Wednesday, April 2, 2008

That NYT Article on Muslims who Homeschool

I've seen the article on Muslims who homeschool pop up in a few places (I first noticed it at O'Donnell Web). The article didn't seem like much more then the average fluff on homeschooling so I never bothered to read it, until now. Today I found this post on Sunni Sisters. It's really worth a read as it talks about stuff the article never mentions such as (from the mother interviewed for the article):

When he asked me about why we chose homeschooling, I compared raising Muslim children to an eastern martial arts tradition (i.e. Karate, Tae Kwan Do, etc., something people in the West understand and respect). The homeschooling setting is a place where the kids have a teacher whom they look up to and where the teacher should embody the values he/she is trying to impart to the students. I said that there were three parts to raising a Muslim child — teaching about (1) Islamic jurisprudence (the do’s and don’ts of the religion ), (2) Muslim etiquette (how to behave in society), and (3) Muslim culture (poetry, singing, history, appreciating things of beauty in the world around us and reflecting on God’s blessings in everything we see, etc.).

Here's what made the article:

She made up her mind after visiting her oldest son’s prospective public school kindergarten, where each pupil had assembled a scrapbook titled “Why I Like Pigs.”

Nice, eh?

This isn't new. I know a lot of homeschoolers who would be reluctant to be interviewed because they're afraid of this exact same thing. However, Sunni Sister really points out how, as wary as homeschoolers may be, Muslims have good reason to be even more so:

Most of the time when a Muslim is misquoted, or has their statements distorted, taken out of context, and heavily or selectively edited, that Muslim never gets a second chance to clarify. One of the things our community is rapidly learning is that you only get one “take” when it comes to doing media interviews, be it TV, radio, or print. I was ambushed by a television producer on air (he was off camera, I might add) some years ago, and vowed from that moment not to do TV again, because I do not handle surprises like that well, and because I realized that this is how the game is played with Muslims. We invite you on to talk about your needlecraft group and you end up stuttering and looking like an idiot or a liar when you’re asked complex policy questions about Afghanistan and Iraq.

The poor mom in the NYT had the "misfortune" of being a homeschooler and a Muslim. The journalist must have thought he struck gold with the pig anecdote, two stereotypes wrapped up in one sentence.

If I ever had the chance to meet the mom in question, Hina Khan-Mukhtar, I'd give her a hug and tell her I get it. The journalist was a jerk and she and her family are much, much more then he bothered to show.


Andrea R said...

I was interviewed by someone from the Telegraph journal here. Worst interview I ever had. The guy was really offensive and abrasive. I talked to someone else he interviewed and he treated her the same way.

Out of the half-hour or hour of material I discussed with him, the money quote he got from me was, "We're a little nuts".

I think the interview link is on my blog on the Interviews page.

Hina from California said...

I was guided to your blog by a friend. Thank you, Dawn. Your words had a healing effect like you wouldn't believe.
~ Hina Khan-Mukhtar

Dawn said...

I'm so glad it helped Hina! I've been thinking about you ever since I read the post at sunnisisters. :)