President Asks U.S. Children to Reach Out to Muslims

(Washington, DC) - In his continuous efforts to reaffirm to the nation and to the world that the United States is at war against terrorism and not against Islam, President Bush announced the creation of a new educational program, Friendship Through Education. While striving to reach out to America's schoolchildren and to schoolchildren around the world, this program, in the words of the President, will bring a "common ground" to fruition between America's schoolchildren and children in Islamic countries such as Qatar, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Bahrain and Afghanistan.

Interactions between children can be fostered online, through traditional mail and through projects such as the Comfort Quilts Project in which students, according to the Friendship Through Education website, can "make quilts to share with other children who need comforting." The exchanges are two-fold in that children in both spectrums of the world can learn about different cultures and they can learn to build peaceful relationships with members of a different society.

The administration will be reaching out to schools across the country to advocate for this program and to enroll as many participants as possible. While talking to students, teachers and community members at the Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Washington, D.C., the President stated: "I think the best way to handle the attacks of September the 11th is to fight fear with friendship; is to fight fear with hope; is to remind people all around the world we have much more in common than people might think; that we share basic values-the importance of family, and the importance of faith, and the importance of friendship."

Friendship Through Education not only teaches children to interact, but instructs teachers by providing resources that will help them create curriculums that include an international and tolerant aspect. The program also includes various opportunities for students who would like to travel to different countries and attend school. More information about the program can be found at This website also provides links to other organizations such as IEARN (International Education and Resource Network), an organization that promotes communicative technology, such as the Internet and email, as a means of communication between students in different countries.

The Islamic Institute encourages families and students to contact their local schools and school boards about participation in this new program.

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