afraid to come forward and we want say if there is a problem we can help you resolve it'.
Imams hope that the training will help them guide young Muslims away from drinking alcohol.
This training is going to equip us with the tools to help those who do approach us, Khan said.
We will be able to point them in the right direction to get the help and support they might need.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.The majority of the multi-ethnic minority has Indian, Bengali and Pakistani backgrounds.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net