There is a pressing need for the establishment of a Madrasah such as the Olive Tree for a number of reasons.
The Reality: Muslim youth face huge challenges which test their identity and faith in the age of modernity where where so many ideologies and worldviews conflict. Being Muslim, and growing up with Muslim - rather sadly - means growing up challenged and, sometimes conflicted. This is not befitting a religion which claims to gift humanity its final revelation. Of course, we know how easy it is for Islam to be misinterpreted, re-appropriated and therefore wrongly implicated. This is why it is so important to invest in our understandings of Islam, and especially our children's. There is a need for highly qualified educators to design and teach Islamic curricula which are relevant to the lives of Muslim youth and equip them with the tools to fulfil their best potentials.
Methodology: Although the days of Madrasah caning may be long gone somewhat - in the UK at least - the Islamic institutes continue to face challenges in terms of delivering education. While some Muslim parents are just about coming to terms with their relationship with the Quran after being scarred in Madrasahs, their children struggle with the appeal of monotonous teaching methods. Why can't Madrasahs benefit from the knowledge of Childhood Development, Sociology and Psychology to enrich their Islamic curricula? This is something that we are really passionate about at Olive Tree Madrasah. We wish to create a uniquely enriching and healthy learning environment for our students. We wish to be distinguished by our application of research and knowledge in order to create more knowledge together with our students.
Statistics: The Muslim population of Scotland is 77,000 (1.45% of the total population). Approximately 15,000 Muslims reside in the city of Edinburgh. The Muslim population is expected to grow. About 14 mosques serve the city and the Lothians. From these mosques, a handful provide some sort of Islamic education for children. With parents in certain occasions faced with waiting lists to enrol their children into these Madrasahs, the need for newly emerging institutions becomes apparent. This is where we find our niche. We want to be a leading institute actively contributing to a better understanding of Islam here in Scotland and nationally through our teaching and outreach.