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Raleigh Student Becomes Teacher For Lesson In Understanding

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RALEIGH — The events of Sept. 11 have created confusion for many people in our country. Just like adults, teenagers have a lot of questions about the Islam religion and how Muslims who practice that religion can commit acts of terrorism.

Tiyyaba Qureshi is a junior at Athens High School in Raleigh.Thursday afternoon, the Muslim student turned teacher for a lesson on understanding.

Students from Raleigh's Southeast High School asked tough questions of Qureshi during a session on diversity and tolerance.

"There are six basic beliefs in Islam. They're called the Six Pillars of Faith," explained Qureshi. "There are verses in the Koran that call for fighting, but only when you are aggressed upon."

Qureshi said that she is thankful to have the chance to explain her faith, and she says she owes it to the students.

"It was a lot of stereotypes and confusion so we decided we'd do something that would bring the community together," says senior Matt Keeler.

"I kind of got a better understanding of the Islamic religion. I actually learned that most people who practice Islam are from Indonesia," says sophomore Tiffany Cross.

Part of learning about Islam meant getting the facts about the Taliban, a group that Qureshi says does not receive credit for some of the good things it has done.

"A lot of the sex slave business in Afghanistan -- which had one of the largest sex slave businesses in the entire world -- they stopped that when they came into power. So there are plus sides to the Taliban," she says.

Qureshi provided students with her e-mail address in case they had more questions or concerns. She encourages anyone with questions to pick up a book, or the Quran, so that they can learn before making judgments.


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