Father's Day Presentation
Staff Writer, June 17, 2007

On June 17, 2007, the Social Services Committee sponsored the Father's Day presentation at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Maher Hathout, Sr. Advisor, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) said that in most cases, the Quran portrays a very positive picture about the women who also happen to be the mothers - including Mother of Musa (Moses), Mother of Isa (Jesus), Mother of Yahya (John) etc., and when it comes to fatherhood,
Quran delves into the complexities like the father of Ibrahim (Abraham) who was an adamant person; while Ibrahim himself as a father showed compassionate towards his son Ismail (Ishmael) and together with his son built the future i.e. Kaaba (The House of God).

While discussing about the Prophet Yaqub (Jacob), the father of Yusuf (Joseph), Quran mentions Yusuf's father warning against telling Yusuf's dream to his brothers due to Yusuf's brothers jealousy; Prophet Nuh (Noah)
could not guide his son etc.

Quran also addresses unknown fathers like in Surah Kahf (18:60-82), there is an incident about the wall about to collapse and Khidr sets it up straight without charging any money. When Musa asked why Khidr did not take wages for it, Khidr replied that the wall belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and God intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from Him. In other instance, Luqman gives the code of ethics to his son.

Later, Dr. Hathout handpicked three fathers and four youth (3 males and 1 female) from the audience to have an interactive discussion about the fatherhood.

When asked, a father replied that trying to communicate works better especially with his son when compared to his daughter. He said that he expresses his love by hugging and kissing his children everyday even after they entered their college, which sometimes look odd to them when he does that in front of their college peers. The female youth said that she is more comfortable when her father tries to communicate with her instead of expressing his love through gestures and motions.

One of the fathers believed that the loss of character would be his worst nightmare while raising his kids for the future.

A father said that his preference would be to go attend the school function rather than invite his kids' friends home, listen to the music with his kid or go to a movie with his kid. On the contrary, the male youth preferred
inviting his friends home so that it gives an opportunity to his parents to know about his friends and make them comfortable although he wouldn't mind his father attending the school function.

When asked if the youth feel embarrassed while fathers visit the school due to their accent or dress code that does not fit especially when the school population is homogeneous, the unanimous answer was "No."

On the question who would the youth pick if they have a choice to bring only one parent to the school, the majority favored mother.

A father believed that it is the father who influences his kids until they are 10 years old when their school friends and TV start taking over. Another father believed that the teacher can also play an important role influencing
the kids. On the contrary, the female youth felt that spending time with her friends influenced her most while the male youth considered that hanging around with different people on the street influenced them largely. Dr.
Hathout noted that it was a surprise that neither the fathers nor the youth mentioned mosque that could be an influencing factor.

The youth chose not to inform their friend's parents or anyone when his/her friend does an awful thing (e.g. taking drugs), even if it has gone to an extent that his/her friend needed an intervention (professional help), although the female youth said, probably, she might inform the school counselor. Dr. Hathout noted that the youth feel that it is an act of betrayal informing someone without realizing that they are in fact betraying their friends without having someone informed to get professional help in those situations. He said that there is no cookie-cutter approach to that and it needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis and urged the Muslim Youth Group (MYG) counselors to organize a separate session with the youths to discuss more on this subject.