The Truth About Being a Muslim Girl in a Catholic School

By: Hagar Ibrahim

Catholic schools have always been an icon of discipline. Graduation from a catholic school is almost always compared to finishing a military service. Catholic school teaches girls how to be classy and how to gain someone’s respect without even speaking. While pushing you to be an academic achiever, and how to be “lady like”, they also teach you that there is no space for intolerance and racism, and I have been blessed with understanding this concept as a child.

Christians make up 15% to 25% of the Egyptian population; Catholic schools host a system that is similar to a church. To clarify, Muslim students are not obliged to learn verses from the bible or hide their beliefs in order to be respected but just like a church teaches its people to be tolerant and accepting; a catholic school does. As you can imagine, Christian students outnumber the Muslim students because most Christian parents would naturally and logically go to an option which promotes and supports their beliefs. Ignorant people or people who do not have an insight about what a catholic school is, might think that Muslims who enroll in such schools are discriminated against or even banned from attending such schools; but the reality is the complete opposite of what some might think.

From a young age, girls were taught that there are 2 main religions that are widespread in our country: Islam and Christianity. We were taught that we believe in the existence of a god, that we all worship, but we worship him in different ways. We had separate religion classes, and we weren’t allowed to speak of religion. Missionaries simply did not exist at school, besides the fact that trying to convert your friend into your religion might set the school on fire; it will be too awkward afterwards. Naturally, holidays such as Christmas and Easter were celebrated by throwing parties that the whole school enjoyed but if you think about it, you can’t celebrate a lot of Islamic holidays by bursting loud music on and such, it is not just how Muslims do it. We never got a holiday taken away from us just because it wasn’t a Christian holiday, we all got the day off.  

We’d all get punished equally, zero tolerance for breaking the dress code, talking back, being loud, being late and just about every other rule any school has. Being a Muslim in a Catholic school is like being a Muslim in every other school, the idea that Catholic school is just for Christians is not true. And for the record, not all Catholic schools are French☺

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