Build­ing bridges

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

STU­DENTS from schools of dif­fer­ent re­li­gions have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pro­gram that helps break down mis­un­der­stand­ing, prej­u­dice and stereo­types.

Carey Bap­tist Col­lege, the Aus­tralian Is­lamic Col­lege, New­man Catholic Col­lege and Carmel School have all in­volved stu­dents in the pro­gram Build­ing Bridges.

The years 10 and 11 stu­dents gath­ered at Carey Bap­tist Col­lege in Har­ris­dale last week and were in­volved in a range of ses­sions that help the stu­dents ap­pre­ci­ate other cul­tures and con­nect peo­ple from dif­fer­ent re­li­gions. Aus­tralian Is­lamic Col­lege’s Ma­heen Rind said the pro­gram al­lowed her to keep an open mind to­wards other cul­tures and re­li­gions, and re­moved some of the stereo­types.

“I thought that Chris­tians were re­ally le­nient with their re­li­gions and Jewish peo­ple were all strict and all they did was eat kosher,” she said.

Carey Bap­tist Col­lege stu­dent Sa­muel An­der­son said it had al­lowed him to ex­tin­guish any fears he had be­tween dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

“It’s my be­lief that all stereo­types are based off some­thing that is usu­ally blown out of pro­por­tion,” he said.

Aus­tralian Is­lamic Col­lege deputy prin­ci­pal Toni PikosSal­lie said: “As soon as you meet a per­son in real life, you are break­ing myths and break­ing stereo­types right there.

“There is no se­cret that Is­lam is a very dom­i­nant theme in the me­dia ... we are very aware of that and we have to live with it.

“We have about 100 kids par­tic­i­pat­ing – there are 100 peo­ple who walk away with an en­riched view­point of the world.”

Carmel school’s di­rec­tor of Jewish stud­ies Si­mon Lawrence said it was about ap­pre­ci­at­ing com­mon­al­ity.

“The idea is to ex­plain the dif­fer­ence be­tween tol­er­ance and ac­cep­tance,” he said.

“It’s very easy in so­ci­ety to tol­er­ate peo­ple. This is about the next level ac­cept­ing peo­ple.”

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d458827

Chelsie Fisher (New­man Col­lege), Yusra Ab­dul­lahi (Aus­tralian Is­lamic Col­lege), Alexia Car­lino (New­man Col­lege), Bradley Sawyer (Carey Bap­tist Col­lege), Ruth Karotkin (Carmel School), and Mashiha Do­mun and Ma­heen Rind (Aus­tralian Is­lamic Col­lege).

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