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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 09:48 GMT
Young UK Muslims: Shahed Alam
In a nutshell, the media do not represent us.

MEET THE PANEL
Shahed Alam
Name: Shahed Alam
Age: 26
Lives: Oldham
Works: Trainee auditor/volunteer worker

The problem is that we have a minor section of young Muslims with extreme views, of whom some are taking drastic action.

People talk of improving integration - but the July bombers were British with good jobs.

So, how do we make sure these people do not get captured by extremists?

The first thing would be to treat everyone as individuals. We cannot blame all Muslims in this country for what a minority think.

Also, every time a bombing occurs, the media ask us about what happened.

It does not matter how hard we work, we are always branded as different.

UK MUSLIMS' VIEWS
As a Muslim - of Bangladeshi descent - I always feel a sense of belonging to the Muslim brotherhood. So, when injustice is done - for example the riots in France - you feel it.

But at the same time, when David Beckham broke his foot before the World Cup, I worried as much as any other British person did.

All these loyalties - religious and cultural - run parallel and I think that is good.

Two years ago, I would have said I felt no affiliation with Muslim groups, but this has improved.

Many young Muslim organisations are now affiliating themselves with the Muslim Council of Britain to present their viewpoints.

But there is still a long way to go.

Young Muslim people need to be seen on the frontline of British politics. Society needs to help but the younger generation need to take the initiative, too.

We have to wake up and make our voices heard.

In a special week of features about Islam in Britain and Europe, the BBC News website is focusing on voices who have something to say - but may not always get heard.






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