Granada Islamic School Back-to-School Project

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ING’s Fall 2013 Interfaith Service Days



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Address: 3003 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Service: Class furniture inventory
Outcomes: We took inventory of 60% of the classes.

Discussion questions and responses:

Topic: the role of private religious schools (Islamic, Jewish, Catholic) in developing engaged, productive citizens. Being a good citizen in our multifaith and multicultural country requires openness and respect towards other cultures and religions. This raises the following questions:

1. How can a religious school develop commitment to a particular religious and cultural tradition while also inculcating understanding of and respect for other traditions and their communities? What does it mean to be a firm adherent of one’s tradition while at the same time displaying the respect and openness needed in a pluralistic society?

  • Learning about others’ faiths strengthens one’s own faith.
  • Interacting with others emphasizes commonalities.
  • Accomplished through interaction with neighbors, events, friendships.
  • The Catholic Church accomplished the above by changing its belief on salvation only for ones’ faith community to a belief in the belief that we are all part of the human community.
  • Providing a diversity of perspectives enables respect for other traditions.
  • Providing age-appropriate education beginning at a young age that brings in different voices.
  • Change becomes necessary as the student population becomes more diverse with the need to reflect that population; gradual change is less threatening.
  • Providing a strong foundation in their own faith early on allows students to confidently interact with other faith when they are older.
  • Interaction with other faiths creates a pluralistic outlook.
  • Many religious schools have students from other faiths.

2. How can a religious school develop students who, while committed to their faith, are nonetheless able to think outside their religion and culture, to be autonomous thinkers and actors? How do different religious traditions encourage freedom of thought while still holding to their essential beliefs and practices?

  • Allow and encourage students to ask questions.
  • Allow and encourage students to debate and discuss.
  • Allow space for students to be individuals while still upholding school guidelines or rules.
  • Produce a young person with a unified identity rather than a split one.
  • Make religion relevant to young people today.

3. How can religious schools of one faith build relationships with schools of other faiths to help meet the goal of developing good citizens for a pluralistic society? What concrete examples exist of religious schools reaching out to schools of another religion (and possibly to public schools also) to further this end?

  • Granada school representative cited many examples they have taken at Granada towards outreach, including an ongoing partnership with a local Jewish school as well as to a public school.
  • Service projects with groups of other faiths.
  • Ongoing discussions and dialogues.

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