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Tuesday 27th June 2017
Culture

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Shelina Janmohamed at the book launch of Generation M

Shelina Janmohamed at the book launch of Generation M

This week Shelina Janmohamed launched a new book, Generation M: Young Muslims changing the world, which looks at a growing segment of a new generation of Muslims who are hip, entrepreneurial and influential. This hyper-diverse, multi-national and multicultural demographic are young people whose faith still plays an important role in informing their consumer choices and their creativity.

“The story of Generation M has, until now, been an open secret.” Says Shelina, “Energetic, vibrant, entrepreneurial, humorous, determined and proud of their identity as Muslims, they are taking charge of their own lives and demanding to be heard by businesses and brands.”

The high street, she notes, has thus far been slow to respond to this growing segment and have offered very little to the discerning Muslim consumer. This has prompted Generation M to harness their own creativity and entrepreneurship to create businesses to fulfil their needs. In doing so, they have kick-started the global Muslim Lifestyle market which is now being recognised by large multi-nationals and corporations as a growing and potentially lucrative sector. Writing in the book, Shelina points out that “the halal brand is bigger, more widespread and worth more than any other brand, whether that’s Apple, Google, Nestlé or McDonald’s. The halal food and beverage sector alone in 2014 was estimated at over $1.1 trillion, and that’s before we even consider the wider Muslim lifestyle marketplace.”

In Generation M,  Shelina writes: “According to the Pew Research Centre on Religion and Public Life, while the world’s population is projected to grow 35 per cent in the next four decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73 per cent – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050; …  the Muslim middle class, with greater affluence and sophisticated tastes as well as pride in their religion, are likely to triple from an estimated 300 million in 2015 to 900 million by 2030 … The Muslim middle classes are driving a boom in products and services aimed at Muslim tastes …” Shelina also notes that growing prosperity and the expanding Muslim middle-class have been identified as acting as a bulwark against Muslim violent extremism.

It is normally assumed that as people become more educated and more affluent, religion falls by the wayside, for Muslims this is demonstrably not the case. Shelina’s Generation M puts a spotlight on this phenomenon. Islam plays a central role for Generation M (as a demographic), everything Generation M do comes back to their faith. Decline of religion in the West as a result of affluence, wealth and education is not mirrored in the Muslim world. The new generation may not be as conservative in their practice and adherence, but they are proudly and unabashedly Muslim. All this is proof that religion, for Muslims, is a positive driving force in all aspects of Muslim life and lifestyle and does not look like declining anytime soon.

Generation M is an enjoyable, lucid and very readable book. Shelina has captured the zeitgeist of a vibrant and positive developing global Muslim demographic that is changing the world for the better. Generation M’s influence reaches beyond their own community. Whilst media and governmental focus is on a small number wayward and misguided Muslim youth wreaking havoc in the world, the vast majority of Muslim youth are fully engaged with modernity hand in hand with their religion and see no contradiction between the two. Their religion acts as a check and balance to counter the negative lure of consumerism. They are making positive contributions at the local level, but the effect resonates globally.


Generation M is available from most good bookshops. You can get it from the Amazon link below

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