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History & Culture

Islam Fact and Fiction: Overcoming Stereotypes

Philosophical Belief: Since the September 11 attacks, the lack of understanding and our society’s general misconceptions of Islam have become overwhelmingly apparent and dangerous. Shortly after the attacks, an Indian was murdered in Arizona. Apparently he was the victim of a group of racists who thought he was Muslim since he was wearing a turban. Sadly, this was not a fluke incident. Human Rights Watch, an independent human rights protection organization has documented over a dozen murder and assaults against Arabs and Muslims (and those perceived as such) immediately after the September 11 attacks. Such acts can only be the result of ignorance. Although a Washington Post survey shows small improvements in America’s general attitude toward Muslims, there is still a great need to educate the public about Islam and Muslims. How can there be so much misinformation in this age of internet and globalization?

Essential Questions: The focus of this lesson is to help students answer these basic questions:

How do we know what we know about Islam?
What is the overall public understanding of Islam?
What are the major forces that influence the latter?

Saviz Safizadeh