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The youth centre in Leeds that was investigated in the wake of the 7/7 bombings has created a youth forum to promote positive identities for young Muslims.The Hamara centre, in the Beeston area of the city, has set up the 12-strong forum of 18- to 25-year-olds in response to concerns raised by young people in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

After the bombings youth workers organised a consultation with 150 young people, which resulted in the Muslim Youth Speak report. This contained 16 recommendations, one of which was to create a youth-led forum to represent young Muslims.

One of the forum’s first tasks will be to try to influence the media to help present a more balanced portrayal of young Muslims. The first of a series of training sessions, which the forum is taking part in, has focused on working with the media. The group spent a day with John Morrell, an ex-BBC journalist who now works with communications group the Media Trust.

They learned how to give interviews, work with the media and how to promote positive stories.

M Kamran, the Leeds Muslim Youth Forum development co-ordinator, who works at the centre, said: “We are working on the issues that have come up after 7/7. I was not working at the Hamara centre at the time, but there was a lot of press and media coverage.

“The forum is about engaging young Muslims in positive activities, and making active citizens,” he added. “It is about changing perceptions, and showing that there is more going on. We are going to have to touch on 7/7. But it is about showing people how they are perceived.”

The Hamara youth access point, an offshoot of the Hamara centre, was investigated after the bombings. Two of the bombers attended the centre, and one worked there as a volunteer.

– See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/ypn/news/1066303/bme-leeds-youth-centre-boost-muslim-image#sthash.u7JNNl1r.dpuf

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