1st Place: Marya Khan, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy, Reston VA
Many people today are fighting wars and always disagreeing with other people’s ideas. What is even worse is that some others do not even care about these problems, and they think they are too busy to help or even to disagree. That is why it is important, especially now that everyone is busy fighting, that we should focus on respecting each other’s cultures and differences and teaching and learning from each other so we we can grow and make our communities stronger.
A good way to learn about each other is to meet our neighbors. I played with my Chinese neighbor every day when she came over to our house. Whenever we played, I taught her English so that she could learn about culture in America and be a part of it. I also learned about her culture when she came like her clothes and the type of food she ate. This made me want to have more friends like her. If we all talked to people in our neighborhood, we will meet different kinds of people and it will help us learn about each other so we can respect other people’s differences.
Another way we can respect each other is if we teach each other to do good things. I can clean up litter from the street so animals don’t get sick and plant more trees to help the environment. Whenever other people see me doing good things like cleaning the street, they will think, ‘Wow that girl is Muslim and she is doing good things so all Muslim people are good people.’ They will have good thoughts and opinions about Muslims then and they will want to have more Muslims in their community. If we teach each other to do helpful things, we can show other people that we are good representatives of our culture and they will respect us more.
We can also make our community grow to help people understand us. We can all plant a community garden to help the environment and when guests and visitors come they will feel warm and welcomed. All different kinds of people can come because they all like gardening even though they come from different places and they have different religions. They will want to plant gardens where they live because they will see how nice the garden is with lots of different types of people working together. This can help save the environment too and we can teach people to do good things like plant gardens.
Even though so many people are fighting wars today, it is important that we should learn about each other and teach each other our cultures so that we can respect each other and live in peace with lots of friends. Whenever we share our community and our neighborhood then other people in other countries with lots of fighting will want to stop and be peaceful in the same place when they see how happy and friendly we are. Everybody should always try to learn about other people and be nice to them so they can respect you and people can make friends and live in peace.
2nd Place: Aizah Khan, , gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy, Reston VA
America is a country of immigrants. As Muslim Americans we can help in many ways because God tells us to help one another. We can build understanding by showing respect to our neighbors and helping them out. We can show respect by always being kind to them. We can show care by visiting our neighbors when they are sick. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would greet his neighbors with Salam, which means peace. He would help his neighbors out and he also would visit his neighbors if they were sick.
I can help build a community by being good friends with my neighbors. I say “hi” to my neighbors and play with them. I try not to make noise so they don’t get bothered.
We can also talk to our neighbors about our culture and see what is in common. We can invite their family for food or share with them. The holy monhth of Ramadan is great to share food with your neighbors and invite them to the mosques so that they can learn more about us. As a community we can help the poor and homeless by giving our gently used things and making donations. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his companions would help the poor by giving them food and clothing.
We can all live peacefully by treating each other equally and by not judging people by their religion or race. America can be a great country if all are united and we care for one another.
3rd Place (tie): Fatimah Ahmed, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy;
Many People . . . One Nation
Assalamualaikum is a greeting of peace which means “Peace be upon you.”
Today I am going to write about how we, as a community can bring peace to our country. I will tell you a list of things we can do to bring peace. My aunt says, “Knowing brings understanding; understanding brings tolerance; tolerance brings respect; respect brings peace.”. . . and peace brings love. So the first step is to know each other. The Holy Qur’an says, “O humankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Chapter 49, verse 13).
An example of how knowing brings peace is in Malaysia. One of the first questions they ask you is, “How old are you?” If you are older than them, they will call you with a term of respect like “Kak”, pronounced Ka’. If not they will just call you by your name. So they need to ask you. But if they say that to a European or American woman, she would get really offended. So if you know they are trying to respect you, then you will understand them and tolerate them.
Some people will ask, “How can you get to know each other so that you can bring peace and love?” Well, good question. First, bring the neighbors together. This will help us know each other. Just last week, I was playing outside and one of my neighbors came out with his one year old daughter. We taught her how to play catch and then I realized that her dad was Sikh. It is a religion where the men don’t cut their hair and wear a turban. This is the first and only Sikh person I have met. Now that I know them, she is my friend.
Second, you yourself be peaceful and people will start copying you. I even tried this with my little sister. When she took my pencil, I acted peacefully and she also became peaceful. Before that she was a bit naughtier. If you try this with other people, they might copy you too.
Third, just discuss about peace with people. Like with Martin Luther King. People started joining him when he told them about it and discussed with them . So if we also discuss with people, they would join you. Also, you could come up with other ideas of how to bring peace.
Most people believe that America is a peaceful place but it is kind of not so true. If you want America to be peaceful, then you have to make it peaceful.
3rd Place (tie): Insha Memon, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy
Peace For All
Americans are mostly immigrants. That means they come from different cultures and beliefs. That is what makes our country cool and interesting. We need to build understanding and respect for each other.
Here is a true story that shows understanding and respectful friendship. It is a story about me and my best friends.
I have two best friends. One is Muslim like me and the other one believes in no God. Their names are Aila (Muslim) and Isis (no God.)
One day me and Aila were praying at my house and Isis came over to play. I did not know what to say so I kept on praying. But then I started feeling weird that someone non-Muslim was watching me pray. So I broke from my prayer and… I was expecting Isis to be full of giggles, but she was calmly playing with my legos. She is so nice and understanding about my religion, I thought. I was so shocked, unable to speak.
Next I am going to talk about what we could do to build a more respectful community. Here are some of my ideas: Maybe you could have someone from a different culture be pen pals with you, then try sharing something from your religion or culture. Or try making friends with someone from a different country.
Now, I will write some things that a whole community can do together. Here are some of my ideas:
— Make an organization to bring people together and help the poor, make relationships. This organization should be run by people with different backgrounds so they can share different ideas.
— Also, we should respect all the religious festivals. For example, Isis came to my Eid party (Eid: religious festival for Muslims) and I went to her Easter egg hunt. We both celebrate Diwali & Navrartri together even though none of us is Hindu but my parents and Isis’s grandparents are both from India.
We should always try to learn more about other countries and their cultures. You can visit museums, borrow books from libraries and watch documentaries about different places. Also sometimes you can learn by talking to other people.
Here is my quote for this topic:
“It does not matter which religion you follow, it matters how you treat and respect each other”
Liyaanuh Ahmad, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy
I think respect and understanding of one another mean to not make fun of anyone’s religion or culture. It is our American duty to accept everyone and help everyone to make the world a better place. You should never put down anyone’s religion, tradition, or culture.
Some things I can do to help build respect and understanding are respect everyone around me. I am a Girl Scout and that teaches me to be honest, fair, respectful, and be sisters with everyone. In Girl Scouts, we are also taught to stand up to people who are doing wrong.
We as a community can volunteer in places that help people and get them their rights. We can lead by example. We can also teach all the kids to help everyone they can. We can also start community programs in school. We can also try to open new facilities to help people. Lastly, we can always talk about how to respect one another at home on a daily basis.
Hanaya Hussain, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy
Many People, One Nation
America is a country that is made up of people from many different backgrounds. We speak different languages, we wear different clothes, eat different food, and worship differently. But we are all American. We must live in peace and respect each other.
Despite our differences, we still have things in common. We can use them to bring us closer. We can share our ideas, such as belief in the same prophets, and similar stories to the Quran. We can share food from our country. Don’t laugh at other people’s religion and culture.
We have to be kind and friendly to each other. If we have problems, we need to work together and talk to find the solutions. We can send messages of peace on TV. We can make posters with positive messages and post them all over the city. If we work together, we can build our community and make it better.
Arjan Jumani, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy
America is a great place because we have different cultures and beliefs and we get to learn and respect each other. To live peacefully in this country, we need to understand and respect each other, help build the community and learn to respect and care for each other.
Some ways that we can build understanding and respect for each other are by showing good manners and by learning their religion and culture by asking questions. For example, when my Christian relatives visit us we treat them nicely and let them practice their religion. I watched my grandma who is Christian how she practices her religion.
I can help my community so that everyone cares for and respects each other by inviting my neighbor’s kids for a playdate and attend and participate community events. For example, in florida, in our community we had a potluck when we all bring our favorite dishes to share.
We can all help and respect each other’s religion by sharing our religion and culture with each other. Welcome each other’s religion and culture. Also, we should have an open mind and open heart.
Mansoor Muhadidi, gr. 2, Al Fatih Academy
America is a country with people from different cultures and religions. It is like a blanket of immigrants that wraps around the United States. We can build understanding and respect for each other by discovering more about each others cultures. We can also be involved with people from other cultures/religions. For example, I play on soccer on a team with kids of different cultures/religions. It is good because it helps me learn about people that are not the same culture as me. We get along so great even though we are all different.
To help build my community we can show other people that even if we believe in different things, we are all human beings that are equal. One way we could teach others is to invite them to our house and show them that we all live the same but with different religious stuff.
As a community one way that we could manage to learn about each other is that we could invite a priest to our Islamic school and we teach him about our religion and he teaches us about his religion. It is important so we can understand about each more. When people don’t understand about each other they don’t know what other human beings do. Then people think that people are bad because of they are just guessing because they don’t have real information about that religion.