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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Matters of Opinion

The Al-Madinah School at 383 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn is in one of the most uninviting locations I can imagine: on a major thoroughfare, Brooklyn's 3rd Avenue, abutting a Uhaul parking lot, and across the street from the Gowanus Canal - once a busy cargo waterway, now a polluted body mired with environmental concerns.

In New York City, we make use of what space is available, and one can never judge by a place's exterior. So I decided to do some reading about this private school. In reading about it, I came across a startling range of opinions in online reviews:

The quality of academic programs is very good. The teachers are very much involved and enthusiastic about teaching the children.

Al- Madinah school is the best school. My children first were in public school for six years and then are transferred to Al-madinah school. And I can tell the difference. now they are more behave and responsible and much much much better in Arabic, Quraan and islamic studies, and That all I need ...

Horrible!! never expected an islamic school to be like this..the islamic studies,quraan and arabic are good but other than that no!! this school is best for K-6 ! the students are very rude, mean,spoiled,careless, etc, some students if your lucky are nice! i dont reccomend any1 there..waste of money! 
Al-Madinah school is just not up to New York state standards. The ebviromenft for learning is filthy and tacky. The academic level is wary below standard, and the school should be for religioun only.

Its very clean and Im glad that halal food is prepared on premises. Wonderful

Al-Madinah is good in the islamic studies, arabic, quran course but it does not supply much in the academic course. I talk from 3 years of experience and I do not think this school is not so great nor good either.

One thing that has puzzled me for as long as I can remember is how much human opinion can vary. I once remember a university professor asking us to consider for our next class the question, "If someone disagrees with you, do you feel they are wrong or have a different opinion?" This question goes to the heart of tolerance, moral relativism, and absolutism - ideas of enormous consequence, fueling nearly every debate, argument, or war.

Some years ago, I occasionally spent time watching a fundamentalist Christian who used to proselytize on Sundays in the park. He posed the same type of question routinely: whether the individuals there considered themselves relativists or absolutists. Specifically, did they believe that there existed moral imperatives that were absolute and crossed all cultures? His belief was that most people claim to be moral relativists but in reality are absolutists. He would pose specific examples, and arguments would often flare up, even between couples.

With the Al-Madinah School in Brooklyn, religious opinion of what is good, bad, right, and wrong is part of the curriculum. Outside their walls, the same opinions are made about the school itself. I leave you with a quote from Mark Twain: "The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane."

Note about Al-Madinah: The school occupies a 5-story, 9000-square foot facility (part of it seen in the photo). You can see more, along with information about the school, here at their website. They offer education from preschool through high school.


Anonymous said...

The Ethnical schools always brought me a mysterious feeling when I was young.

motorolafans said...

yeah me too buddy...

mirae said...

hi Brian.
another great post.This doesn't surprise me one bit- this conflict of opinion because people will judge according to their own personal experiences which is a narrow view.

Anonymous said...

I go to al madinah, and the trashy things people say don't really surprise me that much because everybody is rascist against something or the other, right? But what you are wrong about is that Al-Madinah actually offers a great deal to their students. when I frst went to Al-Madinah, I had the same attitude you have. But the way the teachers taught, and how they connected with their students, was amazing, in one word. It is an amazing school that provides all the love, support, and foundation a child needs. Oh, and i hope you do not discard my comment because people need to know that what they say can have repurcussions, and I think u should take students' as well as more parents' point of view before writing a post like this.