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NewsID : 63150
Date of publication : 11/20/2014 6:51:06 PM
Visit Count : 218

Integration: Let Children show us the way

By Iman Zamani

Integration may be a topical subject but it is rarely one that is seen from the viewpoint of children. Yet my experience as a Muslim woman and mother allows me to see that it is children who are able to pro­vide us, on a daily basis, with examples of integration, without being unaware of it and without spending rivers of words on the subject.

Naturally for this to work, it requires that there be no intervention from adults who tend to contaminate the in­nocent minds of children with precon­ceived ideas.

Children are extremely spontaneous in their interactions and at times quite un­forgiving in their judgment of others. At the same time however, they are less in­clined to be conditioned by the need to keep up appearances. That is why they are an ideal place to look for examples of integration.

So what is integration?

Integration is a Muslim girl who goes to school wearing hijab (headscarf) with the same innocence with which her Christian classmate wears a hat. Integration is her Christian friend telling her: '1 like you more without it ", and she replies: "Well. I don't have to please you", and a few seconds later they are still happily playing together.

Integration is a little girl who at first has fun by pulling the hijab of her Muslim friend but then wants to try it on to see how she looks and tells her that the scarves she wears are very beautiful. Integration is a Muslim girl who turns up to a fancy-dress celebration at school in her Persian princess" dress, fully veiled, and steals the show.

Integration is a Muslim girl visiting her friend and being told that her father is still at home and that she will have to wait until he leaves before she can re­move her veil. Integration is a Muslim girl who takes part in a volleyball tournament wearing a tracksuit and scarf while her team­mates are in vests and shorts.

Integration is a teacher who submits the text for a Christmas recital to the par­ents of a Muslim child to see if it is ac­ceptable for her to participate in it. Integration is a Muslim girl who is told by her mother that she can take part in the recital since it does not contain any­thing that is against their religion, with the exception of a small sentence, which can be elided when that part of the re­cital is reached.

Integration is a group of children at­tending the home of their Muslim class­mate and taking off their shoes at the entrance because they know that it is an Islamic custom that seeks to prevent the carpets on which Muslims pray from be­coming impure. Integration is a Muslim girl who shares with her non Muslim friend her free time and interests on the basis of a relation­ship of mutual respect and common principles, indifferent to the fact that there are other aspects of their lives that are different.

What matters to them is the fact that they have been able to find common points of encounter beyond their ob­jective differences. All this is possible because children unlike adults are not intimidated by diversity but intrigued. So, integration does not need too many words, it just needs a little understand­ing.


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