CAIRO – A new Islamic school in northeast Alabama was praised for offering students faith studies and memorization of the holy Qur’an as well as strong academic background.
“The idea was to provide an education system for our children where they can get the training for religion plus academics,” Muhammad Haq who teaches the Qur’an and Arabic language classes at Iqraa school told Anniston Star on Saturday, June 30.
“In the future, we would like to establish an academically excellent school that can attract other students who are not Muslim,” the imam of Anniston Islamic Center added.
Opening its doors to Muslim students last September at the Anniston Islamic Center, the school is the city’s first Muslim school.
Being the only person in northeast Alabama who knows the Quran by heart and can, Haq was enthusiastic to instruct children in their own memorization endeavors.
The new school offered Muslim parents a golden opportunity to teach their children the memorization of Qur’an holy book.
“The opportunity to memorize the whole book — we got excited and we thought it was remarkable that our children are having this in Anniston, Alabama,” said Mona Rahim, who has three children at Iqraa.
The imam and parents at Iqraa hope the school’s ability to help Muslim children accomplish a mile-marker of their faith will draw interest from people in the Birmingham area who don’t have that opportunity.
“It is a very difficult thing to do,” Mona said of learning the Quran by heart.
Growing up in Pakistan, neither Mona nor her husband Irfan had the chance to memorize the holy Qur’an.
Finding the school, she was enthusiastic to give this opportunity to her children.
“I’m really happy they are doing it,” she said.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Focusing on spiritual elements in the school, Iqraa school offered its students excellent academic studies.
“Exploring the scientific field really is lined up with Islam,” imam Haq said.
“I’m really thankful to the teacher for being available to the kids.”
At the school, students arrive every morning at 7 and stay until 5:30 p.m. The younger kids come an hour later and leave and hour earlier.
Starting from 1:30-5:30 Monday-Friday, teacher Heather Franks gives them lessons in reading and math, science and history.
The kids are bright, Franks said, and quick to learn.
“It’s a pilot program, and they’ve done well,” Franks said.
“I know the school has good potential, and it will grow into whatever you want it to be.”
Dreaming of a bright, excellent future for the school, Haq envisions the school as the one that can compete with other church-based schools in the area.
“I would like to see it as an independent school that would add more professional people in Anniston,” said Haq, who serves on the Interfaith Ministries of Calhoun County.
“And it would help the development of the city.”
For now, Iqraa School is structured as a three-year program for Muslim children to successfully complete their Quran memorizations.
After the students have successfully done that, many of them will transfer back to Donoho school.
Attending Iqraa school, parents want to ensure their children have both a strong faith and a strong academic background.
“When I knew we were having an Islamic school, I was overjoyed,” said Sakinah Qamar, the mother of a student at Iqraa.
“My dreams were answered.”
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