Author: Wisconsin Muslim Journal

Bara Omari: Challenging stereotypes by breaking barriers and empowering girls with knowledge

This interview is part of an ongoing editorial series. Each segment highlights a woman in the Wisconsin community. The stories are intended to share personal struggles, public achievements, and the social complexities with their Muslim identity. Using education as a tool to navigate obstacles and advance in life, Bara Omari has dedicated her career to overcoming perceptions of Muslims and women as an example for others. In her ESL (English as a Second Language) work, Omari assists international students to develop their communication skills so they can find their place in the Milwaukee community. Wearing her faith on her...

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Coding as a tool to empower a new generation of Gaza’s Palestinian youth

When Yasmin Helles was an English literature student at a Gaza college, she would spend most of her time online looking for information that could help her in academic life. She always wondered who designed these websites, making all this information available. She wanted to become that person. Six months ago, the 24-year-old saw an advertisement by Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG), a rapidly growing business and tech incubator, calling for young graduates to enroll in the first coding school in the beleaguered Palestinian territory, which only recently saw yet another round of deadly Israeli air raids. Helles took the...

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Syrian refugees volunteer as tour guides at historic museum

Leaning in closely over a brass sphere the size of a clenched fist, Hussein Kara Ahmed explains to his audience the mechanical workings of the world’s only complete surviving spherical astrolabe, created by a 15th-century Islamic craftsman named Musa. A Syrian refugee who fled deadly violence in his home city of Aleppo and arrived in the United Kingdom six months ago via Turkey, Ahmed is giving one of his first tours at Oxford’s History of the Museum of Science, home to an impressive collection of Islamic astronomical instruments. He has been preparing for four months for his debut performance...

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Kerry Jude: Connecting students and cultural experiences

Over three decades ago, Greenheart Exchange, formerly known as Center for Cultural Interchange (CCI) began sending high school students to the United States from Spain. Today, the nonprofit organization works with over 60 different countries around the world to facilitate cultural exchange opportunities. As a local coordinator for southeastern Wisconsin, Kerry Jude places Greenheart’s foreign exchange students and supporting their stay. The former educator uses her teaching experiences to help cultivate the youth she works with, planting the seeds of their future leadership abilities. | Q&A with Kerry Jude Wisconsin Muslim Journal: What do you enjoy most about your...

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Education program invests in the future through exchanges of international youth

Beginning in 1985, Greenheart Exchange now sponsors an average of one thousand students annually who live with American families and study in high schools all across America. A handful of participants come to the Wisconsin for their overseas experience. Foreign exchange programs can last a semester or a full year, and provide students with an opportunity to study in a different environment to experience the history and culture of another country. The programs became popular after World War II, and are intended to increase the understanding of participants, develop tolerance of other cultures, improve their language skills, and broaden...

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Rufus King students share message of hope in response to Baraboo’s racist photo

Written by Allison Dikanovic • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service If a photo of students doing a Nazi salute can spread around the country, maybe a photo of students showing the American sign language symbol for “I love you,” could have just as much influence. At least that was the hope of students at Rufus King International High School. After the bell rang on Friday afternoon, rather than heading out to the rows of school buses lined up out front, a group of more than 60 students piled into room 308 at Rufus King, 1801 W. Olive St., to make...

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