Calgary Islamic OBK staff recognized by new awards program

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Please see the gallery below of all the nominated OBK staff.

Six members of Calgary Islamic School Omar Bin Al-Khattab campus team have received recognition from a new award program for Islamic teachers.

“It is our sincere hope that this serves as a starting point to help build a culture of appreciation for our teachers,” said Amin G. Aaser, managing director of Noor Kids, which created the Islamic Teacher Award Nominations.

Noor Kids publishes children’s books featuring Islamic stories and activities. The award program received nominations from across the United States and Canada.

Principal Raiha Idrees says members of her team were nominated by parents who offered testimonials about the caring and excellent teaching being provided.

Their names and the testimonials about them are published in a book which includes nominees from 36 states and provinces. It is available online at Omar Bin Al-Khattab is one of five schools in Alberta to be recognized.

Recognized from OBK are:

  • Ghada Aziz is an instructor in OBK’s Tahfeeth program, which helps junior high students memorize the Qur’an, and also teaches Division 2 (Grades 4-6) Islamic and Arabic studies. One parent wrote of Aziz: “The amount of love and information about Islam my daughter has received from her is immense. The way she talks and teaches itself shows the teaching of Islam. . . it has been an amazingly beautiful journey with her.”
  • Noha Oraby is an Arabic, Qur’an and Islamic studies instructor in kindergarten and Division 1 (Grades 1-3). Her nomination cites her “smile that lights up the whole school. Her heart and eyes are always full of joy. She is encouraging and caring, always has time for parents and students.”
  • Ouassila Boucharif is an instructor, teaching Arabic, Qur’an and Islamic studies to Grade 2-4 students. “Ouassila is a true representation of Islam,” said her nominee. “She cares about her students as though they are her own children. . . She comes to the school on her days off and pours her heart and soul into teaching her students in a way that they look up to. She is an amazing role model to them and to us parents.”
  • Rasha Osman teaches Division 3 (Grades 7-9) to girls in the Tahfeeth program and Grade 5 and 6 Islamic Studies. Her nomination speaks to Osman’s emphasis on leadership development, in addition to Islamic education. “Teacher Rasha always looks for an opportunity where her students can volunteer in the community. She kept after us in the school council until we began organizing a volunteer initiative for her students every month. She dedicates one day every second weekend to volunteer with her girls.”
  • Tulip Raslan teaches Arabic, Qur’an and Islamic studies to Division 1 (Grades 1-3). Her nomination cites her ability to ensure Islamic concepts are “clearly understood by her students.” In one example, Raslan was teaching Grade 1 students about Cave Hira on Jabal al-Nour, a mountain where the Islamic prophet is said to have received his first revelation. The students built the mountain from paper mache. “The concept of revelation became engraved in her students’ hearts and this art work created a great deal of interest for Islam and its history.”
  • Yasin Mohamad is a Grade 5 homeroom teacher whose teaching style is described as friendly and tailored to students’ interests. One parent said his son didn’t like to write, but through Mohamad’s literacy work, the student is now writing short stories by himself.

In his introduction to the inaugural Islamic Teacher Appreciation Awards, Aaser said in his travels across North America, he realized a bitter truth: “weekend and full-time Islamic schools are sorely under-appreciated and under-invested.”

The appreciation program was aimed at recognizing teachers who are pillars of their community and share best practices associated with Islamic education.

“We were overwhelmed by the response,” Aaser says in the introduction to his award’s program. “After evaluating the over 2,750 individual nominations, it became clear that there is significant interest in this effort.”