Most days, the only #Christian
many Al-Amal School students interact with is their school counselor.
On Wednesday, fifth-graders from the private #Muslim
school in Fridley met a playground full of #Catholic
school students at Merriam Park in #StPaul
. “They are different from what I’m used to,” said Al-Amal student Imran Osman. “Overall, they’re good people.” Students from Al-Amal and St. Mark’s Catholic School in St. Paul have been exchanging letters for weeks to learn about each other’s #school
more often, they learned, but Catholic prayers are longer.
The Fridley students are learning #Arabic
as a second language, the St. Paul students #Spanish.
Neither class likes #broccoli.
Meeting in person for the first time Wednesday, they found more common ground in a love for #soccer
— or at least end-of-year field trips to the park. “We learned that a bunch of them play soccer and they’re pretty decent. Some of them are pretty fast,” said Al-Amal student Ahmed Syed.
St. Mark’s fifth-grader Maggie Kappelhoff explained the purpose of the get-together: “I think there’s been a little bit of fighting between #Muslims
so we did this to get to know other people and become friends,” she said.
Kappelhoff learned the #hijab
that some Muslim girls and women cover their hair with is “just kind of a traditional thing.” Some of the Al-Amal girls wore easy-to-remove #hijabs
in case one of their pen pals wanted to try it on. “It’s really fun to learn about different cultures because it’s so different from your own,” Kappelhoff said.
The idea for the exchange came from Kelley Stoneburner, who is school counselor for Al-Amal and has a relative attending St. Mark’s. “By this age, (Al-Amal students) have had some exposure to being teased by non-Muslims. And being private school kids, they’re pretty sheltered in the Muslim community,” she said.
Stoneburner and St. Mark’s teacher Rachel Ogard said neither school’s fifth-grade curriculum includes lessons on different religions.
But this year, to kick off the exchange with Al-Amal, St. Mark’s Principal Zach Zeckser led a special lesson CONTINUE READING 👇👇👇