Muslim camps are spreading in the U.S. to help kids ‘be proud of who they are’


Muslim camps are spreading in the U.S. to help kids ‘be proud of who they are’

When Mona Eldadah started this camp four years ago, the idea was mainly about getting fasting Muslim kids off the couch during the holy month of Ramadan, and into activities that were both creatively stimulating and unifying.

Now, the camp has reached its largest number of campers to date at 101, and has acquired the reputation as a place where D.C.-area Muslim kids can learn about and practice a core Muslim tradition, while making friends, creating art and talking freely about current affairs — like Trump.

This year, the Next Wave Muslim Initiative, which Eldadah helped found, rented the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda for the week of camp. Fasting during the daytime hours of Ramadan is one of the core religious obligations of observant Muslims, and is meant to foster a greater connection to God. The practice typically starts around puberty. For many preteens and teens, it serves as an informal rite of passage into Muslim adulthood around the same time that Jewish kids are having bar or bat mitzvahs and some Christian kids are receiving their first Communion.

Fasting is hard; especially when it’s hot outside and you’re new at it. “But when they come here, they kind of struggle together,” said Eldadah. When they arrive in the morning, “they’re kind of sleepy. But by the end, they’re so excited.”… Muslim camp directors say Muslim summer camps are taking off in the United States and Canada, as North America’s Muslim population grows, and first- or second-generation parents look for ways to keep the faith among children who — obsessing over Instagram, tween slang and Harry Potter — are often far more immersed in America than they are in the original cultures of their parents.

Read more at: The Washington Post

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