Post California Attack: How Muslim Parents Talk To Kids About Extremism
By Hindustan Times
20 Dec 2015
A Muslim parent in Tokyo tells her children to “work 100 times harder” and “be 100 times kinder.” A father in Ontario advises his teenagers to be wary of anyone reaching out to them over the Internet and claiming to be Muslim. “ISIL is trying to recruit you,” he tells them, referring to the Islamic State.
Parents around the United States tell their children that they can be both American and Muslim - no matter what anyone says, they do not need to choose between the two.
A wave of recent attacks by extremists acting in the name of Islam - including in San Bernardino, California, this month - has contributed to a rise in anti-Muslim speech in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. The New York Times asked its readers who are Muslim how they talk to their children about these difficult times. Close to 250 people responded. Many wrote about how they try to teach their children that terrorists do not reflect them or their faith.
Here is a selection of the responses; they have been edited and condensed. FAWAD ZAKARIYA IN PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA
“I am a naturalised Pakistani-American, as is my wife. My kids were born here. They are indistinguishable from any other American kids. One loves musical theater, the other Minecraft and baseball... We tell them to be proud of every part of their identity: American, Californian, culturally Muslim, liberal Democratic, South Asian brown, but we teach them to be kind and fair human beings.” MUNA HUSSAINI IN TEXAS. CHILD’S AGE 7
“I have told her that sometimes people may make the choice to say things about our religion that aren’t beautiful. These things may make her have feelings that are sad, mad, angry, hurt, confused... Her job will be to keep her body safe and to find a teacher or trusted adult to help her.”
“I have had to help her learn how to dial 911 if needed and what she should say. I have made her build a list of trusted adults she can talk to, whether at school or in our neighborhood, and whom she can go to for help. NADEEM AHMED IN ONTARIO “People always fear the unknown. Just like you are afraid to go down to a dark basement - you fear what you don’t know. People fear Islam and Muslims because they don’t know us.”
“I tell my two children, be wary, ISIL is trying to recruit you. They want you to feel like you are not at home here and this is not your country. It is.”
“You need to be very careful of anyone reaching out over the Internet claiming to be a Muslim. You need to come to a parent right away.” BIBI VOYLES IN TOKYO. CHILDREN’S AGE 10, 5
“I tell my children that they must work 100 times harder, be 100 times kinder, and always be well groomed, just to gain public acceptance in these trying times. I tell them to always be gentle, soft-spoken, and kind so that they cannot be associated with the growing global paranoia around ‘extremist Muslims.’” AIZA SIDDIQI, BALTIMORE. CHILD’S AGE 2
“A few weeks ago, my son’s preschool asked parents to come in and share a holiday tradition with the class. Since my son is the only Muslim in his class, I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce the young children to Islam. Then I started reading Facebook posts of friends and acquaintances describing verbal and physical attacks on Muslims in schools, parking lots, and buses.”
Source: Hindustan Times