This day was an event for Muslim youths and high-school students from Aichi Prefectural High-School to interact, get to know, and exchange opinions with each other.
Date and Time: July 15th (Sat) 4PM~5PM
Place: Masjid Nagoya, 4th floor prayer room
Participants: 20 Japanese high-school students
12 Muslim junior high and high-school students (3 boys 9 girls)
In the first half of the event, the basics of Islam were introduced by the Masjid. Afterwards, two Muslim high-school students made a presentation on Jihad. They used PowerPoint slides to effectively explain that Jihad is not the over exaggerated idea given by the media about “spreading religion through military power”. They explained that it is rather to “strive and work for Allah”, and that Muslims engage in this in their daily lives. As also mentioned in their presentation, “to be kind to people”, “to have a tolerant heart”, “to stop/change the evil” are all also Jihad that Muslims engage in. This has become a wonderful opportunity for every Japanese as well as the Muslim youth to be reminded that Islam is a teaching that aims for peace.
Q&A time was held in the second half, for the Japanese high-school students to ask questions to the Muslim youths. Out of the many questions asked, one of them was, “When do you feel and say ‘I’m glad I believed in Islam’?”. A girl raised her hand immediately to say, “When I am in difficulty, but I remember Allah is with me, and that makes me move forward”. A boy, after thinking for a while said, “When I feel lonely, but then I remember that I have 1.6 billion of my family in the world, and that strengthens my heart”. Both answers left a strong impression to us.
Even after the event had ended, questions from the Japanese high-school students did not stop, and the Masjid took the pleasure to answer them for over an hour regarding topics such as the LGBT, capital punishment, terrorist suicide bombing, Halal, etc. We greatly appreciate them for holding such a strong interest in knowing Islam, a religion they do not have much opportunity to engage with in their daily lives.
Below are the comments from Muslim youths that participated.
・They listened to us so attentively, and I think we deepened our understandings of each other even more through their questions after the event as well. (12th grade girl)
・Even though I’m a Muslim myself, I learnt a lot through the event, and it was a really beneficial time for me. It made me feel that maybe I should know and study more about Islam myself too. (11th grade boy)
・I was nervous because the number of participants were more than usual, so I couldn’t speak too well. But I’m glad everyone could get to know the real Islam today. (11th grade girl)
・It made me happy that everyone was so interested in Islam. (12th grade boy)
・When they were listening, it seemed that they were really understanding what we were trying to tell them, so I think we were able to get to know and exchange opinions with each other well. (12th grade boy)
・I was happy that the high-school students that came were so interested about Muslims. I wish misunderstandings against Muslims disappeared through this event. (11th grade girl)