<NR>The small town of Jerome Illinois made big news this week when they announced plans to celebrate Muslim Appreciation Month in exceptional fashion. Students at Westhills Middle School will get a taste of Islamic living during November as the school gears up to expand children’s understanding and tolerance of Islam.
The middle school, which teaches grades 6th through 8th, houses roughly 300 students during its nine month school year. Each day of November curriculum will start with a prayer to Allah. Children will then repeat an Islamic pledge of allegiance to Afghanistan’s flag. Studies will include Arabic reading and writing, Islamic history and Qumran study to name a few.
Traditional Islamic meals will also be served in the cafeteria. The month-long celebration will culminate in a two-hour school play about the life and teachings of the prophet Mohammed.
Parents will be required to purchase new school uniforms; Abayas for the girls and Thobes for boys. Failure to partake in the month’s activities will lead to a failing mark and the child being forced to take the grade over.
In a phone conversation, school principal Mohammed Ishir told me:
“I have been seeing a disturbing trend in the conservative news media when it comes to racism against Muslims. There is simply too much prejudice in today’s western culture. All I know to do is to reach out to the children. I hope by showing them the true meaning of this peaceful religion I can bring acceptance to future generations.”
I applaud Ishir and his school for their bold step into a progressive new future. A future where all individuals who have claimed to be God are respected and revered on an equal pedestal.
There’s no need to have winners. Not when you have peace.