The Phoenix School, a new private-school for children of religious minorities, opened on Thursday at the former UVA campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, to begin enrolling pupils of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Relief and Development Committee (IRDC).
The Phoenix School is one of several new Muslim schools that have sprung up across the country in recent years to cater to the growing demand for private schools that serve Muslim students.
The United States has seen a surge in Muslim enrolments in recent months as more Muslim Americans, who are predominantly Muslim, seek to become more educated and secure in their communities, said Aishah Ibrahim, vice president of education at the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an umbrella group of American Muslim organizations.
The Phoenix Academy is among several new private schools in recent days that have opened to cater for the growing Muslim enrollment in the United States.
The new schools are in California, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, DC.
In recent years, private Muslim schools have been popping up across America, particularly in the New York metropolitan area and in California.
According to MPAC, there are now more than 100 such schools in the US.MPAC also estimates that there are between 500 and 600 Muslim students enrolled at Muslim public schools in North America.
MPAC has called for the US to institute a moratorium on the construction of Muslim public school buildings.
“We know there are a lot of Muslims out there who are desperate for a quality education and we want to make sure they are able to have it,” Ibrahim said.
The first school to open at the Phoenix School was the Al-Hassan Academy in Alameda, California, which opened in 2013.
Since then, more than 300 schools have opened across the US, with more than 80 per cent of them in California and the District of Columbia.
The Al-Hayat Academy, an all-girls private school in New Jersey, opened in 2017.
It is the second privately run Muslim school in the state.
The new Phoenix School also aims to accommodate students from all backgrounds.
The school has a total of six classrooms, and each has a separate learning environment.
Students are allowed to wear the hijab or veil in the classroom, and they can sit in their own class.
The schools curriculum is mostly based on Arabic, with a focus on Islamic history.
The school aims to teach students about the importance of ethics, tolerance and respect for the diversity of beliefs and cultures.
The schools curriculum will include courses in the Qur’an, the Koran, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, the Hadith and other sources of Islamic teaching.
“It’s about how we can build a community, not just a mosque,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera.
“The way we are building it is by embracing the diversity and the inclusion of students from different backgrounds and perspectives.”‘
The best way to create a community’The school also plans to use the resources it receives from the US Department of Education, which has offered grants to help fund the construction.
The government will also provide a stipend of $3,000 per student per year to help cover the costs of materials, staff and supplies.MPACT, a New York-based Muslim civil rights organisation, says the Phoenix Project will help Muslims in the city of Charlottesville find employment and education.
“I hope the Phoenix Academy and the Al Hayat Academy and other schools in Charlottesville and across the state will create the most successful Muslim community in the region,” Ibrahim added.
The United States is the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says there are currently over 30,000 Muslims in America.