In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program
Youth write their transliterated names in Arabic calligraphy.
Tell the group they will have the opportunity to write Arabic calligraphy.
Explain that calligraphy and other abstract art forms like mosaics are important to Islam because Islam does not believe in representing Allah, Muhammad, or other holy people in images/pictures Ask the group what other religions do not believe in creating pictures of the divine. What religions warn against worshipping images of God? There are no artistic representations of holy figures in Muslim mosques: only calligraphy and mosaics are used.
Explain that calligraphy is a way of making the written word into an art form. Show examples of Arabic calligraphy. Do not include the word "Allah." Tell the group that Muslims do not take the word "Allah" lightly. If you print the word on paper, it is extremely disrespectful to throw it away in the trash. You should burn the paper it was written on.
Tell participants that several years ago, a Danish newspaper published editorial cartoons depicting Muhammad. Many Muslims were angry, seeing this as a direct insult to Islam. Some extremists called for the death of the cartoonist. The situation was made worse when college students from various universities decided to do public drawings of Muhammad on sidewalks. Muslim student groups protested, saying not only was it disrespectful, but that it made them feel unsafe. Remind youth that words and pictures matter.
Invite youth to learn to write their names in Arabic. Show them the chart of the Arabic alphabet. Say that the translation is not literal because the alphabets are different: the translation is based on phonetic similarities. Make sure they understand that Arabic is read from right to left, like Hebrew, to which it is closely related.
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
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