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The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox


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Practicing religions

Made by Bareen Abdulrahman on Canva

While discussing quantum physics on his first Missionary camp trip, a realization struck Christian Methodist Jack Crego, ’27.

“The stuff I learned previously about quantum physics seemed like it was dumbed down so everyone can understand it, but even then, [for] most people, [it] blew their mind, but it never blew my mind… but God’s quantum physics is quite interesting,” Crego said.

In that moment, Crego was inspired to further follow his faith, a moment that many students have encountered through religious ceremonies or speeches by their religious leaders. These personal experiences encourage students to continue putting effort into their religion, which Joseph Ruff, ‘24, a follower of the Bible, believes is essential.

“You can take someone that’s just so perfect, they do everything that they think is necessary… [and] you can take someone else, that is fairly everything; they do bad things, but they’re still trying to get with God, and the person who’s trying will be better than the person who isn’t,” Ruff said.

Islam, Christianity and Judaism share many core beliefs including the existence of one god who is merciful and loving, the belief that sincere repentance is crucial and the belief that obedience is central in faith. 

However, when taking a closer look, many differences and misunderstandings arise among these religions and how students practice them.

For Muslims Noah Elfezazi, ’28, and Malak Eissa, ’26, Islam is a way of life with many obligations, such as praying five times a day and reading the Quran.

“It means my identity and way of life because Islam is a way of life to me,” Elfezazi said. “And I like to base myself around the Sunnah (example) of the Prophet and what God said to do.” 

Another guideline in Islam is wearing the hijab for women. Sometimes, people interpret the clothing standard as a restriction, but Eissa believes otherwise.

“Everything that I do and everything that I wear is something that is a choice that I’ve made completely by myself,” Eissa said. “When I wore the hijab, even my mother was like, ‘You’re a little young, maybe you can think about it a little bit more,’ or, ‘Maybe you’re gonna start hating it if you are this young.’ But I was like, ‘No, I’m ready for this.'”

Another debate is whether or not Islam oppresses women. In the Quran, multiple verses, including verse 35 of surah Ahzab, a chapter in the Quran, state that God will judge righteous men and women equally. However, these verses have been interpreted differently by Islamic scholars.

“One misconception is that Islam oppresses women and I completely disagree, because, for example, women like the Prophet’s wives and daughters would fight with him in war in the seventh century, when they weren’t even allowed to fight in the military in the West until a lot later,” Eissa said.

Similarly interpretations of Biblical verses can cause misconceptions surrounding the Bible according to Roman Catholic Tien Dao, ’25.

“Some people interpret it in a way that’s harmful to others, in a sexist, homophobic way, which isn’t what God intended,” Dao said. “God intended for everyone to love each other and care for each other.”

Differences within Islam and Christianity include how people of other faiths and beliefs should be treated.

Christianity expresses the importance of preaching the religion to others to share the truth with them. Dao, who grew up attending a Catholic private school, was always taught to preach her beliefs to others whenever possible, which made the transition to the WHHS environment challenging for her.

“I was very religious when I was in my freshman year, and going to school [where] most [students] are Atheists or [practice] another religion was difficult,” Dao said. “I was like, ‘Oh I have to unlearn this because that’s a wrong thing to do, or [the wrong thing] to say to someone who isn’t the same religion as me.'”

Throughout her WHHS experience, Dao has come to believe that forcefully converting others is not right.

“I feel like [having] other religions isn’t what God had intended, but I just don’t think he would like us to be against other religions,” Dao said. “Especially [because] he would like us to love everyone like we love our neighbor.”

Dao and Lyla Fritsch, ’28, a Christian who attends Crossroads church, believe that the action of loving and accepting others should be applied to everyone. 

“At our church, we welcome everyone,” Fritsch said. “If you want to celebrate God, you can join us, no matter who you are.”

In Islam, Muslims are also taught to love everyone, and are instructed to respect other peoples’ beliefs, according to verse 6 of Surah Kafirun, a portion of the Quran meaning, “for you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” 

“We’re taught to love everyone and not hate the people around us, even though we don’t believe in the same things that they do,” Eissa said.

The idea of loving others instead of hating is prominent across almost all world religions, and Judaism is no exception with it teaching the importance of respect for each other.  

Judaism is not a missionary religion because Jewish people believe that they were chosen to be given the Torah, and that it is their purpose to be pioneers of Judaism. Others are free to convert, but, according to the basic principles of Judaism, Jewish people should not seek to convert others.

“It would be really ridiculous to even suggest that the vast majority of human beings are not what they are meant to be,” Rabbi Manis Friedman said in a Youtube video he released in 2022. “There are Jews, and there are non-Jews, and that’s how it must be.”

Because of these Jewish principles, Judaism can be both a culture and a religion. L Mahler, ’25, identifies as  Jewish by culture but an Atheist by religion.

“It’s less about believing [that], ‘Oh, God is real,’ and more about the traditions, what I grew up with, who I am and who my ancestors are,” Mahler said. “It’s about connection rather than the belief itself.”

Meanwhile, Lily Kaplan, ’29, an Orthodox Jew, practices a more religion-centric version of Judaism. She tries to wear modest clothing, says prayers every morning and every night and every Friday her family eats together on Shabbat, a day of prayer and rest for Jewish people.

With so many different denominations based on levels of faith and differing beliefs, there is a core belief among all of the religions that people must look beyond personal biases and educate themselves in order to understand each religion. 

“Research instead of taking stuff out of context,” Ruff said. “Study [and] find out what’s most consistent with itself.” 

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About the Contributor
Bareen Abdulrahman
Bareen Abdulrahman, Managing Editor of Current Events
In her third year as a Chatterbox staff member, Bareen Abdulrahman, ‘26, is prepared to work as the Managing Editor of Current Events. One of her goals is to stay on top of deadlines and be a worthy role model for her sections. Abdulrahman took Newswriting 1 and 2, News Production last year, and is again taking News Production this year. Abdulrahman is also the alternate officer for the Muslim Student Association (MSA). She plays the violin in Senior Orchestra, plays Lacrosse in the spring, and will try out for the Poetry Slam Team this year.  Abdulrahman enjoys doing any activity or class, from News Production to Senior Orchestra, and from AP Seminar to English class. Her future plans are to do what she enjoys, most likely having a job that incorporates many activities into one. Abdulrahman enjoys making Jewelry, crocheting, painting, or any other handsy activity during her free time. She also loves to learn more about her religion Islam, and enjoys learning how to read Arabic with correct Tajweed.
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