A new book titled Hearts and Minds: Hizmet Schools and Interethnic Relations has been published by Vincent N. Parrillo and Maboud Ansari, William Paterson University sociology professors emeritus.
In their book, the professors present a cross-cultural study of Hizmet schools in seven countries of varying histories and ethnic compositions.
According to Parrillo, Hizmet is a Turkish word that essentially means altruistic service for the common good. There are more than 1,100 Hizmet schools worldwide, and more than 100 in the U.S.
“One significant aspect of these schools is that, although Islamic faith is the driving force for their creation, students are of all faiths and races,” says Parrillo. “The schools do not teach religion but do promote ethical values. Our study found that the schools excel in academic excellence, in close student-teacher bonds, and actively promote interethnic dialogue and acceptance of diverse others.”
“The book represents the culmination of four years of field research we did in Albania, Bosnia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, and the United States,” adds Parrillo.
Through hundreds of interviews with students, parents, staff, and financial supporters, the authors explored individual perceptions and experiences, as well as the triad of student, parent and school interaction. Analyzing the commonality of the schools' structures and processes in different settings, they offer their insights about the schools' successes in achieving their twin goals of offering a quality education and promoting interethnic harmony.
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