state of mich

Islamic Institute of Knowledge (IIK) Swimming Session

August 16, 2007 by  


By Adil James, MMNS

Dearborn–August 12–It is so hard for Muslims, especially girls, to go to the pool.

That’s why Hajja Khalida Beydoun, Public Relations Director of the IIK in Dearborn, arranged a pool party for the girls in her leadership training class this past Sunday at the Dearborn Rec Center in downtown Dearborn (Dearborn’s Ford Community and Performing Arts Center) on Michigan Avenue.

This is a part of her effort, in full coordination with IIK and its imams, Imam Abdul Latif Berry and Imam Baquir Berry, to give opportunities in harmony with their Islamic beliefs to the girls and young women of the IIK. In the past they had an outing to a cabin, isolated enough so the girls could remove their hijab without fear of being seen by people outside of their families, and a canoe trip similarly isolated. This weekend the girls went to a swimming pool and in Hajja Khalida’s words it was “awesome to say the least.”

The girls rented the Dearborn Rec Center pool and had another blessed release–able to put their guards down for a few hours of fun in a pool that was still not beyond what they and their families hold to as their religious observance–maintaining hijab.

The IIK rented the Dearborn Recreation Center pool from 6:30 pm, and made special arrangements that only female lifeguards would be present and that the director of the facility who is a man would not come into the pool during the session. 42 attended the event, including 4 mothers.

They “had the time of their life,” said Ms. Beydoun, going on the water slide, diving boards, playing water basketball, relay races, teaching each other how to swim, and even relaxing in the heated jacuzzi.

“Believe it or not,” she explained, “the mothers and I probably had more fun–the feeling was indescribable. For three full hours we had the whole pool area just for ourselves. The feeling of excitement, enthusiasm, freedom and joy was felt throughout the trip.”

One father, she explained, said that “this class totally changed my daughter’s view on life towards the positive.” At first she used to complain about how her hijab stopped her from living a normal life–”now she says she can actually do the normal things teenage girls usually do such as going on camping trips, swimming, attending celebrations,” and so on.

After the success of this last female-only trip to the pool, Ms. Beydoun plans to make arrangements to open the pool to the public for women–the pool can hold 100 people.

If you would like to know when the next scheduled pool date will be, please contact (313) 584-2570 and ask for Khalida Beydoun.

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