Local Time

Monday, January 16, 2006

What Muslim children think of U.S.

Enquirer reporter Jennifer Edwards recently sat down with a group of
students and staff at the region's first Islam-based school, the
International Academy of Cincinnati at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati
in West Chester Township.

Each was asked "What do you think of America?"

"It's a great country. It has lots of freedom in it. Great education
and all the sports you can want to play and stuff."

Fifth-grader Abrar Tanveer, 10, of West Chester Township

"It's a really nice place to live, and you can learn a lot of
languages."

Fifth-grader Mary Abiba, 10, of Centerville

"It's a good place. It's very diverse. You can express yourself in any
way you want, whether by what you say or how you dress."

Seventh-grader Laila Sabagh, 12, of Dayton

"It's a beautiful place."

First-grader Fatima Darwiche, 6½ , of West Chester Township

"It's a good place to live because there's more than one culture. If
you're walking down the street and you're from Saudi Arabia and you see
someone from, oh, Africa, they don't have to make fun of you because
they know you are in the same place for the same reason."

Third-grader Melat Mohamoud, 8, of West Chester Township

"It's a good place to live because it isn't a dirty environment. It is
a very clean environment. And you can learn a good education here."

Third-grader Mahnoor Alam, 8½, Hamilton

"I like America because there's so many rights. Everyone has rights,
and the laws have gotten better."

Fourth-grader Fatima Khalid, 9, Mason

"It's an exciting place. There's lot of places to go like museums and
water parks and rides. It's really clean. There's not a lot of waste.
It's not too hot or too cold. It's in the middle. It's perfect. And
there's good education."

Fifth-grader Abedalrahman Traboulsi, 9, of West Chester Township

"I think it's a good place. There's good food to eat and clean water to
drink."

Second-grader Ameen Ahmad, 7, of Mason

"It's a beautiful place. And in America, they make good stuff and have
good doctors to help sick people and good other ways to help people.
Most schools have good educations."

Third-grader Ayesha Najeed, 7, of West Chester Township

"It has nice stuff, and it's colorful."

Second-grader Nisha Shabbir, 7, of Mason

"America is beautiful. I've had the opportunity to travel all the way
across the country, from coast to coast, so I have seen a lot of it. I
think it is the land of opportunity. My grandparents were immigrants
from Poland and Austria, and their children found a lot of opportunity
here. One of my grandfathers worked in a shoe factory, and my grandmother
worked in a knife factory. And their children have educations and
careers and homes and families. So I think America still rewards hard work."

Assistant Principal Marie Marawi, who also teaches seventh grade
language arts

"America is awesome. You look at the different people. Where else can
you go where on one street you can find Italian food and go on another
and have Chinese? I'm from Chicago and traveled all around the world. I
can't find another place so forgiving and open, especially after 9-11.
Instead of being stigmatized or pushed away in the community, the
people were asking, 'OK, who is Islam? Who are Muslims?' It was such a
welcome feeling to have that."

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