Muslim Students Comfortable, Accepted at NDA

Madison Polack, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, as an educational ministry of the Roman Catholic Church, educates the whole person by developing each student’s Christian faith, commitment to service, and full academic potential within a caring Church community. However, NDA welcomes all people of different faiths.

Many families who are not Christian choose to attend NDA because they feel like it is the best school available academically and one that teaches core values that exist in almost all religions. For many, NDA is considered a possible home away from home for everyone who attends.

A freshman at NDA, Zahra Jazayeri, who is of the Islamic faith, said, “In the beginning, it was strange and uncomfortable being in a new environment where I didn’t know many of the students, and I felt a bit like an outsider. But as time progressed, I began to gain a sense of belonging with the new friends I made, and I stopped feeling as if I stood out in a bad way.”

Another freshman, Ismaiil Nur, who is also Muslim, said, “I have never been picked on for not being a Christian, and I have a lot of friends… plus it is kind of cool being the black sheep in the herd.”

Both students and their families feel that NDA has the best curriculum to offer in Green Bay. NDA puts an emphasis on the pursuit of higher education while being an arena for healthy competition for all to strive to be a better students.

The students like that NDA offers a wide variety of classes for a range of students. Also, NDA has helped them appreciate and understand different religions. Many of the students think it has been a great opportunity for them to learn more about the Catholic faith.

Jazayeri said that Mass is a fascinating experience to go through, being a Muslim. Nur admitted  that Mass is a little awkward for him at times. He pointed out that he walks up for communion and then puts his arms in an x because the people of his religion don’t receive Jesus’ body and blood like Christians do.

Jazayeri and Nur both said that they typically worship at a mosque.

How people perceive their faith is important to both of the freshmen.  Jazayeri said, “I would like people to know that my religion is peaceful, and that just because a few cruel people decide to screw up the meaning of Islam doesn’t mean that the 1.6 billion of us stand with them.”

The diversity of faiths at NDA is valuable in that it teaches all of us the importance and responsibility we all have to understand and respect other religions.  Intolerance of other people’s religious beliefs breeds discontent and conflict.

It is our ability to be welcoming and tolerant of all religious faiths that makes the community at NDA a leader in the pursuit of education and the promotion of the core values of the human spirit.