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Spiritualities, Religion and Meaning – Article by Ms Kuyomba

Assalamu alaykum Wr Wb,

Dear parents and caregivers,

I hope this segment of the newsletter finds you and your families well and in good spirits of Iman. It is my aspiration to enrich your understanding of a topic that often remains undiscussed. As a SACE component of my Year 12, stage 2 subject “Spiritualities, Religion and Meaning”, focusing on one of the big Ideas “Assessment Type 3: Transformative Action” I have opted to delve into the topic of racial justice and its correlation with educational institutions, including insights from Islamic perspectives.

Racial justice is the equal and fair treatment of everyone regardless of ethnicity or race. However, in some settings, this principle often goes unnoticed and disregarded. Racial justice means going above and beyond preventing individual cases of racial discrimination and combating structural oppression. It involves working towards systemic change and finding solutions by addressing the fundamental underpinnings of racial subjugation.

According to researchers from universities, 40% of students in years 5 to 9 from non-European backgrounds have been reported as experiencing racial discrimination by their peers or occasionally from educators (Medhora, 2015). Based on another national survey almost 80% of participants have stated that they have experienced unfavourable treatment due to their religion, race, or ethnicity (Medhora, 2015). The presence of racial discrimination within schools can significantly influence learning, personal growth, and academic accomplishments.

In Islam, it is clearly explained that the humanity belongs to one race originated from one family formed by Adam and Eve. Allah, the Almighty said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍۢ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ شُعُوبًۭا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِير

O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may get to know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware”. Chapter 49 (Al- Hujurat), verse 13

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favour of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness”. (Musnad Aḥmad 22978)

Parents and guardians, your role in fostering a safe and supportive environment within our community is of utmost significance. You have the remarkable opportunity to lead as examples and role models for your children and others. By being approachable and expressing your willingness to address your children’s inquiries, you set the stage for open communication. Encourage them to confide in you if they, or someone they know, experiences racism. Approach discussions about racism as an injustice that cannot be tolerated, and underscore the importance of collaborative efforts to bring about positive change. Remember, we are committed to the well-being of all members of our community. Should you become aware that your child or another individual has faced such challenges, please know that you can easily make connections and seek support. Your involvement and leadership contribute immensely to creating a more inclusive and empathetic community.

Finally, I encourage everyone to seek guidance and invest time in further researching racial justice and injustice. This exploration can provide insights into creating an environment of safety and diversity, not only within institutions but across all aspects of society. May Allah bless you and your families with His grace and lead us all towards the path of righteousness.

Ms Hajrah Kuyomba
Year 12 Student (2023)