The Global Alliance of Muslims for Equality (GAME) is a new Muslim youth-led global movement, developed, and launched by Moakley Chair Professor Padraig O'Malley of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. From October 13-18, some 50 youth and community workers met at the Kippure Estate and Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in County Wicklow, Ireland to write a Charter of Rights for young Muslims.
The youth came from deprived Muslim communities in Dublin; London; Gringy and Seine-Saint-Denis, Paris; Molenbeek; Brussels; Berlin; Sarajevo; Tirana, Albania; Kacanik and Pristina, Kosovo; Tripoli, Lebanon; and Milan and Rome, Italy.
Because GAME’s member cities come from the major European metropolises of Europe, the youth organization will advocate at every level of government with special attention to European Union agencies and the United Nations. Muslim youth will be at the center of the solution to create new affirming community activities, become advocates on their own behalf, belong to a constructive cause, and connect in a global movement with like-minded Muslim youth. The young Muslims will create a counter narrative to widely-held perceptions of them as an unstated threat.
Before penning their charter, the youth group participated in preparatory programs in team building and leadership, and workshops on narrative structuring and extensive immersion in human, individual, and collective rights. While many organizations across the globe speak for youth, GAME stands out as it gives a collective voice to young people speaking for themselves, in turn creating a sense of collective belonging-in itself an antidote to radicalization.
The charter, written on the final day of the gathering, enumerates the collective rights of young Muslims, articulates their grievances in the language of human rights, and provides a code of conduct entrenching a commitment to non-violence to achieve their goals and aspirations. GAME will advocate their charter in Muslim and non-Muslim communities in their cities, insisting that their own voices be heard and their legitimate grievances addressed.
GAME is the brain child of Dublin-born Padraig O ‘Malley, distinguished professor of peace and reconciliation and an award-winning author and peacemaker with experience in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the Middle East. O’Malley spent two years consulting with Muslim community leaders in these European and Balkan cities.
“In Europe, radicalization and violent extremism,” says O’Malley, “are almost synonymous with Muslim youth who are discriminated against in most spheres of social and economic activity. The violent actions of a few contaminate perceptions of Islam. In their own countries young Muslims are treated as imminent threats. Young people are not listened to. GAME will rectify that.”
Partnering with the McCormack Graduate School in the GAME initiative are EPOS International Mediating and Negotiating Operational Agency and the Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue.