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TV generation

OSN highlights this special time of the year with informative programming

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Published: Sat 21 Jul 2012, 11:42 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:32 PM

WITH THE HOLY Month of Ramadan upon us, OSN has produced a line of shows to bring the message home. We speak to Dr. AbdulRahman Abbad, the General Head of the Council of Preachers and Scholars in Palestine and the host of the programme Islam and Youth, to find out more.

How does your programme on OSN endeavour to influence the young today?

This programme answers many questions occupying the minds of the youth in our region. This is the first time when a single programme in 30 episodes tackles these questions in a studied, scientific method. It derives its opinions from the spirit of Islam, which always stands for public interest in a modern and forgiving tone of voice.

Is the programme open to receive calls from viewers?

The show is not open to receive live calls from viewers because the episodes are limited in their time-span. Had the time for each episode been around an hour we would have taken questions over the phone and answered them. To supplement this, the programme is based on discussions the youth have where they tackle issues that matter to them.

What type of challenges do the youngsters of the Middle East face today?

The biggest challenge is the shortage of job opportunities. On a personal level, bachelorhood is a primary concern. They also struggle with reconciling within their societies what seems like schizophrenia between what they are taught (examples) and what they see (practice). There is also great concern over the prevalence of the consumption-based culture rather than a productivity-based one. Many youth feel powerless to achieve many of their ambitions such as marriage, securing a job, creating a family and affecting the political situation of their country.

What role does technology play with regards to finding solutions for the challenges?

Technology is a blessing if we use it properly and a curse if we misuse it. It is a means of making life easier which helps us save time and accomplish many achievements in a better and more organised fashion. Technology affects all aspects of life; industrial, agricultural, trading, engineering, medical, and arts. Look at what Japan was able to do in 25 years through the wise use of technology. The same is being done now by China and Malaysia before it. So if we desire to face challenges we must find new ways to use technology properly, not just import it.

What is the most common question asked by the young or the problems they seek an answer to?

Most of the questions relate to their future and thoughts of immigration under the current circumstances of lack of job opportunities. On a basic level, many young people want to overcome their poverty and anxiety. They seek to find ways to use religion as a way to address current problems and solve them. Also, as can be expected, love and friendship are always major topics with the youth. All are legitimate questions that Arab youth face on a daily basis.

How can the young help each other through their daily lives?

The youth should work together to overcome their challenges. One way is through student unions in universities where they can create a fund to help students in need who cannot afford to pay college tuitions. Also through youngsters’ unions which aim to collaborate between professional sectors. They can also create co-op unions where the wealthy interact with local farmers. They can conduct monthly or weekly meetings to discuss achievable, local projects on both a social and economic level.

What about the role of adults in the youngsters’ lives?

Adults must involve the youth in jobs in order to give them experience they can only gain through practice. Ideally, the Ministry of Youth should be led by the educated intellectual youth who can understand the daily needs of their peers and work on achieving goals for them. The Arab nation is a young nation mostly led by the elders.

How can you encourage the young to hang on to their principles and beliefs when they face different challenges?

Hard times show what men are truly made of. Strong men might bend a little in front of storms, but they never break. The more faith the youth have, the stronger their resilience is.

How did the financial crisis affect the way the young deal with the issues they face in their lives?

Many of the youth have sought refuge by escaping their countries in search of jobs that can feed them. The reaction of some of them was negative so they began smoking and indulging in anti-social behaviour as a reaction to the financial circumstances they found themselves in.

What is the most valuable advice you would like to give the young?

My advice to the youth is not to rush to find solutions and exaggerate their ambitions because change does not come easily – it requires time. They should also never tire of hard work and build their way up. There are many challenges on the national level which reflect the cultural and intellectual challenges we face. We must never lose sight of the exhaustion of natural resources which are reducing day after day, particularly our water resources and agricultural lands.

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