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do you have any idea how much GOOD is being done?

Reader comment on item: Is Kenny Gamble Building a Muslim-only Enclave in Philadelphia?

Submitted by teacher d (United States), Dec 1, 2008 at 21:22

As a white, female non-muslim teacher at the charter school run by the Universal Companies, I have so many questions for you - have you ever been to this part of South Philly? Have you personally toured the housing complexes or the schools where underprivileged children (a great many of whom are non-muslims) benefit from the services provided by Mr. Gamble's organization? I would guess not. If you had, I suspect you would be more careful about your interpretation of the facts at hand.

I submit that simply creating a social service agency with ties to religious community or tradition is following in the footsteps of every great organization dedicated to the public good. Examples: the Red Cross, The Friends Service Committee, The American Jewish World Service, etc. Moreover, you clearly have no idea of what the ideals behind the Universal Companies are. It is an organization dedicated to helping residents of South Philadelphia lift themselves and their families out of poverty through housing programs and adult education, in addition to the wonderful elementary school. Our school may not be perfect, as no school is, but it provides an environment that is socially and academically positive. While the Philadelphia School District languishes under the burden of violence and low test scores, the place where I work is a peaceful, learning-rich environment. There is no indoctrination going on here, nor is an "enclave" being created.

People of similar faiths and backgrounds have always lived in close proximity to one another. It is in the fabric of our society for family groups to live together. The fact that there is a mosque in this neighborhood has no more bearing on the school day than does the Methodist church next door. I ask you, before you comment further, to come visit and see for yourself whether we are creating a religious enclave or a strong American community.

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