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Islamic Leadership School in Parkchester, Bronx had a special visitor before Jumah Friday, Sept. 26- H.E. Hon. Sebastian Kurz, the 28 year-old Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration of Austria and his staff. 

Kurtz took time away from the UN General Assembly to view where the only Islamic school runs, Al Iman mosque, and synagogue co-exist. He felt it was important to see how they’re able to work together because of the large population of over 500 thousand people with a Muslim background in Austria.

“We wanted to learn more about this intercultural and inter-religious project and I think they’re doing a good job,” said Kurz, about his visit to the school. “I think they’re doing a good job in bringing different religions together.”

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He sat down and spoke with the founders of Islamic Leadership School, Sheikh Moussa Drammeh and Shireenah Drammeh as students and people from the community gathered around the room to listen to their conversation.  He was curious about the nature of the integration among the two groups- Muslims and Jews, asking questions about the communities reaction and the success so far.

“Was it difficult for your community to accept the Jewish people were also using your building?” asked Kurz.

“Almost 90 percent of our congregates and students left because they didn’t know. They thought it was the most anti-Islamic act that anyone could take, but then what happened is they did their research learning that yes we can coexist regardless of our religions,” said Sheikh, explaining that most of those members came back.

The minister also asked about why the parents send their children to the Islamic school instead of public school.

“The parents usually send their children back home so they don’t lose their Islam, we’re here to prevent that,” said Sheikh.

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Kurz also came bearing gifts for the children including board games such as Monopoly and some soccer balls. He was looking forward to playing soccer with them, but all the children were in Jumah during his tour of the school facilities. Sheikh presented a plaque to Kurz in appreciation for his visit.

His visit was helpful to the work he’s doing in Austria to integrate the different religions.

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