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BIRR is the hope for an embattled community of Muslim youth needing support and guidance in what is becoming a complex world around them.

BIRR is concerned with the various factors that contribute to the identity crises and disengagement of Muslim youth from society. When these identity struggles begin, the youth start searching for answers about ‘who they are’ and ‘where they belong’, but their search often leaves them vulnerable to the extremist agenda.

BIRR identified the problem of the growing reliance of Australian-born Muslim youth on religious information promoting extremism in the name of Islam. The distribution of such material in various prayer halls and particular suburbs has led to the formation of youth sub-cultures of alienation and disenfranchisement, which in turn has had a negative impact on the harmony of society as a whole. Furthermore, we believe the current generational gap between Australia-born Muslims and the Muslim community’s leadership has left large sections of the community isolated, searching for their Australian Muslim identity amongst extreme sub-cultures and lifestyles.

BIRR seeks to eradicate these negative influences, which have undermined the well-being and growth of a considerable section of Muslim youth in southwest Sydney. We believe that the situation could worsen if left alone, thus further imbedding extremism in society which in turn influences larger sections of the Muslim community.

When left un-countered, extremism widens the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims, producing Islamophobic reactions against the largely innocent Muslim community, normally as a result of the mistaken belief that extremism is Islam. The extremism from some fringe sections of the community and the reactions by other sections produces an atmosphere of fuelled tensions and produces a cycle of hate, which will only lure more disaffected youth into the extremist ranks.

Muslim youths need to be empowered with the right narratives and messages to construct a positive and productive Australian Muslim identity. Only a strong leadership which is connected with the youth can rectify the current crisis by providing much needed advice for winning the ‘battle for hearts and minds’.

BIRR has been launched as the vehicle to encourage and empower young Australian Muslims to speak out and to represent their communities effectively by replacing misinformation about themselves and their religion with accurate and reliable facts.