- What are the outcomes of religious stereotyping?
- What steps can be taken to initiate conflict resolution?
OVERVIEW: Since the disaster of September 11, people of Islam
have been subject to religious and racial profiling,
have systematically been labeled as terrorists and have
suffered psychological and physical harm even to the
point of having had to defend their patriotism and their
commitment to the United States. This is, in large
part, due to a lack of understanding of their religion
and the failure, in some sense to understand them as
individuals and to grasp the essentials of their history,
culture, past and present, and their basic humanity.
An essential step in this understanding is to realize
that Islam with both its negative and positive aspects
has much in common with Judaism and Christianity. A
crucial step then, in order to break down stereotypes
and to move toward conflict resolution is to recast
Islam, if you will, in a more familiar mode by engaging
in such a comparative study.
TIME REQUIRED: Three 40 Minute class sessions
This lesson plan can be modified for middle schools
by introducing hands on projects which point to similarities
and differences between Islam, Christianity and Judaism
and using the students themselves as participants.
Questions and objectives can be somewhat modified as
LATIN: Students can compare
and contrast Christian, Jewish and Islamic artifacts,
particularly coins and pottery. Advanced students can
study the impact Arabic Islamic scholars had on the
survival of Latin and Greek manuscripts.
ENGLISH: Influence of Arabic language on European literature.
For instance, new studies showing the influence of Arabic
and Islamic ideas on Dante’s Inferno.
can study The Arabian Nights and do comparative studies
with Roman, Greek mythology etc. Example would be Sinbad
the Sailor and Odysseus.
NEW JERSEY CORE CONTENT
STANDARDS: This lesson addresses the following NJ Core Content
Curriculum Standards in Social Studies: 6.1.11, 12, 13, 14; 6.3.9, 14; 6.8.16
- Students will identify stereotypes in Islam, Judaism
- Students will give historical and present examples.
- Students will comprehend and summarize information
on a given topic from a primary source and a secondary
- Students will take on roles within a small group
to develop and implement a plan to teach a topic.
will develop role playing and initiate debates concerning
points of view of each religious group.
teacher will brainstorm with the students. Students
can discuss how they feel Christianity, Judaism and
Islam are “stereotypic” in nature. The students then
should be asked If Islam is violent or if all religions
exhibit a certain violent side. Concepts of the Islam
Jihad, Christian crusades and Jewish Zealots should
be discussed looking for similarities as well as differences.
The students will then discuss the nature of violence
in Christianity, Judaism and Islam after viewing the
- Islamic Jihad: http://beliefnet.com/story/87/story_8753-1.html
- Jewish Sicarii: http://www.jewishgates.org/taland/talmud/commentaries/war.stm
- Crusudes or Holy Wars against Islam: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2-5vers.html
teacher will assign topics for discussion. Topics will
be researched and a class period or two can be set aside
- Contribution of Islam to Western literature (Dante’s Inferno for
- Contribution of Islam to Science and technology of Western Europe.
- Similarities in Islamic and Greek/Roman and African mythology.
- Islamic influence on Italian Renaissance.
- Arabic influence on the English language.
- Mutual admiration and shared scholarship between Islamic
and Christian scholars (12th century in
Reconciliation Walk and http://www.kabbalahsociety.org/papers/halevi1.htm.
This unit should be concluded by having the students address
the following questions.
- What were the stereotypes
in Islam, Christianity and Judaism that you discussed
at the beginning of this unit?
- Has the material in this unit helped to break down those
- What information presented in this unit did you find most
- Based on your present knowledge,
how can Islamic, Christian and Jewish people benefit
from the examples of their ancestors?
- Why do you think stereotypes are dangerous?
- In your opinion, how can relations
between Moslems, Christians and Jews be improved today?
MATERIALS: Students require access to the Internet.
Consult websites outlined in lesson plan
can role play, historical debates. Islamic, Christian
and Jewish points of view are presented by recreating
can be assigned the role of interviewer. They can
interview community members or classmates who follow
Islamic, Christian or Jewish faith.
- Students can view historical movies such as “El Cid” and compare
and contrast Christian/Islamic relations in historical
- Students can contact Christian, Islamic and Jewish organizations,
collect materials, return to class and categorize
materials based on mutual inclusivity.