Students Learn About Middle East

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This generation of high schoolers has seen several significant events related to terrorism. There was September 11th, the war in Afghanistan, and now the war in Iraq. And because of that, one Bryan high teacher is providing her students with information about Middle Eastern cultures and religions.

Patricia Bailey-Jones teaches Pre- AP World Geography at Bryan High. She wanted to find out how her college bound students felt about the issue of terrorism they've seen in their lifetime.

" With the war on terrorism and everything that's going on with the United States and the Middle East, I felt like students needed a deeper understanding of Islam and democracy," said Bailey-Jones.

To provide that understanding, international students from Texas A&M are talking to the classes about Middle Eastern cultures and the Islamic faith.

" It's absolutely something that needs to be addressed. This religion is the fastest growing religion both in the world and in this country," said guest speaker, Renat Shaykhutdinov from Russia.

Students say they get a lot out of the presentations.

" I hope to have a better understanding on the area of the Middle East and learn more about the relationship between religion and politics," said 9th grader Reed Williams.

" I think we all need a greater knowledge of more foreign religions such as Islam. It's definitely becoming more of a world presence," said 9th grader Tyler Varisco.

As many of these students prepare for college and their careers, they say presentations like this one will help them when dealing with other cultures.

" I certainly hope to be able to interact with other students of different faiths and understand them better," said 9th grader, Grace Price.

" These young people are the future professionals. Doctors, managers, governors, and maybe even presidents of the future and I'm hoping that after the presentation, they will be better able to draw informed and more correct conclusions," said guest speaker, Esad Ozmetin from Turkey.

The students are required to do some more research and write a persuasive essay on whether Islam and democracy are compatible.