Our latest issue brings together an eclectic collection of contexts, insights, and arguments. In their article, “Negotiating Language Arts and the Islamic Identity,” Adrian Rodgers and Firman Parlindungan argue that faith-based settings provide an opportunity for children’s literacy development that intertwines religious literacy practices with the process of knowledge and identity building. In this regard, the role of teachers with diverse language and cultural backgrounds in the selection of texts and classroom activities is important. Kefah Barham, in “The Use of Reflective Journals in the Development of Teaching Skills and Teacher Education” maintains that reflective journaling practices, when applied in the Palestinian setting where people, including teachers and students, face challenges and hardships, can be a powerful tool for them to record their experiences and lessons learned. The author also argues that reflective journaling can assist Palestinian teachers and educators in processing their emotions, gaining insight into their
thoughts and feelings, and developing a better grasp of themselves and their surroundings as well as developing constructive coping mechanisms. It can also be used to document the everyday struggles of living in an occupied territory, such as movement restrictions, a lack of essential services, and human rights violations. Furthermore, reflective journaling can provide a forum for educators and students to share their experiences with others to increase awareness of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Next is Khurram Shahzad and Muhammad Qaiser Shafi’s “Impact of Sense of Belonging on Forgiveness and Gratitude among Muslim Students: Mediating Role of Collectivism and Moderating Role of Religiosity.” They assert that inculcating values in the education process is necessary for belongingness,
collectivism, forgiveness, gratitude, and religiosity and is essential for healthier relationships in daily life. Specifically, they show that a sense of belonging plays a positive role in enhancing forgiveness and gratitude in close interpersonal relationships and that understanding that need can help individuals be aware of and care about other people’s feelings. In our fourth article, Mahshid Tavallai analyses “The Representation of Iran (Persia) in the Young Children’s Picture books in North America” and reports that the common themes found in these books were relatively limited in scope with an emphasis on Nowruz stories and folktales. In turn, the predominant setting of the fiction stories, either partially or wholly, is outside of Iran, resulting in most of the books not shedding light on the contemporary life of Iranians. Our final article, “U.S. Islamic Schools’ Promotion of Physical Education and Physical Activity” by David Kahan, Thomas L. McKenzie, Maya Satnick, and Olivia Hansen utilized content analysis to examine the
promotion of PE/PA on U.S. Islamic school websites. They found a hidden agenda in which the mention of PE was subordinate to nearly all other subject matter. Religious subject matter was prioritized which aligns with what parents most value about Islamic school education. This created impressions that PE and Islamic religious studies are not complementary.
In addition to these articles, we trust that our readers will benefit tremendously from an array of book reviews, a review essay, as well as an interview by our book reviews editor, Isra Brifkani, with Dr. Fathi Hasan Malkawi.

Published: 2023-11-01

Dr. Fathi Hasan Malkawi

Isra Brifkani