Educating the Muslims of America
Edited by Yvonne Y. Haddad, Farad Sensei, and Jane I. Smith
Oxford University Press, 2009, $29.95
Islamic schools face many challenges in post-9/11 America. Muslims are now regarded with suspicion, and their schools seen as possible breeding grounds for extremists. Yet the number of Islamic schools in the United States is growing as Muslim parents seek education that honors and is in accord with their ethical and moral values and religious beliefs. Additionally, many of them fear placing their children in the public or parochial school environment, where their differences may make them targets for discrimination, harassment, and possibly harm. Sharing the concerns of all faith-based schools for sustainability and healthy development, Muslim educators, parents, and religious leaders are proposing ways in which to “provide sound religious education in a pluralist society.”
The challenges for Islamic schools as they work to educate Muslim youth include producing a school curriculum that provides quality education, especially with regard to the faith and practice of Islam; certainty that they are teaching their faith in a way that is true to its essence yet absent of the extremism that could result in acts of terrorism; and educating a wary American public about Islamic faith and practice.
Educating the Muslims of America presents essays that illuminate the issues currently facing Muslims as they attempt to live as Americans, while holding to their distinctive beliefs and nurturing “a new generation of American Muslims that now has the task of being bridge builders to the larger community.”