"Proud Graduate of Muslim School," a Commentary by Sumayya Qadri

March 24, 2007

Author: Sumayya Qadri

Source: Orlando Sentinel


In recent times, madrassas, or schools, have been given a negative image and are stereotyped for preparing anti-Western Muslim minds. I am happy to know that another Muslim school is in the making, a school that is working to combat these stereotypes. The Muslim Academy of Greater Orlando is expected to open soon in its beautiful facility on Apopka Vineland Road.

The first American schools began with faith-based education in which Latin and knowledge of the Bible were required of all students. Today, our country continues to promote faith-based education, allowing school choice to many students who would like to be in parochial schools.

I was fortunate to attend the first Muslim school in Orlando, the Muslim Academy of Central Florida, on Goldenrod Road. I received a well-rounded education that encompassed not only academia but respect, modesty and character development. I was taught to be a responsible and patriotic citizen of my country.

I'll never forget one social-studies project, when my school hosted the first interfaith luncheon for students from the Hebrew Day School and Trinity Preparatory School. We had a meaningful dialogue between the followers of the three monotheistic religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Friends of the Jewish and Christian faiths were surprised to see the many similarities among the three religions as opposed to differences.