Anti Discrimination
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Students at George School Create a Muslim Prayer Space in Quaker Meeting House. “We believe there is God in everyone.”

Students at George School Create a Muslim Prayer Space in Quaker Meeting House. “We believe there is God in everyone.” | Anti Discrimination | Scoop.it

Saleema Walter and Anisgul Stanikzai traveled to George School in Bucks County from hometowns 6,800 miles apart, but when the students settled in at the Quaker institution’s scenic 240-acre campus in Newtown, they missed the same things.

 

The absence of traditions associated with their Islamic faith — in North Brunswick, N.J., for Walter, and Jalalalbad, Afghanistan, for Stanikzai — left a void that they filled by meeting their religion’s obligations mostly alone.

 

“There are so many students on campus who are close to each other ethnically, culturally, or religiously,” said Walter, 17. “I would see that and wish I had it.”

 

So, the two decided to re-create the communal feeling they missed. Walter revived a dormant Islamic student association soon after she enrolled in 2015, and earlier this year, she teamed up with Stanikzai, 19, to transform a part of a historic Quaker meeting house on the campus into a place where she and other Muslim students could feel at home.

 

The two students, seniors set to graduate May 26, turned part of the balcony of the 207-year-old house of worship erected by the Religious Society of Friends into a Muslim prayer space. The small section, which had been used for storage, is now defined by a billowy blue curtain. Inside are prayer rugs, Qurans, and strings of beads to be held when making holy petitions while crouched and facing Mecca.

 

A curtain defines the new prayer space for Muslim students and faculty on the George School campus in Newtown, Pa. The space is inside the Quaker school's historic meeting house.

 

Stanikzai calls it “the best moment to have a place dedicated to our religion,” which is practiced by about 15 students.

 

George School’s Quaker roots made not only the accommodation, but the location inside a meeting house, an easy call, said J. Samuel Houser, head of school. The religion is not dogmatic, he said, “We believe there is God in everyone.”

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Anti Discrimination
This board is dedicated to promoting the value of diversity and addressing discrimination based on age, race, color, gender, religion, creed, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin and disability. These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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