And this, in turn, has legitimized many of the negative stereotypes in the consciousness of the American public. Muslim parents in , for example, had to make the bitter choice between sending their children to school for the mandatory statewide Regents exam—an exam that could affect their future—or being marked absent in order to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha with their families. Dr Louis Abdellatif Cristillo, a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, studied experiences of Muslim boys and girls in New York City public high schools in a recently completed three-year research initiative. Some of them removed it out of insecurity and fear of being singled out, targeted, and being the butt of a joke," she added. The research also included focus groups of students and key adult stakeholders such as teachers, guidance counselors and parents, in addition to ethnographic interviews inside a high school, conducted by Dr Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher. The focus on how students cope with youth pressures in high school is a means of informing educators, social service providers and public policy makers how necessary it is to cater for the various needs of Muslim students. Torn Between Religion and Culture.
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