Utah's Only Islamic Day School, Iqra Academy, Educating the Next Generation

August 18, 2006

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


On August 18, 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune reported, "Muslim children in the United States live in two worlds - the circle of their Islamic beliefs and the surrounding American culture. Learning to balance the two can be especially tricky when those worlds collide. Most of Utah's 20,000-plus Muslims send their kids to public schools for a secular education. On the weekends, they go to Sunday school at the mosque to hone their knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices. This Sunday, these parents will be able to see how well their children have learned. The mosque is sponsoring an Islamic Knowledge Competition, much like a spelling bee in which kids answer questions from religious books they have read. Once they miss an answer, they are eliminated until only three in each age group remain. Those three receive prizes. Other Muslims want their children to have a more integrated educational experience where faith and fractions, religion and recess, art and Arabic coexist. That's Iqra Academy, Utah's only Islamic day school. Begun in 2002 with a dozen or so students in preschool through first grade, the school has added one grade a year since then. This year it will have a sixth grade for the first time. Enrollment climbed steadily to 82 last year; after open enrollment this week, it may top 100. 'In Sunday school we have about 250 students, but Iqra is for someone who wants a more Islamic education for their children,' says Shuaib-ud Din, imam (prayer leader) at the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City. 'We are not trying to isolate the children from the world but to insulate them to withstand the evils of society'... Students come from 25 nations or cultures, says school secretary Claudia Taylor, whose children attend the school."