PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the first all-girl private Muslim schools is now open in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. Thirty girls will be the first students of the Khadijah Bint Khuwalid Islamic STEM Academy for Girls.
The first day of classes was on Monday.
Superintendent and founder Yasser Abdurrahman and his wife Marquita Hammock left the Philadelphia School District to foster an environment that caters to their community.
“So they can have a place where they have people that look like them, see people who look like them, teachers look like them, classmates look like them,” assistant superintendent Marquita Hammock said.
The couple felt not many schools adhered to Islamic traditions and disciplines, so they decided to open one.
At the new school, the girls will take basic classes with an emphasis on math and science. They will also learn about their culture and the religion of Islam.
As Eyewitness News toured the school, inspiring images and encouraging words were present.
“I really like going here,” said 11-year-old Nahiyyah Brown.
Brown says the school is just what she needed.
“Some of the girls have had their overgarments pulled off, have been attacked, have been abused. The teachers don’t necessarily know that when it is time for them to pray that they should pray. The Islamic holiday is Ramadan. We decided to create lessons during that month that would make it easier for them not just to learn but to fast,” CEO and superintendent Hajji Abdurrahman said.
Now, the couple is taking on the task of creating a safe and nurturing environment for young women like Nahiyyah.
“We are hoping when these children leave here that they leave in a much better situation than they came in,” Yasser said.
Many of the school supplies have been donated.
This is just the beginning for the academy. They plan to open an all-Muslim boys’ school and eventually a school that will serve everyone, but it’s going to take time and funding.
For more information on the school, click here.