Imam Muhammed Asim Hussain is your average guy from Bradford, who just so happens to be an Imam.
Born in West Yorkshire at the turn of the Century, Imam Asim’s formal Islamic education began at the age of sixteen, when he opted out of further education, to pursue his studies at the Jamia Al Karam, in Nottingham. It was one of those spontaneous, dramatic decisions, influenced by the company and guidance of a very pious, very inspiring man.
Growing up a second generation British-Pakistani in the UK, Imam Asim knows a thing or two about cultural-religious identity crises. This is why he’s able to speak to young people ‘on a level,’ and tackle Islamic traditions and contemporary issues with a down to earth approach, he’s become popular for.
‘I’ve been working with young people since the age of 18, and I’m still young myself. I understand the needs of the young people in this country.’
Certainly a break from your average 60 year-old faith leader, fresh from Pakistan, Imam Asim is out to make sure that UK Muslim youth don’t feel alienated by their own religion. ‘I didn’t have nobody doing this for me when I was a teenager,’ he says, though he’s lucky he had the right kind of adults in his life to keep him walking the straight and narrow. ‘So I want to do it for today’s youth. Otherwise we’re going to lose them.’
To prevent this from happening, the Imam believes that two things are key. Thing one – UK mosques need an upgrade, and really, this is something that’s already started happening. Thing two – young people need better heroes and better company to hang out with. Because the company we keep influences the life paths we take.