Islamic School in Pasadena Sets the Bar for Academic Excellence, Community Outreach

July 5, 2006

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,5099382.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

On July 5, 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported, "In the wake of 9/11, New Horizon School in Pasadena has faced tough challenges in asserting itself as a progressive Muslim campus. Enrollment numbers dropped. Parents, teachers and students were regarded with suspicion. And right-wing commentators bashed the school's pledge of allegiance, which begins: 'As an American Muslim, I pledge allegiance to God and His prophet. I respect and love my family and my community, and I dedicate my life to serving the cause of truth and justice.' But rather than revert to isolation, the school has aggressively sought to shape its image through high academic performance and community outreach. 'Part of our school mission is the American Muslim identity,' said Levent Akbarut, a New Horizon School board member. 'It's not an emphasis on the country where you're from. That's second place to being an American, and that's not really something taught in most Islamic schools.' The private religious school, which has three satellite campuses in Los Angeles and Irvine, is affiliated with the Islamic Center of Southern California. The Pasadena campus, where tuition costs about $7,250 a year, includes 170 students from preschool through eighth grade. Affirmation of the Muslim American identity is a multilayered task. To instill Muslim beliefs and values, the core curriculum includes Islamic and Koranic studies and Arabic language classes. Each Friday, students attend afternoon prayer services. And although history classes also contribute to shaping an American identity, the school offers real-life lessons about the classic American melting pot."