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News Code: 859


Scot Muslims Educate Pupils on Islam

A Muslim women resource center in Scotland has toured scores of classrooms around Scotland after being contacted by a Dundee school to correct students’ misconceptions about Islam.
“We want to build bridges to make children see we are not that different.” Safa Yousef, a member of AMINA center, told the Daily Record on Wednesday, November 27.
Over the past two years, Safa and Samina Ansari were busy making 100 visits to different schools across Scotland.
The project was launched when a Dundee school contacted the resource centre, inviting them to offer a true image of Islam to its pupils.
The concerns started when a Dundee school asked its pupils to write down their thoughts on hearing the word Muslim.
Their responses were illuminating, including “terrorist”, “9/11”, “scary” and “curry”.
Donning hijab, the two Muslim women offered children of the Castlemilk High school in Glasgow their first encounter with Muslims face to face.
Safa told the children that 9/11 terrorists hijacked her religion.
“What they did was nothing to do with Islam. There are dafties in every religion,” she said.
The children laugh when they hear this Muslim woman trot out “dafties” in her Glasgow accent.
“When the children hear us talk to them in a down-to-earth way, they appreciate that we are just like they are,” she said.
“We want them to see that we are assertive women with jobs. They see the human side to Islam.”
“Even just our presence in the classroom, talking with a Scottish accent, has a positive impact.”
As for hijab, the children are given photos of women in headscarves, including the Queen and Mother Theresa.
Safa told the kids that when she first decided to wear the hijab, her father was concerned.
“A lot of you will think that I wear this because I am oppressed. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It was my choice,” she said.
Showing photos for broadcaster Lauren Booth, many children were shocked that a white woman is a convert.
“A lot of them don’t realize they have probably mixed with Muslims, that they come in all nationalities and cover all races,” Safa, 24, said.
Moreover, the pupils were told about the five pillars of Islam and their names in Arabic.
“I tell them how I pray. They may know the textbook answer but there is a difference,” Safa said
“I tell them I might do it when I am out shopping, that it is my conversation with God.
“It brings me back down, boosts my energy and positivity.”
They ask the children what proportion of the Scottish population is Muslim and the answers range from 35 per cent to 75 per cent.
Scotland is home to more than 50,000 Muslims, making up 1.4 percent of the population.
Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has thirty mosques.
Fascinated by the Muslim women, children did not want to leave.
Robyn, 12, said the women had opened her eyes.
“You shouldn’t judge anyone because of what religion they follow,” Gemma, 13, added.
Source: On Islam