Mothers important to faith, of course

mother praying with childThe Canton Repository, a Canton, Ohio, daily newspaper, has a story on Mother's Day consisting of a series of quotes from a broad spectrum of individuals representing different religious faiths stating the obvious: mothers play an important part in religious upbringing. For the obligatory newspaper story on the sacred Sunday that is Mother's Day, the article has a unique perspective, but the information coming out of the story is anything but novel. Stringing together a bunch of quotes from individuals of different faiths is rarely the best approach in terms of informing readers:

For most people, their first introduction to God, spirituality and other matters of faith, starts with their mother.

Often, those lessons come by example.

"I learned more about faith and God from my mother's actions than from her instructions," said Ruwaida Salem of North Canton. "My mother taught me the values of faith and created an environment of God-consciousness in our home. In turn, this foundation has been the foundation of my spirituality ever since. From her, I learned techniques for how to apply that God-consciousness environment with my own children ... She also taught me how to pray to God."

I'm not sure what a "God-conscious environment" is, but I'm sure with a few follow-up questions, the reporter would have been able to inform readers. But it's the next paragraph that jumped out at me:

Salem said her mother also made an extra effort to ensure she could read the Koran in Arabic by tutoring her at home, and both parents embraced the Islamic principal of gender equality.

I am not an expert in Islam, but I do not think it is journalistically appropriate for an objective news/feature story to state as a matter of fact that gender equality is an Islamic principle. First of all, what does gender equality mean? Equality can mean many things.

Secondly, how can gender equality be an Islamic principle if a large powerful Muslim nation forbids women from driving? Reasonable people can disagree of course. A slight re-phrase of that sentence -- such as stating that the "parents embraced the principle of gender equality that they believe is embraced by Islam" -- would fix the problem.

The rest of the story is slightly less bland. A bit of history would have helped provide some context to the story because mothers imparting faith into their children is an old story that certainly should not be forgotten.

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