Leap of Faith

August 30, 2007


Source: The Oregonian


I believe that you have inherited from your forefathers an ancient dream, a song, a prophecy, which you can proudly lay as a gift of gratitude upon the lap of America. -- Khalil Gibran

TIGARD -- Sitting under a large oak in the courtyard of the Muslim Educational Trust near Washington Square, Wajdi Said quietly reflects on Khalil Gibran's words. As the trust's executive director, he's shared them this summer with four of the school's students who are seedlings of the new Oregon Islamic Academy.

Said had recounted a long passage from Gibran to the students, but he altered the Lebanese American poet's words to note that the school's rising ninth-graders have ties to countries throughout the world. Said repeats Gibran's declaration that though they may be young trees whose roots were plucked from hills far from America, they can say to its founders: "I am deeply rooted here, and I would be fruitful."

Wednesday, the four students will join two others in the academy's inaugural class as the trust takes a measured step toward providing a full high school education in an Islamic school -- a first in the Northwest.