10 Muslim high school and junior high school students sat with the students of Aichi prefectural high school who came to visit the mosque. The lines below describe the situation (of that meeting).
Date and Time: 24th of October (Sat.) between 3:10 and 5:10 PM.
Place: first floor of Nagoya Mosque (office).
Visitors: 3 males and 7 females.
In addition to Japanese nationality there was one from Brazil and one from Philippine among the visiting students on this day. They said that “terrorism” was decided to be the theme of an English presentation competition which was going to be held in November (in their school), and since they “want to present on the distinction between the truth and the mistaken image that people have about Islam” they needed the cooperation of the mosque.
The talk started from (talking about) the mosque, continuing with the outlines of “what is Islam” reaching the details of extremists. Although they were called suddenly on the same day, Muslim students of high school and junior high school gathered one after another and attended the session of questions and answers in the second half.
For example, the answers to a question which said “how do you feel when someone says you are a terrorist on the grounds that you are a Muslim” were such as “(I feel) sad” or “(I am) shocked” and even there was an answer saying “I get angry, not at the questioner but at the contents of the question”. And there came out the true feelings of the children who have a bitter experience of unfairness after having been exposed to a bias in their daily life. Also, the answers to a question that said “what do you want to tell people in Japan” were such as “I want you to tell them that we are usual”, “I want them to understand us” or “I want them to know we are not dreadful”. It was a chance (for the Muslim children) to translate their feelings into words.
The scene in which the visiting students and Muslim students who have various backgrounds were mixing English and Japanese to talk had a heartwarming atmosphere that transcended the barriers of language, nationality and religion.
Below are the impressions of the Muslim students:
•I have a shock that we receive such questions about terror each time. (male, high school first grade)
•Since we are asked several questions to which we feel there is a bad image about Islam, I thought that there is still much more bias. (female, junior high school third grade)
•I think it was good we were able to get them to understand us. (female, junior high school first grade)
•I was excited because by talking to high school students something will change. (male, high school first grade)
•It was interesting; I would like them to come again to the mosque. . (female, junior high school first grade)
•There were two visitors whose parents felt worried about their coming to mosque; I hope they (the two visitors) will tell parents that Muslims are not dreadful persons. . (male, junior high school second grade)
•It was a good experience because, since we managed once to do it objectively, I was able to arrange my own thinking. (female, high school first grade)
•We are very delighted that such exchanges with high school students have increased recently. Increasing such chances for persons with an initial dreadful image about Islam will lead to understanding of Islam, and will lead to the true meaning of globalization. Also, I am very glad that we are now able, while expecting the frightening points and how to explain them, to prepare for the next. And from now on, I hope such chances will increase and the mutual understanding will get deeper. (female, high school first grade)
Impressions of students of Aichi prefectural high school arehere。