Why Does Citizenship Matter?
Discrimination towards Muslims is at a record high. In research that was conducted in early 2016, we discovered that 1 in 2 Muslim-American children felt conflicted about being both Muslim and American. For Muslim kids growing up in the West, how will they feel like they belong?
What Does Islam Say About Citizenship?
Islam is not a religion of isolation. It is a way of life that is tied to the community and country in which we live. In the Qur’an, Allah (SWT) mentions several times the religious duty we have to be responsible citizens and stewards of social order. For example, He says, “cooperate with each other in (matters of) goodness and righteousness” (5:2).
Our mosques are often the sites of these activities, serving as centers of learning, support, and belonging for the community. However, civic engagement is not limited to only our fellow Muslims. The city, state, and country in which we live is our responsibility as well. From the example of our Holy Prophet (SAW), we learn the value of civic engagement: sincere, genuine participation to bring benefit to society — irrespective of religion, nationality, and ethnicity.
The Noor Kids Approach to Citizenship
In this book, we seek to help children (a) feel ownership of the circumstances within their local Muslim community and broader non-Muslim community, (b) understand that Allah (SWT) does not change the condition of a people who do not first change themselves, and (c) appreciate the importance of participating in our local government to improve our communities.
In the first story, Help Me, Help You, Asad recognizes a need for childcare at his mosque. After facing setbacks, he witnesses Allah’s (SWT) promise to assist those who assist others. In the second story, Not My Park, Amira realizes that her beloved Bass Lake Park is in danger, and that it is her responsibility to save it. By participating in local politics, Amira finds a way to make an impact.
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