Tackling the problems religion creates: From India, an example of confronting extremism from within

Even while we as faith communities look outward to engage in social change in our societies, we also must confront the challenges within our own ranks - from racism to violence to sexual crimes by clergy and more. Social transformation always begins at home. We cannot ignore the destructive things done in the name of our religions or under the auspices of our religious institutions. But we also cannot just lament. We need new approaches to confronting these demons. In India, Basit Jamal, is setting an example, empowering young people to take Islam back from those who use it to promote extremist ideologies. Learn more about his empathy-rooted work in this article and video by Ashoka India at Youth Ki Awaaz.

Through his transformative work using stories of the Quran, Jamal, has reached out to over 10,000 youth so far and has enabled each one of them to become ambassadors of change within their communities. With a plan to achieve grassroots change by working with the madarsa and mosque networks, he is working on building a curriculum of his work that can be used readily by anyone anywhere to counter the extremist philosophy. One of his ongoing works is a carefully articulated 30 point takedown of the very pillars extremist philosophy rests on, which he has titled – ‘If You Are About to Become a Terrorist, You Might Not Have Been Told’.