Teaching Guides

Challenge Islamophobia

Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century

The U.S. response to the horrific Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was war in Afghanistan, followed by the invasion of Iraq — and, domestically, an explosion of Islamophobia.

Anniversaries are when we remember — and often distort — our history.

To help teachers address the ongoing plague of Islamophobia, Teaching for Change created “Challenge Islamophobia,” an assembly of lesson plans and resources. As the site’s introduction points out, “Most teaching resources and teacher workshops about Islam and Muslims focus on increasing knowledge of religious texts, beliefs, and rituals rather than addressing the root causes of Islamophobia. Challenge Islamophobia . . . addresses that gap by placing Islamophobia firmly within a U.S. context and shared cultural history.”

Project coordinator Alison Kysia’s lessons are astute and pedagogically imaginative, focusing on hate crimes, the nature of “terrorism,” the untold story of Black Muslims in the United States, the difference between structural and interpersonal discrimination, and more.

Other activities to engage students in critically thinking about September 11 20th can be found in the Rethinking Schools book Teaching About the Wars, available as a free download at the Rethinking Schools website. There are additional resources below.

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