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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 09:49 GMT
Young UK Muslims: Saima Hanif
I think we do have a voice, after all many of us are young professionals and are articulate.

Saima Hanif
Name: Saima Hanif
Age: 25
Lives: London
Works: Barrister

However, there are too many individuals doing their own thing.

We have no central organisation to represent the views I was taught, as a more liberal and progressive Muslim.

We need a third voice who can say: "We're in the 21st Century - this is what it means to be a Muslim today."

But this progressive body of thought is not represented in mainstream media.

Whenever the media wants a Muslim representative they talk to an elderly cleric in Birmingham. What mandate does he have to speak for us?

There are several complicated reasons for why this representation has not happened.

Some are historical reasons. In Bolton - where I am from originally - we have a large Pakistani Muslim community.

They came from rural backgrounds and they came here to work in the textile industries.

They were not educated, they came over to work. Then all the factories closed down, socio-economic problems developed and they became frustrated.

Now there is a group of people who cannot articulate what they want to say and the situation makes it worse.

But it is a two way street. We have to ask why we are not represented in the mainstream press and how we address this ourselves, on a grass roots level.

We tend to get overly simplified views, when Islam is much more sophisticated than people think.

It frustrates me people think all Muslim woman have to wear the hijab - if I do not it does not mean I'm not a Muslim.

We also have to show that there is nothing inconsistent between being Muslim and British. The two work together.

This "clash of values" idea is nonsense.

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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