More than 150 seventh grade students from across southeast Michigan visited the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn Feb. 25 to take part in Religious Diversity Journeys — a special program created to promote greater knowledge and understanding of the Detroit area’s diverse religions.
Religious Diversity Journeys is hosted by Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit, a faith-based organization made up of religious leaders from several different faiths who serve their communities by educating the public about religions.
The Islamic religion was the main focus of the program’s stop in Dearborn, which was attended by students who attend both public and private schools.
During the program, students learned about the history and traditions of Islam, and also discussed the negative effects of prejudices surrounding Muslims.
The students also took part in an hour-long question and answer session with Sheikh Ibrahim Kazerooni of the Islamic Center of America,and were served Middle Eastern cuisine for lunch.
Wendy Miller Gamer, program director for Interfaith Leadership Council, spearheads the program, which launched four years ago.
She said 1,500 seventh graders and 600 parents have participated since then.
Gamer, who has been director for the council for about three months, said the program is an eye-opener for the students.
“I’m in my mid-40s, and these past few months have been the first times that even I’ve spent significant time in mosques,” Gamer said. “At the end of the day, I tell the students how lucky they are — to be teenagers — and to be able to spend a whole day learning in this mosque.”
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