Japanese Students Visit Mosque to Learn about Islam
Japan’s Youth Is Seeking Answers about IslamJune 07th, 2016
Japanese Schools organize visits to the Tokyo Camii in order to clarify misunderstandings about Islam. Japan’s Muslim community consists of around 100,000 Muslims, of which roughly 10,000 are ethnically Japanese.
Compared to Japan’s population of 128 million, this constitutes a significant minority in Japan. However, even though the number of followers of Islam is quite low in Japan, Japanese students wish to learn about the religion. Japanese students feel that the way Islam is portrayed in the media has led them to misunderstand what Islam is really about. Therefore, many schools have introduced trips to Tokyo’s largest mosque, the Tokyo Camii, for a cultural learning experience.
Shigeru Shimoyama, Tokyo Camii’s spokesman, is enthusiastic about the students learning about Islam as it is one of the fastest spreading religions, even in Japan, underlining the importance of understanding what Islam is actually about. He wants the students to learn about the peace-loving values of Islam, its rich history and how it promotes equality for everyone.
Akiko Kobayashi, one of the teachers organizing a school trip to rural Malaysia observing Muslim families, wants “students to see how people in Islamic communities co-exist, support each other, and show them their everyday life to help them understand it’s a religion advocating for peace”. She also hopes that it will eliminate any bias the students might have about Muslims.
Mainly because the media adopts a certain discourse when talking about “terrorists” and “Islamic radicals”, it has become very important to educate students and the public about Islam and the daily life of Muslims. Japanese school’s efforts to clarify what Islam is about to its students is a good step in the direction of avoiding social misconceptions and Islamophobia, and to the building of a Muslim-friendly community.
Cultural Diplomacy News
Dominique Schmutzer, CD News