This Mentor Course was the first of two part course in collaboration with The Muath Trust in Birmingham. The course was held in Birmingham on the 7th and 8th of May 2016. The course was attended by brothers and sisters from around the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Turkey and Spain.
The aim of this course was to train future mentors to help and support new Muslims with their everyday struggles and circumstances in their societies.
The course was delivered in two main parts. The first part focused on learning the necessary coaching skills for mentoring new Muslims which was presented by Ms Kathleen Roche-Nagi from Approachable Coaching UK. The second part was presented by Dr Fadel Soliman from Bridges Foundation and it covered the misconceptions of Islam and how to answer the difficult questions that new Muslims face.
Coaching Skills for Mentoring New Muslims
This section of the course was held in an interactive way where the attendees were heavily involved in discussion and group work. The group discussion started with answering three important questions, Is there a need for mentors? What is mentoring? Why start now?
After discussing the answers of each group to the previous questions, Ms Nagi introduced another group exercise where the groups discussed three possible scenarios and how to deal with each of them. These scenarios included dealing with a family of non-Muslims, a family with a Muslim convert and a heritage Muslim.
Then it was time to understand about how to treat and deal with new Muslims while supporting them. Ms Nagi then showed how important it is to understand their feelings, show appreciation, listen to them carefully and finally communicate respectfully. Ms Nagi then lead a workshop to show the importance of communication and how it can go wrong by illustrating how one item can be explained differently between different sets of people.
Misconceptions About Islam
The session started with Dr Soliman explaining how to help with the new Muslims that just converted and what is the correct way to introduce them to the correct understanding of Islam.
Following this important introduction, Dr Fadel starting stating some of the facts about the origin of Islamophobia and its reasons as well as some facts about Islam which are misrepresented or a distorted truth.
Dr Soliman then started explaining the four main categories of arguments that non-Muslims use to spread their misleading and misconceptions about Islam. These main arguments, and their subcategories, can be answered using the main keys that every mentor must possess.
Following that discussion, our guests selected a list of topics which they get asked about from non-Muslims and Dr Soliman started answering these questions one by one in an interactive way with our guests making sure they completely understand not just how to provide the answers but also the reasoning behind the answer.
Although this was a Mentor Course, NEMA understands that the social aspect is very important between new Muslims. After the first day of the course ended, we all went for a nice meal out where we all shared stories about our experiences and expectations.
NEMA will continue its mentoring programme, which will consist of a number of courses for mentors training. Courses will elaborate on a set of concepts related to mentoring skills and social problems. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, family-related problems, work challenges, religious education and cultural integration. In addition, in cooperation with FIOE organizations, NEMA is planning to repeat the same course in different European countries in local languages.