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.”
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).