Al-Rahma: The Reading

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Townsend Harris High School’s award winning literary magazine hosts themed readings every month, but this month’s theme stands out. The Phoenix has chosen al-Rahma, translated to “compassion” from Arabic, for their February reading. Promoting a message of acceptance and tolerance, the club hopes to spread awareness about the issue of Islamophobia.

“I’m concerned with the average kid here in our school who may or may not be Muslim; if I were a Muslim kid and didn’t know the whole picture, I would feel like maybe that people won’t like me or maybe that society is against me,” said Phoenix supervisor Rafal Olechowski. “If we can change the world here within our school, by telling like the kid next to you who could be a muslim that we still love you, that is great,” added Mr. Olechowski.

Islamophobia has been a growing issue with recent terror attacks and a topic of discussion in the presidential election. The club hopes to show support for Muslim students with special performances and artwork dedicated specifically to the theme.

As with every reading this year, the Phoenix has created buttons for the reading, one for the general admission ticket and one for admission with food. The former portrays a Muslim woman with a hijab and the latter shows henna hands cupped together.

“Al-Rahma means compassion in Arabic and I think that’s really what you need when it feels like the whole world is against you, you need someone to have compassion for you,” said Layout Editor Akash Singh.

Members of the Muslim Students Association will be attending the reading.