SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois youth group called Children of Abraham brings together elementary school students of different faiths to build bridges and friendships.
The group’s events are an opportunity for children to make friends, laugh and play together, said Umbreen Jabbar, one of the group’s organizers. The group’s most recent event was held this month at a Springfield mosque, and a service project is planned in the spring to benefit refugee children.
Jabbar told The State Journal-Register that she thought of the idea with her two children in mind. She said the idea of Muslim children having an understanding and respect for other forms of worship was important to her.
“You’re showing the other person respect by doing this,” Jabbar said. “That’s what we all want to be. We all want to be respected.”
Planning for the children’s group began last summer and its first event was held in September. But organizers from all of the religious groups involved said the idea has become more relevant and important following the presidential election.
At the group’s most recent event, children put together 40 gift boxes that contained a dry erase board, crayons, markers and other toys for children at HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital.
Ayesha Ahmad, who brought her 12-year-old daughter to the event, said children focused on sharing in light of Thanksgiving.