On Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, students and families from JCDSRI and the Islamic School of RI (ISRI) gathered together to create a tape art mural to promote peace. In addition, the students collected puzzle and activity books for children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. For video coverage of this wonderful event, visit ABC6 or WPRI.
In February 2015, when ISRI was vandalized with hateful, anti-Islamic messages, students from JCDSRI made cards to show solidarity and support for their Muslim peers. Head of School Adam Tilove hand delivered the messages to ISRI’s Head of School Abdelnasser Hussein, and a friendship was born.
This year, with financial support from the Rhode Island Foundation, the two schools are building a partnership in the form of a 12-week theater program for their 5th graders, facilitated by the Center for Dynamic Learning. In addition, several whole school activities are planned, including the recent community building day on Martin Luther King Day organized by the two schools’ Parent Associations.
Mr. Tilove understands that, in the wake of terrorism in Israel and Paris, many people are nervous about such a partnership. He states that, among other things, “I believe in my partner Abdelnasser Hussein and the lovely people I have met from ISRI. I believe in people’s innate goodness and kindness, and I will not let evil acts poison my faith in humanity. Further, I believe that living in peace and mutual respect with one’s neighbors is not an option, but a mandate from Heaven: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is a command from God, not a qualified suggestion.”
ISRI’s Mr. Hussein is confident that cooperation and understanding will combat misconceptions and hatred. He says, “I believe religion and freedom of speech are the preliminary common grounds which will lead us to unity as citizens of the United States. We can present ourselves as role models for tolerance.”