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Religious Expression at Lotus

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Religious Expression at Lotus

Muslim students praying together for Salat Al-Jumu'ah.

Muslim students praying together for Salat Al-Jumu'ah.

Muslim students praying together for Salat Al-Jumu'ah.

Muslim students praying together for Salat Al-Jumu'ah.

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Every Friday Muslims around the world gather for Salāt Al-Jumu’ah, or Friday congregational prayer, and it is no different at Lotus. On Fridays Muslim students ask permission to leave their 6th period classes to go participate in a student-led Friday prayers. During this time Muslim students sit and listen to a short lecture reminding them of their faith and beliefs before standing to pray. The prayers are an important way for Muslim students to practice their religion and feel a sense of community at our school. 

One of the best things about Lotus is how diverse and welcoming it is. There are students and staff of all different races, religions, sexuality, political parties, etc. that all respect and care about one another.  “Diversity is our strength. I’m proud of the fact that in this country we are allowed to express ourselves and our views as long as we don’t harm anybody else,” Mr. Hecker, the Executive Director, states.

Senior Ahmed Hussein leads the prayer every Friday and encourages Muslim students to participate. “It means a lot to me because we’re able to not only practice our religion, but it makes us remember who we are,” Ahmed states.

Ahmed Hussein leads Muslim students kneeling in prayer.

Typically Muslims pray in rows according to gender. Until recently, however, the Friday prayers have only included male students. When asked about this Ahmed Hussein responded, “We’re not telling them [female students] they can’t. It’s not that we don’t want them to pray, it’s just difficult to organize it. The more people there are, the harder it is to control.” 

Junior Nawal Elsayad wants to encourage more girls to join the boys in observing Friday prayers.

“It’s a combination of not knowing about it and also some of the girls may not feel comfortable because they don’t know if other girls will be going,” says junior, Nawal Elsayad. Nawal hopes to change this by letting more girls know that they have the option to participate. “I went and gathered some girls, and I got a good amount who want to go. I will work harder to get more girls who feel comfortable to come pray with us.”

As of right now, students who leave class to pray haven’t had problem getting permission from their elective teachers. They are also supervised by the high school academic dean, Mr. Durmus, who makes sure they are not using this time to simply socialize and miss more class time than necessary. They worry, however, that if more students join, their teachers may complain about having several students miss a significant portion of class.

When asked about this, Mr. Hecker stated, “Students have all been respectful, serious and sincere with their intent to honor their beliefs. I think it is a great thing and I support it. At times I’m sure it would be difficult to balance the need for instruction and seat time vs exercising their religious freedoms. We are all cognizant of the fact that students may miss valuable instruction, so we encourage them to discuss it with their teacher and work out a plan.”

Muslim students are not the only ones who practice their religion comfortably at Lotus. There are many students with different beliefs who proudly share that part of their identity.

Junior David Kikirov proudly wears his Yarmulke and Menorah necklace to represent his Jewish identity.

Eighth grader Etsubdink Worku proudly wears a wooden cross from Ethiopia to show her belief as an Orthodox Christian.

 

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Religious Expression at Lotus”

  1. adviser on December 17th, 2018 1:43 pm

    Good job Shuaib!

  2. Ada Arinze on December 18th, 2018 3:08 pm

    Nice work!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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