Let’s All Go To a Muslim School

Over the years there have been more and more Muslim schools founded in non-Muslim countries. In those school pupils are of course taught the Islam religion and girls are allowed to wear hijabs. Obviously, Muslim schools are mainly attended by Muslims. But is it wise as a community to join these schools?

You can’t deny that a Muslim school is a “black” school, a school with more than 60 percent foreigners. Mainly Muslims attend these schools. So if you’re considering enrolling in this kind of school, you’re very likely to become one too.

You could join this school for the religious education, but don’t we have mosques and other organizations for that? The most appealing thing about this kind of school is that you’ll be around people who are like you. You probably share the same interests and experiences. This surely is a great feeling. At a Muslim school you’ll have no problem fitting in and you won’t have to fight against ignorance every day. Above all, there won’t be much of racism or islamophobia. I’m not saying that it will be heaven, but it will definitely save you some effort.

However, this is actually choosing for a buffer solution. After some thinking you’ll realize that going to a Muslim school is not the answer but only a procrastination of the problems you’re facing in your other school. Because if not in high school, you’ll be confronted with cultural differences at university, at work or simply on the street. So you will always struggle with them. There is no escape from the fact that you have a “different” religion.
Yet that is not the primary thing that bothers me. What concerns me more is the fact that this is seen as a frequently used resolution to solve or at least cool conflicts between cultures. But it doesn’t solve anything at all. On the contrary, it makes the gap even bigger. So that even people start to alienate from each other.

The reason you’re leaving your school is because there are (too) few Muslims or foreigners, often branded as a “white” school, basically a school with mostly, well, “white” people. Your “escape” from a “white” school is the actual cause of the existence of that kind of schools without ethnical diversity. If we, Muslims, all go to the same schools, how are these schools going to go extinct? Let’s be honest: a “white” school isn’t a positive thing. The pupils there will see only one side of society.

We can all say out of experience that racism starts at a young age. The best way to fight it is through education. Your education determines your world view. Diversity in a school is a must for this. For example: if you have class with a lot of foreigners you won’t see them anymore as “the one with a hijab”, “the black one” or “that Turkish kid”,… but you will see through their religion, origin and skin color. You’ll base your view on their personality. Above all, you’ll see them as your classmate, your equal and perhaps even your friend.

This phoneme doesn’t only apply to schools. There are still a lot of neighborhoods that only consist of one type of people. It’s so weird that we’re aware of the existence of these areas and yet still nobody ever finds them odd. It’s like we have built these imaginary walls. So they can only live there and we can only live here, only we don’t dare to say it out loud. How can we expect that others will understand and befriend us if we tend to run away from each other?
We must not separate ourselves from others. We risk becoming become aliens to them and we’d create a certain fear of the unknown. Indeed, it will be easier sometimes to have your brothers and sisters around but it isn’t a solution. Grasp the nettle and try to learn to get to know other people. Only then will they try to comprehend your religion and culture. Make the schools and the streets colorful.

Written by Lamia Kocaman

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Lamia Kocaman is a Turkish Muslima who lives in Belgium. She's studying Latin and mathematics. Her interests are reading, basketball, swiming.