The Islamic Center of America along with the Muslim American Youth Academy (MAYA School), hosted their fourth annual Religious Diversity Journey today around the theme of Dispelling Misconceptions in Islam. Over 100 seventh grade students from Walled Lake, Waterford, Redford , and Hamtramck came and joined MAYA middle school students for an enlightening and unifying opportunity to learn about the Islamic faith. Students in the journeys come from many different faiths. They visit different mosques, synagogues, churches, gurdwaras, and hindu temples. Speakers presented in mini breakout sessions and discussed many different topics such as Islamic principles, Muslims in America, history of Islam, the afterlife, hijab and its misconceptions. As a service project, students created donation boxes to take home and donate to different charities around the metro Detroit area. For lunch, students enjoyed a delicious middle- eastern buffet prepared by the Islamic Center of America. The program concluded with the students commenting about their new positive outlook about Muslims and that Islam is very similar to Judaism and Christianity. Some spoke of the need for all to unify and stand together in a world filled with misconceptions. Students arrived feeling nervous and filled with stereotypes, to leaving the ICA feeling comfortable, knowledgeable, and open to new friendships they established with the MAYA students.
MAYA has been established for over 20 years, serving Pre-K through 8th grade students. It is the only AdvancED accredited Islamic school in the area. Students are held to advanced academic standards which translates to higher achievement levels in M-Step and NWEA when compared to surrounding schools. The curriculum adheres to the common core standards, provides rigorous Islamic and Quranic studies, and offers daily Arabic instruction for all students.