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This Islamic School Teaches How To Be Muslim, And American

Souad Mohammad teaches Arabic to a third-grade category during Al Fatih Academy in Reston, Va.

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Souad Mohammad teaches Arabic to a third-grade category during Al Fatih Academy in Reston, Va.

Neha Rashid/NPR

Like any good fifth-grade teacher, Mike Matthews wants to make his amicable studies section on a American West as sparkling as possible. So he’s formulation a special “Wild West” dusk during a propagandize with his students.

“We’re going to have good ol’ cowboy-fashion prohibited dogs and beans, Texas Toast and beef jerky,” he says. Matthews will tell stories around a ridicule campfire, and for combined authenticity, a fifth-graders will set adult a saloon.

Of course, a tavern stage will be giveaway of any references to alcohol, given a propagandize — Al Fatih Academy in Reston, Va. — is an Islamic institution.

“We had a contention already about what is appropriate, according to a mission,” Matthews says. “The students are going to emanate an indoor saloon, yet we’re going to make it kid-friendly.”

The academy, that serves facile and center propagandize grades, was determined in 1999, “to favour and maintain a abounding American Muslim temperament that balances religious, educational and informative believe and imparts a significance of county impasse and giveaway work.”

The propagandize combines normal classes with Islamic instruction. All students take Arabic, recite from a Quran, and are taught how to pray. Shad Imam, who has a daughter and a son enrolled here, says he and his mother were drawn to this propagandize since of a approach Islamic ideas are woven into a curriculum.

Eighth-graders write letters to internal member about issues that regard them.

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Eighth-graders write letters to internal member about issues that regard them.

Neha Rashid/NPR

“When you’re training about a stars and a planets, when you’re training about science,” he says, “you’re doing it by a rubric of, ‘This is how God combined a world. This is how we, as Muslims, know a universe to exist.’ we find that unequivocally powerful, since often, we think, sacrament is relegated to a compartmentalized partial of society.”

With Islam estimated to be a fastest flourishing sacrament in a country, private Islamic institutions are gaining a same acceptance in American preparation that other eremite schools have prolonged enjoyed. There are now scarcely 300 facile and delegate Islamic schools opposite a country, according to a Council for American Private Education (CAPE), where many of them are represented.

Joe McTighe, CAPE’s executive director, says a Islamic schools share with other private eremite schools a prophesy of their preparation idea that goes over a quite educational course of open physical schools.

“Religious schools see preparation as many some-more than that,” McTighe says. “They demeanour during a cultured dimension, a devout dimension, a reliable and moral. They demeanour during a whole child, in physique and soul.”

The curriculum during Al Fatih Academy but closely follows state guidelines. Eighth graders during a school, like eighth graders opposite Virginia, take civics and learn a rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. Teacher Ann Raheem has her students write letters to their member about supervision issues that regard them.

Ayra Aslam’s blazing emanate was highway congestion. “I wrote to my state inaugurated officials about a trade on Route 7, and how maybe they could, like, repair it by adding an additional lane,” she says. “Because it’s unequivocally bad in a morning.” If they combined an additional lane, Aslam explains, ” we could get to propagandize on time.”

Like many of a comparison girls and womanlike teachers, Ayra wears a headscarf to school, yet it’s not compulsory solely during request time. The propagandize directors aim to move a students’ Muslim and American identities into a singular whole, a idea that responds in partial to a frustrations they themselves felt as immature newcomer Muslims.

“Growing up, we suspicion it was hard,” says Pervin Divleli, a co-founder of a school. “You combined opposite identities for yourself, depending on where we were. If we were with your family, there was a certain expectancy for how we behaved. They were first-generation immigrants, with a unequivocally clever enlightenment that they brought with them. You were a opposite approach when we were in school. You were a opposite approach when we went to a mosque, since there were so many opposite people there. Part of what captivated me here was a event to emanate an sourroundings where my kids can unequivocally know their temperament and figure it and turn an American Muslim.”

Afeefa Syeed is a co-director and co-founder of Al Fatih Academy.

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The Al Fatih module includes a special importance on amicable probity issues.

Ann Raheem non-stop her eighth-grade civics category on a new day by reading a story about children in Birmingham, Ala., heading a polite rights proof in a 1960s.

“It’s so extraordinary what they were means to do as such immature kids,” she says, looking adult from a text. “They done a preference that they were going to risk going to jail, they were going to risk personal assault opposite themselves, to make that change.”

As a students lower their tie to their faith and their Muslim identity, however, they also need to fastener with a existence that Islam has turn compared in some minds with terrorism and hate. The immature Muslims during Al Fatih have struggled with a actions of aroused extremists who share their religion, like a Pakistani American and his mother who carried out a electrocute during San Bernardino.

“They would say, ‘This was a Muslim guy! This was a Muslim woman!’ ” recalls Afeefa Syeed, a co-director during Al Fatih. “And as they’re talking, they’re saying, ‘But that’s not what a Muslim does. How could they even consider to do that?’ And they’re clearly meditative by this, but us only spooning them a answers, since we’ve combined a meridian here where we have them consider by what it means to be a chairman of faith and privately what it means to be Muslim.”

Such conversations might come some-more simply in an all-Muslim environment, where a children brave to lift questions they would keep to themselves in a some-more open setting. Some investigate suggests that Islamic schools might indeed foster some-more giveaway meditative among Muslim-American girl than open schools can.

At a same time, a students during Al Fatih are taught that, if they wish their sacrament respected, Muslims need to learn to honour other faiths.

A third-grader reads from a Quran.

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A third-grader reads from a Quran.

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“That is one of a goals,” says Afeefa Syeed, “to move in somebody to speak about Christianity who is a Christian. A Jewish chairman would come and speak about Judaism. And it helps a students know that if we provide people with authenticity, they will provide us in a same way.”

Most of a students during Al Fatih Academy will go on to a open high propagandize when they finish a eighth grade, that is a top turn taught here. Fateeha Syed, dual months divided from graduation, thinks her preparation during Al Fatih has prepared her for what comes next.

“Here we learn to be ourselves,” she says, “and we go off to open propagandize where we can be ourselves with other people. It gives me a confidence.”