Forging new friendships
Throughout this year, 24 Year 7 students from Sydney’s Emanuel School have met with Year 7 students from Iqra Islamic College to learn about each others’ cultures and beliefs, as well as to forge friendships.
The students met in a variety of places, including Emanuel Synagogue, The Big Kitchen and Iqra College in Minto. As the year progressed, the students were able to break down the barriers to their initial shyness and to build meaningful friendships with each other.
Year 7 Emanuel School student, Mikayla Sacks said, “The Interfaith experience was really interesting and educational. It taught my friends and me about Muslim people and how they are actually quite similar to us Jews. The project was meaningful to me because now, when I see Muslim people, I won’t see them as ‘different’ anymore, because I have learnt that, in fact, we are all human beings and we should all be friends.”
Both groups have asked for additional meetings in 2013 and have vowed to stay in touch through email and Facebook. Emanuel students were warmly welcomed by an Iqra College teacher, Mr Ahmad Sari, who stated that although the two faiths have differences, they actually have more similarities. He noted that both Jews and Muslims were ‘peoples of the Book’ and added that he hopes that this generation will find a pathway to peace.
Anne Hastings, Principal of Emanuel School commented, “Our teachers and School ethos encourage students to explore their beliefs and develop a set of personal values based on experience and understanding. This Together for Humanity project has provided our students with an unique opportunity to open their minds and broaden their experiences, helping them to understand other peoples and religions.”
This is the second year that Emanuel School has participated in the program that was created by Together for Humanity. The organisation is dedicated to bringing disparate groups together for the purpose of understanding and harmony.