Photo by Trone Dowd. Students at the Al-Iman school in Jamaica present their displays showcasing countries around the world.
BY TRONE DOWD
The Al-Iman School in Jamaica celebrated its annual Heritage Day on Friday, commemorating the diversity not only of the school, but also the melting pot that is the United States.
For the Muslim-based education institution, Heritage Day is meant to provide an opportunity for students to connect and share their diverse cultural backgrounds with their fellow students, visitors and parents in order to better understand each other. Students work year-round on the projects, culminating in colorful and creative displays of what they have learned along the way.
Countries highlighted during the celebrations included Yemen, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Guyana, Trinidad, Nigeria, Egypt and many more.
Prior to the presentation of the projects, students and staff talked about the many aspects of celebrating diversity and what it means to them. Social studies teacher Brother M. Mohsin gave a lengthy and in-depth PowerPoint presentation on racial tensions in America over the years, reflected on the current political climate and pondered what students can do to fight the perception that some have about the Muslim religion.
Mohsin pointed out that many Americans don’t know that Muslims have been a part of the United States for more than three centuries and many of them fought in the Revolutionary War. He shared that the first country to recognize the United States as an independent country during that time was the Muslim nation of Morocco. Even in the wars to follow, he shared that Muslims have shed blood fighting for American values in every major conflict throughout the country’s history. Sharing facts like these, he believes, can combat anti-Muslim culture sentiments.
“We have to make an effort to reach out and show those who may not know about our faith what we are about,” Mohsin said. “This school is a part of that.”