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Sheikh Imran Shariff, right, teaches the Quran in Arabic… (Christian Abraham/Staff photographer)



The children sit in a semicircle, some crosslegged, others on their knees.

But it’s their eyes that catch your attention. Some are brown, some are blue. But all are fixated on the soft-spoken, bearded man with the flowing white robe, open sandals and white prayer cap seated in front of them.

“How many times did the Prophet Muhammad, peace be unto him, ask God for forgiveness every day?” he asks.

“100,” says a girl, dressed in a paisley robe and wearing a hijab on her head.

“500,” says a boy, wearing a polo shirt and jeans.

“4,500,” says a confident 7-year-old girl.

The man in the middle of the circle tells them the correct answer — “at least 100 times a day.”

But more important, this man,

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Sheik Imran Shariff, asks the children if they made mistakes this day. He asks if they told a lie. He asks if they disobeyed their parents. 

“Every time you disobey your parents, do you think Allah is happy with you?” the sheik asks them.