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“The Needs of the People”: The Value of Secular Education
The people of the masjid value secular education as well as religious education. An imam explained that he chooses what to talk about in his lectures and sermons based on what the community needs. He gave the example of education, both secular and religious:
"The way we choose the topic or the sermon to talk about is the needs of the people…If you go to a doctor and maybe you’re sick, he knows you, what you need—we know what this community needs. We always look for the needs."
The imam continued:
Before the school opens, we tell people to do good in education, to study more and get a degree, to get good GPA…And when the school ends, we encourage the students to come more to the masjid, to study more about Islamic religion and their culture.
Young people and their parents also emphasized the importance of education. Nearly all the young women I spoke to wanted to attend college and planned on having careers as nurses, translators, psychologists, or fashion designers. However, they did not see secular education as ultimately important. Sagal said she found religious education much more valuable:
School is education, it’s about the here and now. Qur’an and hadith is about the hereafter. People say, “Din [Judgment Day] over dunya [this world].”
To learn more about Somali Muslim experiences at Faribault High School, please see the Faribault High School exhibit.