The 9/11, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan, Beslan school siege, Syrian Civil War, the Arab Spring, and terror attacks in London, Boston, Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, Saint Petersburg, Nice, Berlin, Madrid, and many other unfortunate events creates an image that the West and Russia are on a collision course against the Muslim world, and it is threatening the western civilisation.
This is a very black and white approach because the Muslim world is changing quite rapidly and it will become one of the key drivers in the global economy. Generation M, the young Muslims, will dominate the Muslim world in the future, which has currently 1.6 billion citizens.
- In 2010, 63 percent of the Muslim population were under 30-years-old.
- In 2030, 26.5 percent of the world population will be Muslim.
- Muslim middle class is currently 300 million, and its expected to grow to 900 million in 2030.
- In 2050, there will be 2.8 billion Muslims.
Hence, it is the fastest growing religious group in the world but it is also changing its face. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, there are more female university students than male students. Who would have guessed?
Generation M is individual, innovative, liberal, green, ethical, creative, science-savvy, consumer-savvy, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial but at the same time religious, but on its own terms. This generation is generally quite similar to western millennials. They also like play pop, R&B, rap, rock ’n’ roll and heavy metal music. Generation M also likes to consume western brands but sometimes there might be difficulties because western brands do not necessarily understand the mindset of young Muslims.
But this is changing as brands become aware of the growing market influence of young Muslims. In the United States alone, the market value of Muslims is proximately 170 billion dollars. Hence, the halal market has lots of market potential. Some people are scared of the name halal. They should not be because it only means ‘accepted’. In contrast, haram means ‘forbidden’.
Muslim nations in North Africa and in the Middle East will face extreme challenges if they are not willing to adapt for new trends and cultures. The Arab Spring was already an example of a collision between young Muslims and authoritarian leaders. The easiest way to avoid any collisions is to accept that young Muslims have different values and behaviours, and give them freedoms, which they want to have. Numbers are also on their side. There is no point going against them by trying to rip freedoms away from them because there are already more liberal sub-cultures. Change is inevitable.
ISIS is a total opposite when comparing to Generation M, and it is spreading its horrors in the Middle East and in the West, but it is also trying to isolate Generation M from the West but also from westerners in western societies. Therefore, the West and Russia should understand that Generation M is a modern and a influential group around the world, and therefore, it should be protected. Moderate westerners and Generation M have a lot in common. In 2030, we might see a very different Muslim world, which is dynamic and liberal.
Think you should be concerned by the future of the Muslim world? Think again.