I thought I would post this subject as its something that has been bugging me for a very long time. In the quiet part of the UK in which I live we hardly have any Muslims who could be classed as positive role models for Muslim children. As some of you will be able to imagine sometimes it is important for children to be able to relate to good Muslim role models to see how we can be good Muslims by following Islam and still be successful however this to me simply isn't happening.
I'm now 24 and cannot remember a single Muslim role model in England. Of course I can think of greats like boxer Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X but I cannot think of a single one in England.
Maybe I'm being silly but I recall being at school and writing about Mum as my role model (and shes a damn good role model and I am super thankful for the fact she is my mum). On a few occasions we'd be asked to write about our 'other' role models who we can relate to/may want to be like when we are older and I could never come up with one. i was bullied badly at school and had no brothers or sisters to turn to either. I didn't have an role models who I could look at and think 'that person is a modern day Muslim, stuck to their guns and is now mashallah a successful muslim who I may wish to be like one day (if Allah wills).
My cousin is 11 and he has the same problem. He says he sees Boxer Amir Khan as a positive role model as hes read that Amir reads the Quran every night before he goes bed but at the same time my cousin also wonders if the negative press in the media means Amir isn't so good afterall.
Are Muslims who are in the spotlight in countries like England simply not the type of role models we would want our kids to look at and think 'yup he/she is cool, a good Muslim and I'm proud to be able to call them my role model'?
I personally know one Muslim who is erm very very rich and is making money from a sort of 'entertainment' that is not allowed in Islam. He would class himself as a positive role model. I personally wouldn't as I think hes blurring the line between what is right and what is wrong for a Muslim. He gets tonnes of publicity however I find it scary :'( that is a potential role model to Muslim children in the area.
I was once asked by a journalist how I felt about being a role model to young girls in my area. I found the question shocking as I was just embarking on the start of my career and never thought of myself as someone with 'power' to be called a role model. After being asked that question I often thought about it which made me realise that even though as Muslims we should all have our role model as Our Prophet (PBUH), our parents and our elders some of us are also effected by media and what they show us as role models.
I'm thinking about positive Muslim role models who have has press coverage lately and I can only think of the late former leader of Pakistan Ms Bhutto. To some she will be a negative role model to me she was a positive one (and before anyone asks I am not a political person).
What do you think? Do you know of a Muslim role model who is doing their bit to inspire our next generation to be good Muslim citizens? Do we give our role models enough praise and media coverage? What should be done to ensure our children have the right type of role models (e.g. sports players etc)?
I'm guessing a lot of people will not have an opinion on this
but if you do please share it!