WBEZ | Sadiya Barkat http://www.wbez.org/tags/sadiya-barkat Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en ‘Who’s Osama bin Laden?’: Teaching 9/11 to Muslim youth http://www.wbez.org/content/%E2%80%98who%E2%80%99s-osama-bin-laden%E2%80%99-teaching-911-muslim-youth <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/muslim-kids-3_WBEZ_Odette.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the ten years since Sept. 11, many Muslim Americans feel they’ve had to deal with rising discrimination. Those who remember 9/11 at least understand how this started. But there’s a new generation of Muslim Americans who don’t. They were too young in 2001, or they weren’t yet born. But these children aren’t too young to perceive discrimination. At least one local Islamic school is still working through how, exactly, to teach its young students about 9/11.</p><p>The tenth anniversary of 9/11 wasn’t issue number one for students at MCC Full Time Islamic School in Morton Grove this week. Instead, the first day of school was. That was Tuesday. Habeeb Quadri is the principal.</p><p>"It’s exciting, I can’t believe it, we’re back," he said to his students. "Hopefully, insha’allah, you all had a good summer, and a good Ramadan. Yes?"</p><p>About 400 kids attend grades K-8 here. So, we’re mostly talking about kids between 4 and 13 years old. You do the math: That means in 2001, the oldest kids were maybe 3 years old when the planes crashed into the twin towers. So, there’s a line that divides kids old enough to remember 9/11 from the kids that aren’t.</p><div class="inset"><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><em><span style="color:#ff0000;">"You know, we talk about the wars that are happening," she said. "Our students might say, 'Why are we still fighting in Iraq, or why are we still fighting in Afghanistan?' And that opens up the entire context of 9/11, then we do go into it."</span></em></span></p></div><p>That distinction kind of crept up on Sadiya Barkat. She teaches Social Studies and Islamic History to middle schoolers. Back in 2003 she gave students a writing assignment about 9/11. "Where were you, what were you doing, and include all the aspects of a primary source," she explained. "And so they did, and they did a great job."</p><p>It went so well that she kept assigning it every year.</p><p>"And when I continued the assignment, every year it would become more and more vague," she said. "Until the 5th or 6th year, and the kids were like well, we don’t really remember 9/11, or we’re too young to remember 9/11. And that’s when I realized this is becoming history now."</p><p>Barkat doesn’t give that assignment anymore. She realized that 9/11 is now something that has to be taught. It keeps coming up in class in other ways -- just not directly.</p><p>"You know, we talk about the wars that are happening," she said. "Our students might say, 'Why are we still fighting in Iraq, or why are we still fighting in Afghanistan?' And that opens up the entire context of 9/11, then we do go into it."</p><p>And for the most part, that’s how the MCC handles 9/11. It comes up in impromptu discussions in social studies class. Since 9/11 this Islamic school has also started explicitly teaching that extremism is wrong in religion classes.&nbsp;</p><p>But at least one parent thinks the school should do more. That’s Khawaja Rizwan Kadir.</p><p>"My concern were manifold. First, when you don’t have facts about a major event like this, I’m afraid that conspiracy theories or hearsay sets in," Kadir explained. "The other concern was if that is the case, then these kids are going to grow up in this society feeling alienated, not fully engaged."</p><p>Kadir says the whole point of Islamic schools is to give Muslim youth in America a strong sense of identity. He says they should feel confident, so they can face discrimination, and won’t be tempted by extremist ideology.</p><p>Kadir thinks Islamic schools in the U.S. are doing a pretty good job, but he worries the kids are not prepared for mainstream society when some don’t even know who Osama bin Laden is.</p><p>Kadir decided to address this issue himself. This spring he gave a presentation to MCC students. It covered a modern history of the Islamic world. It was a history, civics, and religion lesson, all rolled into 45 minutes.</p><p>At the end he took questions. A 12-year-old student made it clear just how much more work there was to do.</p><p>"He raised his hand," Kadir explained. "He said, 'How is it possible that Osama bin Laden flew those planes into the World Trade Center, got out of those burning planes, got out of the burning building in the midst of the policemen and everything, went back to Afghanistan, and then was captured and killed 10 years later?'"</p><p>Kadir says he doesn’t want to be harsh. He says after 9/11, Muslim-Americans were so busy trying to explain themselves to non-Muslims that they didn’t realize that, some day, they'd have to explain 9/11 to their own.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/%E2%80%98who%E2%80%99s-osama-bin-laden%E2%80%99-teaching-911-muslim-youth