• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Sikh News Muslim, Sikh Attempt To Educate Educators

Jun 1, 2004
Muslim, Sikh attempt to educate educators :: Advocates explain common misconceptions of respective religions to Fremont teachers

By Melissa Evans, STAFF WRITER

FREMONT -- When Maha ElGenaidi was growing up in the 1970s, her Islamic faith was never an issue among grade school classmates.

It simply wasn't discussed.

Now, with an increase in the number of Muslim immigrants whose children wear scarves to school and pray between classes, along with the stereotypes stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, harassment is prevalent, she said.

"It is not reported because of the proximity of the victims and the perpetrators," she told a group of teachers, parents and administrators Tuesday during a training session on Islam and Sikhism for Fremont educators. "Kids are kids. They are afraid to talk."

ElGenaidi, executive director of the Islamic Networks Group, and Kavneet Singh, a member of the Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force, gave overviews of their respective faiths in hopes of coming to individual classrooms and larger gatherings of teachers, parents or other groups.
GetAd(20,'box', 300, 250,'');

The discussion was sponsored by the Interfaith Freedom Foundation, a Fremont-based group that advocates religious liberty.

Singh, an American-born Sikh, grew up in Southern California and was the only turban-wearing student in school. He said people were surprised he spoke English so well.

Both he and ElGenaidi visit police departments, churches, schools and other groups to share the basics about their faiths. Some of the topics include beliefs, history, demographics and common misconceptions.

Something that always surprises people, for example, is that 70 percent of Arabs in the United States are Christian, not Muslim, ElGenaidi said.

In schools, curriculum on religion

was introduced in 1989, ElGenaidi said. Students learn about religion in different contexts from sixth to 12th grade, she said.

Kids are great audiences because they are not afraid to ask questions, the presenters said. Kids want to know how someone wearing a head scarf takes a shower, and whether boyfriends are allowed to see their girlfriends' hair, ElGenaidi said.

There also are many laws regarding religion that teachers are unaware of, including the display of religious symbols during the holidays. If a student asks that a Jewish Menorah be shown alongside a Christmas tree, teachers must comply, she said. To arrange a seminar, contact Singh at (925) 575-1614 or ElGenaidi at (408) 296-7312. Information on religion in public schools can be found by contacting the First Amendment Center at (703) 284-2859 or online at www.freedomforum.org


Jul 26, 2004
New Delhi, India
thats a great works these guys r doing? something like "reach out to your community prog" should be taken by all of us to atleast educate the communities we all live in.