Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Khalil Gibran School -Government funded da'wa - Muslim Sensitivity course for public school teachers denies Islam linked to terrorism
Khalil Gibran School -Government funded da'wa - Muslim Sensitivity course for public school teachers denies Islam linked to terrorism
Columbia prof Rashid Khalidi joins Dhabah Almontaser in da'wa efforts and MAS dinner at radical Islamic Center of Bay Ridge
April 18, 2007
The Khalil Gibran School - Government Funded Da'wa
By Beila Rabinowitz and William A. Mayer
April 18, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Acceding to a movement led by members of its Arabic and Muslim communities, New York City's educational establishment has proposed that the Khalil Gibran International Academy be established to address the perceived special needs of Arab and Muslim students.
Though the institution is not slated to open until September, its controversial nature has already produced a strong and negative public reaction.
Upon examination we believe that the effect of establishing an institution designed to serve the narrow interests of a particularly vocal group of activists would have distinctly the opposite effect from that intended.
One of America's founding themes is expressed by the phrase "E pluribus unum" which translates as - out of many, one. It was meant to describe a single nation coming together from the thirteen original colonies merging into a single cultural entity. .
Institutions like the KGIA however run counter to such ideas because they tend to instill a sense of separateness.
They fracture society rather than bring it together.
Module one, lesson one of this manual is titled "E pluribus unum, from many, one" invoking our above noted reference. This is done however with an apparently unperceived sense of the absurd, setting forth the argument that an institution designed to increase inter-cultural divisions will somehow heal societal rifts.
The guide's preamble speaks for itself:
"The national tragedy of September 11th produced unimaginable levels of grief and suffering. No one has been spared, for the disaster also unleashed a widespread backlash against Muslims and people of Arab or South Asian descent in the United States. Although press coverage of this problem has diminished since the onset of the War on Terrorism, indiscriminate acts of hate against members of these groups continue to surface, including harassment, threats of violence, physical attacks against persons and property, and at least five deaths under investigation as hate crimes. If it's happening in the streets, then what about public schools?"
The Khalil Gibran International Academy's designated principal, Dhabah Almontaser had a prominent role in designing this curriculum and has been a featured "In Service Day Trainer" to effect the program's implementation.
The guide is designed to deal with what its authors contend is a systemic pattern of racial/ethnic/religious discrimination being carried out against Muslims and Arabs, particularly in the wake of 9/11.
The protagonists of this political ideology are one and the same with those who are lobbying for KGIA. They are members of an entrenched Arabist and pro-Islamist front who have constructed a business model based upon addressing the exaggerated claims of discrimination against Arab/Muslim Americans.
Columbia University has been a hotbed of this brand of Islamist ferment, brought to public view by the presence of the late Professor Edward Said. Said, was an anti-Israel, pro-radical Palestinian polemicist who felt that the United States was a destructive imperial power.
The current director of Columbia's Middle East Institute [and Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies] is Rashid Khalidi [Khalidi is also a trustee of the pro-Hamas Al-Quds University]. His views largely mirror those of Said. Professor Khalidi is the author of such works as "Resurrecting Empire" which argues that Western "tyranny" is responsible for the truncated development of Arabic democracies. Yet he rails against Israel, claiming that "Palestine has been under occupation since 1948," thus denying the legitimacy of the Middle East's only truly functional democracy.
In 2005 Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York Department of Education barred Professor Rashid Khalidi from working on the city's teacher development workshops, "Considering his past statements, Rashid Khalidi should not have been included in a program that provided professional development for [Department of Education] teachers and he won't be participating in the future."
As the New York Sun stated at the time, Khalidi's "professorship is named in memory of Edward Said, a divisive scholar, and is paid for in part with a donation from the United Arab Emirates," the article also claimed that Khalidi described Israel as a "racist" state which operated an "apartheid system."
Khalidi and Almontaser's brand of radical anti-Western politics are at the root of the KGIA proposal.
Almontaser has conducted da'wa based Muslim outreach in New York schools for many years and her statements reflect a Muslim-centric viewpoint of victimization and resentment which will likely become the core ethic of the Khalil Gibran school.
Almontaser is a 9/11 denier, speaking to a group of sixth graders in Brooklyn's PS 51 Almontaser stated, "I don't recognize the people who committed the attacks as either Arabs or Muslims."
In an interview with National Public Radio on July 13, 2006 she likened the American response to 9/11 to that of totalitarian excess:
"right here in this community...we stated to see people literally disappearing....the police came and took them in the middle of the night and we were like what is going on..."
Almontaser has even decried the prosecution and conviction of Shahawar Matin Siraj in a plot to bomb the 34th Street Subway station in New York as reeking of "FBI tactics."
Only in a twisted, insular world would preventing a crime that could have killed hundreds be viewed as "polarizing."
At a 2003 event billed as a "Grand Display of Muslim Unity" held at Madison Square Garden and sponsored by the Islamic Internet University, KGIA's principal designee, Dhabah Almontaser was honored. She was one of the 75 attendees who were allotted a place on the stage which she shared with a "who's who" of radical Islamists.
"Sr. Ayesha Mustafa along with Sr. Ayesha Al-Adawiyah, President of Women in Islam, and Sr. Debbie Almontaser, a cultural diversity trainer and consultant for the NY Department of Education, were among those invited to sit onstage. Both agreed that the success of this event was in that broke down the barriers of nationalism and egotism while focusing on education as a tool to further the prominence of the Muslim community. [source http://www.studyislam.com/isp/jsp/IIUEvents/April13_2003.jsp, note: Almontaser is board member of "Women in Islam"]
The list included Siraj Wahhaj [an unindicted co conspirator in the 1993 WTC bombings] Ibrahim Dremali [former head of the troubled Islamic Center of Boca Raton, now head of the Islamic Center of Des Moines and a supporter of suicide bombing] and Ashrafuzzman Khan, the former head of the Jamaica New York branch of the Islamic Circle of North America.
Khan has some serious baggage, it has been alleged that he led a death squad that was active in the Bangladesh war.
On 24th September 1997, a criminal complaint [case no. 115/1997 Ramana Thana] was filed against Asrafuzzaman Khan, as a result of war crimes allegedly committed by him during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It is alleged that Khan personally murdered at least 7 intellectuals during that war, that he was a member of the much feared Al-Badr terror squads.
Professor Giasuddin Ahmed was killed as a result of the death squad activity. His sister, Mrs. Farida Banu, filed the case in Bangladesh. In the complaint Mrs. Banu claims that Khan, along with others, kidnapped Ahmed. His body was found later at the Rayar Baazar killing fields, a disposal site used by the Al Badr death squads.
"Asrafuzzaman Khan, was one of the chief Al-Badr executioners. It has been clearly proved that he himself shot to death 7 teachers of the Dhaka University in the killing fields at Mirpur. A certain Mofizzuddin, who drove the vehicle, which took these helpless victims of Asrafuzzaman to Mirpur, has clearly identified Asrafuzzaman as the "chief executer" of the intellectuals. After Liberation, Ashrafuzzaman's personal diary was recovered from 350 Nakhal Para where he resided. On two pages of the diary, the names of 19 teachers of the University have been entered, as well as their addresses in the University quarters." - From the Weekly Thikana, a Bengali print journal published from New York December 15, 2000]
That background of the people involved in this event reveals the true nature of the radical Islamist mileu in which Almontaser moves, the da'wa agenda she is bringing to the KGIA and her goal of "focusing on education as a tool to further the prominence of the Muslim community."
The organizations which have joined behind Almontaser and the professional Islamists at Columbia's Middle East Institute have similar views.
Key player, Brooklyn's Arab American Family Support Center operates from the bellicose perspective that Muslims were victimized by the "backlash" created by 9/11.
The group's website claims that, "Arab-American immigrant community has been one of the most severely impacted by the 9/11 backlash...evidenced by the campaign of sweeps, raids, detentions, deportations, interrogations and investigations conducted by government authorities."
It is for this reason that Board of Education spokesman, David Castor's claim that the "Khalil Gibran International Academy...will not be a vehicle for political ideology" rings hollow.
Those responsible for the design of the school curriculum, those associated with promoting the school as a concept and the person charged with heading the institution demonstrate that KGIA will become a hotbed of Islamist activism, a breeding ground for angry Muslim and Arab youth.
This is a dangerous policy because it creates a self-fulfilling myth that American Muslims are constantly under siege, that they are threatened and harassed on a daily basis because of their ethnicity and religion.
Look at the credentials of those in the Arab/Muslim community who are pushing this ruse, they are by almost all outward appearances stunning examples of the professional achievement available to members of their ethnic and religious groups in "racist" America. Their success bespeaks the lie that fuels programs such as KGIA - that discrimination against Muslims is endemic.
Separatist institutions such as KGIA have no place in American public education. For that reason this program must not be allowed to go forward.
One of the members of the curriculum design team and one of its trainers was Dhabah Almontaser the under siege principal designate of the proposed Khalil Gibran International Academy.
Along with the lesson plan are a series of handouts [available here Educational Outreach Website] below are some excerpts from the one covering jihad.
As a counter to Columbia's jihad revisionism, some perspective regarding the traditional Islamic teachings pertaining to this subject may be accessed here Understanding Jihad - The PipeLineNews Review in which Rice University Professor David Cook observes, perhaps more objectively:
"There is no lack of evidence concerning the Muslim practice of jihad. The classical and modern works on the subject are voluminous, and they are documented by an examination of Muslim actions as recorded by historians. There can be no reasonable doubt that jihad is a major theme running through the entirety of Muslim civilization and is at least one of the major factors in the astounding success of the faith of Islam after surveying the evidence from classical until contemporary times, one must conclude that today's jihad movements are as legitimate as any that have ever existed in classical Islam." p 163-164
Below some excerpts from handout #9 on jihad as featured in Columbia University's "Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity, (Re)embracing Diversity in New York Schools."
"The Arabic word jihad means "struggle" or "exertion" and refers to any spiritual, moral or physical struggle. Upon returning from a battle, the Prophet Muhammed is reported to have said, "We are returning from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad-jihad against the self." For Muslim, jihad means struggle in the cause of God, which can take many forms. In the personal sphere, efforts such as obtaining an education, trying to quit smoking, or controlling one's temper are forms of jihad.
Jihad as a military action is justified in two cases: struggle to defend oneself, or others, from aggression and struggle for freedom of religion and justice. The Qur'an says "Tumult and oppression are worse than killing" (2:217), and therefore must be thwarted. Human beings as responsible agents of God on earth are compelled to exert themselves to protect the oppressed and strive to create righteous societies.
Systematic, forced conversion to Islam is a historical myth. Muslims defeated hostile forces (Byzantines and Persians for example) and gained control of new lands where Islamic rule was established, yet non-Muslim inhabitants were not forced to become Muslims. Islam clearly condemns such actions: "There is no compulsion in religion" (Qur'an, 2:256). For various reasons, and in the course of time, many non-Muslims did find the message of Islam appealing, however, and converted to Islam, resulting ultimately in the transformation of society at all levels.
Because jihad is a highly nuanced concept, and because the term stems from an Arabic root meaning "struggle," the term "holy war is an inappropriate rendering or definition.
Does Islam promote violence and terrorism?
Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not condone terrorism. Prophet Muhammad and the Rightly-guided Khalifahs (caliphs) prohibited the killing of civilians and non-combatants in the course of warfare. The Qur'an says, "Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors" (2:190) Moreover, the Qur'an indicates that taking one life unjustly is like taking the life of all humanity, providing a strong moral deterrent to indiscriminate bloodshed. Besides prohibiting the killing of non-combatants, the Qur'an and the
Prophet also prohibited the torturing of prisoners and the senseless destruction of crops, animals and property.
In any case, there can be so such thing as "Islamic terrorism," despite the fact that such terms have become a popular oxymoron. The adjective "Islamic" cannot be appliet to what some misguided Muslims do."
RE)EMBRACING DIVERSITY IN NYC PUBLIC SCHOOLS Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity
Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity Instructor's Guide
Columbia University in the City of New York School of International and Public Affairs Middle East Institute 420 West 118th Street New York, NY 10027 Phone (212) 854-2703 o Fax (212) 854-1413
MODULE ONE Lesson 1: E Pluribus Unum, "From many, one" Lesson 2: Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims Lesson 3: Muslim Contributions to Civilization Lesson 4: A Common Language for Discussing Bias and Hatred Lesson 5: Debating Civil Rights and Homeland Security
MODULE TWO Lesson 1: Muslims in America: Understanding Bias and Embracing Diversity Lesson 2: Reflections on Prejudice Lesson 3: Empowerment Through Alliance Lesson 4: Guest Speaker: Being Muslim in New York City Lesson 5: Action Plan Workshop
MODULE THREE Lesson 1. A: Field Trip Preparation: Islamic Institutions in New York City Lesson 1. B: Field Trip to an Islamic Institution Lesson 2: Culminating Event: Presentation of Action Plan Projects
"The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other's rights, especially the right to be different, and that, at the end of the day, we will understand that we are one people, one country, and one community, and that our well-being is inextricably bound up with the well-being of each and every one of our fellow citizens." --Arthur J. Kropp, former U.S. Surgeon General
The national tragedy of September 11th produced unimaginable levels of grief and suffering. No one has been spared, for the disaster also unleashed a widespread backlash against Muslims and people of Arab or South Asian descent in the United States. Although press coverage of this problem has diminished since the onset of the War on Terrorism, indiscriminate acts of hate against members of these groups continue to surface, including harassment, threats of violence, physical attacks against persons and property, and at least five deaths under investigation as hate crimes. If it's happening in the streets, then what about public schools?
On September 19th, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige issued an urgent call to the nation's educators to ensure that all students "can attend school in a safe and secure environment free from harassment and threats." Clearly, the ideals of tolerance and diversity, the twin pillars of multiculturalism in America's schools, are showing signs of cracking under the stress of an aggrieved nation. One group that has fallen through the cracks is Muslim American school children who, in ways reminiscent of Japanese Americans during World War II, leave home each day in fear of ridicule and recrimination, not to mention being bridled unfairly by guilt and shame.
With the well-being of New York City's school children in mind, Columbia University's Muslim Communities in New York City Project has produced this special curriculum, (Re)embracing Diversity in New York City Public Schools: Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity. Its purpose is to lend support to all educators who understand that fostering tolerance and diversity in the public schools will help to nurture our nation's healing process in the aftermath of 9/11.
The curriculum comprises three self-contained but thoroughly articulated modules that have been designed with two overarching goals in mind:
- To address and prevent intolerance towards Arab American and Muslim American students--or others perceived as belonging to these groups--in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11. - To promote interpersonal and intercultural dialogue based on tolerance and respect for ethnic and religious diversity by raising students' critical understanding of and sensitivity towards Muslims in America.
In Module One, the students engage in learning activities that develop interpersonal and intercultural understanding based on respect for ethnic and religious diversity. In Module Two, they juxtapose sensitivity and diversity awareness with a critical analysis of the implications of intolerance towards specific ethnic and religious minorities in America. Finally, in Module Three, the students explore ways to engage pro-actively in preempting or combating bias and bigotry in the wake of 9/11. Experiential learning activities play a special role in all three modules, especially in Modules Two and Three, in which a "guest speaker" and later a "field trip" create interactive situations that personalize the students' connections with the curriculum.
In sum, (Re)embracing Diversity in New York City Public Schools: Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity is a project conceived in the belief that out of the tragedy of 9/11, educators must reclaim and restore the value of tolerance and diversity in our public school communities. It is a small but necessary effort to remind both our children and ourselves that, to paraphrase Arthur J. Kropp, our own well-being is inextricably bound up with the well-being of others.
Louis Abdellatif Cristillo
New York City
February 11, 2002
The Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity Project and this publication were sponsored by Columbia University's Muslim Communities in New York City Project, funded by the Ford Foundation, and directed by the Middle East Institute at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.
Co-Principal Investigators, Muslim Communities in NYC Project: Professor Peter J. Awn, Professor of Religion, Dean Dr. Reeva Simon, Associate Director, Middle East Institute
Project Coordinator: Louis Abdellatif Cristillo
Outreach Training Director: Gordon Skinner
Curriculum Design Team: Lee Ali Debbie Almontaser Darby Benedict Seyfi Kenan Krister Lowe Gordon Skinner
In-Service Day Trainers Seema Ahmad Debbie Almontaser Darby Benedict Lawrence Berg Jessie Colby Daniel Jerome Seyfi Kenan Krister Lowe Trudy Morris Habiba Noor Vicky Pope
MODULE ONE: LESSON 1 E pluribus unum, "From many, one"
"The Universal is always the same, the specifics are always different." -- Robert Aitken
Overview: The students will explore the popular concept of diversity in America and how it relates to particular ethnic and religious minorities following the tragedy of 9/11.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Identify elements of cultural diversity through peer interaction. 2. Explain the meaning of "E pluribus unum" in the context of American diversity. 3. Compare and contrast their own and others' perceptions of Islam and Muslims in the wake of 9/11.
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 45-50 minutes · Space for students to walk around comfortably · Slips of paper with different countries' greetings. (Handout 1) · "I'm an American" video clip (http://www.adcouncil.org/) · TV/VCR · Reading selections (Handouts 2-11)
IMPORTANT: Set Ground Rules! Teacher sets the parameters or guidelines to ensure that a safe and secure community environment prevails in the classroom. · Using the word ROPES (or RESPECT) as an anagram, have students think of words conducive to creating a comfortable environment in which all will feel safe to share and learn from one another.
R-respect O-open P-patient E-empower S-safety
ACTIVITY 1: Greetings and Diversity Students will understand that while the giving of greetings is universal, differences in how they are given across cultures underscores the notion of social and cultural diversity. Time: 15 minutes Procedure: 1. Explain that seemingly commonplace gestures, greetings in this case, reflect interpersonal relationships rooted in meanings that differ across cultures. 2. Randomly distribute the slips of paper with greetings to students. Instruct students not to share their "country" or greeting instructions. (Handout 1) 3. Allow students approximately 3 minutes to walk around the room and greet each other by performing the "gesture" as described on the slip of paper. 4. Regroup and process using these suggested discussion questions: a) How did it feel to use an unfamiliar greeting? b) How did it feel to receive an unfamiliar greeting? c) Compared with greetings you typically use, what was different? d) Where did these greetings come from? e) Besides greetings, what other kinds of customs or norms differ from one culture to another? f) Why could America be described as a mosaic of many cultures?
ACTIVITY 2: E pluribus unum: "I am an American" Student will explore both the importance of and challenges to national motto E pluribus unum (From many, one) in the aftermath of 9/11. Time: 15 minutes Procedure: 1. Introduce the "I am an American" video clip by asking students to explain why the Great Seal of the United States-the national emblem or logo-displays the Latin motto, E pluribus unum, "From many, one." 2. Show the video clip, "I am an American." 3. Discussion Questions: a) What other titles could you suggest for this PSA (public service announcement)? b) Why do you suppose this public message was released soon after the tragic events of 9/11? c) Since 9/11, why have many Arab Americans, South Asian Americans, and Muslim-Americans felt excluded from the ideal of E pluribus unum? (Answers could include, for example, negative stereotyping by the media; being singled out as scapegoats; being victimized verbally or physically; being racially or ethnically profiled by officials in public places, etc.)
ACTIVITY 3: Muslim Web This activity helps students to explore both their perceptions of and misconceptions about one of the fastest growing yet least understood religious minority groups in the United States-Muslims. The purpose is to demonstrate that ignorance or misconceptions about a particular group of people fosters prejudicial attitudes that can undermine the ideals of tolerance and respect for diversity. Time: 10 minutes Procedure: 1. Using the blackboard or an overheard projector, the teacher elicits words or ideas that students spontaneously associate with "Islam" or "Muslim." a) Begin the web by writing "Islam/Muslim" inside a circle, and then cue the students to freely associate whatever ideas come to mind. Connect or "web" their ideas outwards from the circle. These prompts can also be used: i. What thoughts or images first come to mind when you see someone in public who appears to be Muslim? ii. What kinds of impressions do you get about Islam/Muslims through newspapers, network news, movies, and other media? b) Ask students to explain which words or terms an American Muslim would find unfavorable or offensive. 2. Extending students' knowledge: · Tell students that until recently, public opinion polls have suggested that many people in America have held generally unfavorable views about Islam or Muslims even though they-Americans-knew little about Islam. Recent public opinion surveys, however, suggest that more people are now seeking to educate themselves about the religion and its adherents. · Ask: Why would Muslim Americans greet this news with surprise?
HOMEWORK: Students are given introductory readings about Islam: "An Introduction to Islam," (Handout 2) and the "The Five Pillars of Islam" (Handout 3). Supplementary resources (Handouts 4-11) are highly recommended. Procedure: · Teacher randomly assigns each student an Islamic term or concept from the list below along with accompanying readings: (Note: Other relevant terms may be added at the discretion of the teacher; e.g., words that were generated in the Muslim Web activity.)
Allah (Handout 7) Qur'an (Handout 6) Islam (Handouts 2, 5) Muslim (Handouts 2, 5) Prophet Muhammad (Handout 8) Five Pillars of Islam (Handout 3) Jihad (Handout 9) Women in Islam (Handouts 10, 11)
· Instruct students to: 1. Ask several people outside of class what they know about the assigned word, jotting down notes to summarize their statements. 2. Then, compare these statements with the information in the readings. How are they similar? How are they different? 3. Be prepared to present your findings in the next lesson.
MODULE ONE: LESSON 2 Towards Understanding Islam and Muslims
"It is never too late to give up our prejudices." -- Henry David Thoreau
Overview: The students will explore their own and others' perspectives and understandings-or misunderstandings-about Islam and Muslims to gain a more accurate and balanced view of Muslims and their faith.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Identify and examine key Islamic terms and concepts. 2. Distinguish between accurate and inaccurate understandings of Islam and Muslims. 3. Identify and classify core beliefs and practices of the three major monotheistic world religions.
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 45-50 minutes · Relevant handouts from Lesson 1, Module One · "Islam, Judaism, Christianity" (Handout 12) · "Islam: A Global Civilization" (Handout 14) · List of URLs for Internet research (Handout 13)
ACTIVITY: Reflecting on New Understandings of Islam/Muslims In this activity, students evaluate the accuracy of their own and others' understandings of core terms and concepts in Islam by analyzing reading materials and exploring elements that Islam shares in common with Judaism and Christianity.
Time: 30 minutes
Procedure: 1. Divide students into groups based on the Islamic terms or concepts given out as homework in the previous lesson: Allah; Qur'an; Islam; Muslim; Prophet Muhammad; Five Pillars of Islam; Jihad; Women in Islam (or other terms, if relevant). 2. Working in their groups, the students compare what they learned from the readings with: a) Their own presumptions about the Islamic word or concept b) Statements made by people outside the school 3. A spokesperson from each group reports to the class. 4. Ask students to identify or infer those features that Islam appears to share with the other two monotheistic world religions, Judaism and Christianity.
5. Create a three-circle Venn diagram. a) Label each circle for one of the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (If students have adequate knowledge of other world religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism, one of these could be included.) b) Using the Handout "Islam, Judaism and Christianity" (Handout 12) students (full class or small groups) determine where the different religions do or do not intersect. For example, "holy book" or "day of judgment" would be common among all three, whereas "Baptism" or "Holy Communion" would be placed in the Christian section only.
HOMEWORK: Muslim Contributions to Civilization 1. Teacher divides students into groups. 2. Each group must address this question: What contributions have Muslims made to world civilization in the area of ____________________? In the blank space, substitute one of the following topics: · Architecture · Arts & Humanities (music, literature, decorative arts, etc.) · Historiography · Human Rights · Mathematics · Medicine · Race Relations · Sciences (chemistry, biology, anatomy, astronomy, etc.) · Women's Rights
Useful Handouts: · "Islam: A Global Civilization" (Handout 14) · "Internet Resources" (Handout 13). · Additional resources available at http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/REGIONAL/mei/).
MODULE ONE: LESSON 3 Muslim Contributions to Civilization
"Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it." -- Chuang-tse
Overview: In this lesson, students explore Islam as a culture, examining major contributions by Muslims to world civilization in domains as varied as math, science, medicine, art, literature, music, and in religious discourses on social justice and human rights.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. List contribution of Muslims to world civilization. 2. Analyze a religious narrative text. 3. Identify where Islamic and American values of social justice and equality overlap.
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 45-50 minutes · Large newsprint; markers; tape · Notes from research assignment in previous lesson · "The Farewell Address" (Handout 15; Handout 16 is instructor's copy) · Handouts 17-19
ACTIVITY 1: Muslim Contributions to Civilization In this activity, students process and discuss their research findings about Muslim contributions to world civilization. Time: 30 minutes Procedure: 1. Working in groups, students share their research findings about Muslim contributions to civilization. 2. Using large size chart paper (e.g., newsprint or butcher paper), each group summarizes its findings in list form. The title of the group's topic should appear on top of the paper, under which they can list major contributions. 3. Suggested Discussion Questions (adopted from Social Studies Resource Guide of the New York State Education Department): a) What contributions has Islamic culture made to global history? b) What is the status of women under Islamic law? c) How did Islam link Eastern and Western cultures? d) How does Islamic art and architecture reflect a blend of many different cultures? e) What significant contributions did Islam make to discoveries and inventions in math and science? f) What contributions has Islamic culture made to world literature?
ACTIVITY 2: "Farewell Address" (15 minutes) Presented here as an historical text, not a theological document, students will analyze the Farewell Address of the Prophet Muhammad to identify what social values Muslims are urged to abide by, and by extension, how these values compare to core American values of justice and equality. 1. Teacher explains to students that world religions possess core "narratives" or texts that speak to essential values and beliefs held to be universal. Think, for example, of Moses and the Ten Commandments, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Buddha and the Eight-fold Path, or Lord Krishna and the Bhagavad-Gita. For many Muslims worldwide, the Farewell Address of the Prophet Mohammad is such a narrative. Dating from the 7th century CE, this speech contains many of the essential elements of faith, morality, and ethics that continue to inspire Muslims today nearly 1400 years later. 2. Students read the text, individually or in groups (Handout 15) [Note: Handout 16 provides interpretive commentary by an Islamic scholar that the teacher may find useful.] 3. Discussion Questions: a) What basic human rights does the Prophet Muhammad address? b) How does the Prophet Muhammad address the ideas of racial or ethnic equality? c) How, in your view, would American Muslims see the connections between the Farewell Address and the American values of equality, diversity, and pluralism?
HOMEWORK: 1. Teacher explains the assignment: Before the tragic events of 9/11, misconceptions in the West about Islam have led to demeaning stereotypes of Muslims as backward, fanatical, and violent. In big-budget movies such as True Lies, Executive Decision, and The Siege, Hollywood exploits these stereotypes. Understandably, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans find such negative portrayals deeply offensive, and they fear that worse forms of prejudice and bigotry will prevail. 2. Teacher provides students with several articles (Handouts 17-19). Handouts 17 and 18 address the media portrayal of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. Handout 19 reports on the anti-Muslim backlash since 9/11.
Focus Question: 1. What kinds of negative stereotypes prevail in Hollywood's portrayal of Arabs and Muslims, and how long has this been going on? 2. Since the attacks of 9/11, over 1500 hate crimes against Arab American and Muslims have been reported in the United States. Explain the connection between negative stereotypes and hate crimes.
MODULE ONE: LESSON 4 A Common Language for Discussing Bias and Hatred
"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." --James Baldwin
Overview: The students will explore the definitions of terms related to the notions of bias and hate, laying the foundation for a "common language" whereby the implications of different manifestations of prejudice and discrimination can be better understood.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Identify both personal and institutional manifestations of specific forms of prejudice and discrimination. 2. Identify and classify forms of bias crimes perpetrated against Arab Americans and Muslim Americans as reported in local press.
ACTIVITY: Developing common language Time: 35 minutes Procedure: 1. Ask: How can a lack of a "common language" (i.e., common understandings, agreed upon terms) lead to misunderstandings or bias by members of one group towards another? 2. Divide students into small groups and explain the rationale for the activity and distribute the Definitions list (Handout 20)--one per person--and assign each group one word from the list. 3. Instruct participants to read their word and its definition. Explain that all forms of prejudice and discrimination can be both personal and institutional. Ensure that students understand the meaning of "personal" and "institutional" by eliciting examples of both personal and institutional manifestations of prejudice or discrimination. 4. Tell students to discuss their word and to identify both personal and institutional manifestations of prejudice or discrimination. 5. Allow about 15 minutes for this analysis and discussion. One person in each group records ideas on chart paper. 6. Instruct each group to present its findings to the class, allowing time for other students to add comments or questions. 7. Pass out to everyone the Daily News Article, "Muslims Feel Twice Victims of Terror: Bias' Sting Felt Citywide" (Handout 19). Students skim article, adding notes to their charts. (Students can also refer to Handouts 17 and 18 from the homework assignment in Lesson 3.) 8. Lead a full group discussion using these suggested questions: a) Did you learn anything you didn't know during the small-group discussion? In the whole group discussion? b) Are there some forms of prejudice or discrimination that receive more attention than others? Why do you think that occurs? c) How does having a "common language" about prejudice and discrimination help to deal with ethnic and religious intolerance? d) What are some ways you or others could help diminish or prevent manifestations of prejudice and discrimination? What would be the benefits of doing so? 9. Post the sheets of paper in the room for later use and as a reminder that these issues are real and present every day.
HOMEWORK: Teacher provides students reading selections, Handouts 21, 22, and 23, which examine the public debate over whether the civil rights of some people are being infringed in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Focus Question: What specific civil rights question has become hot-button issue since 9/11? (Intended answer: the constitutionality of selective profiling that targets Arabs and Muslims in the United States.)
MODULE ONE: LESSON 5 Debating Civil Rights and Homeland Security
"The test of courage comes when we are in the minority; the test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority." -- Ralph W. Stockman
Overview: This lesson challenges students to consider one of the toughest issues to emerge out of 9/11: accommodating the need for greater homeland security without infringing on America's constitutionally sanctioned civil rights. Students will learn how this hot button issue is impacting the lives of Arab Americans and Muslims in the United States.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Organize information and evidence to advocate a position responding to the public debate about ethnic and racial profiling and homeland security in the wake of 9/11. 2. Work collaboratively to evaluate opposing viewpoints. 3. Synthesize a new position based on a critical evaluation of opposing viewpoints.
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 50 to 90 minutes (depending on students' organizational skills) · Handouts 21, 22, and 23 from Lesson 4 homework reading assignment
Procedure: 1. As a warm up, ask students to recall the meaning of the national motto E pluribus unum, and ask why the public debate over ethnic or racial profiling raises fears for most Arab, South Asian, and Muslim Americans.
2. Provide students with this overview of the issue: Poll Shows Support for Profiling About half of Americans say that Arabs -- even those who are U.S. citizens -- should have to carry special identification and undergo special security checks before boarding a plane, according to a new poll. The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll not only found that 58 percent of Americans backed more intensive security checks for Arab plane passengers and 49 percent supported special IDs, but also that 32 percent think Arabs living here should be put under special surveillance as were Japanese-Americans following Pearl Harbor. A Reuters/Zogby poll conducted around the same time found more positive views. It showed that 84 percent of Americans believe the nation is at war not with Islam, but with a small group of terrorists who may happen to be Muslim. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 9.19.2001]
3. "Academic Controversy," or cooperative debate. a) Explain to the class that unlike a conventional debate, which is competitive, academic controversy is cooperative in that the participants work to resolve differences and seek outcomes beneficial to all. b) Introduce the proposition to be debated: Arab Americans and US residents of Arab nationality should be put under special surveillance and carry special IDs. In other words, racial or ethnic profiling of certain groups in the USA should be sanctioned because of 9/11. c) Divide the class into two sections; then divide each section into two teams (a total of four groups in all). d) Preparation: The two teams in each section take opposing positions. Students then share and organize information, knowledge and experience. Handouts 21, 22, and 23 from the homework assigned in Lesson 4 provide good resources. Instruct students to share notes with fellow participants, including those holding opposing views (just as prosecution and defense lawyers must do with evidence in a court case) e) Phase One: Each team in the two separate sections presents and advocates its position to its opponents, the purpose of which is to share and elaborate as much new information as possible. NOTE: Only half the students in each team should make statements; the other half take their turn to speak in Phase Three. [Basically, there are two debates going on simultaneously, one in each of the two sections.] f) Phase Two: Teammates regroup and discuss the issue further, criticizing the ideas WITHOUT criticizing the people who presented them. The objective here is to differentiate the opposing positions as clearly as possible, and to evaluate the evidence and logical reasoning in support of each position. g) Phase Three: Students who didn't speak in Phase One now have their turn. Facing their opponents, the students take turns refuting the opposing positions and rebutting attacks on their own. h) Phase Four: Students regroup again. i. Instruct the students to "reverse" perspectives; that is, each student drops the role of advocate and instead adopts the perspectives of his/her opponents. ii. Explain that each of the four teams must now work to create a brand new position that is a synthesis of both perspectives. i) Phase Five: A spokesperson from each of the four teams presents his/her team's new position. NOTE: The teacher should encourage students to critically evaluate the merits of each new position.
MODULE TWO: LESSON 1 Muslims in America: Understanding Bias and Embracing Diversity
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." -- Albert Einstein
Overview: In this lesson, students learn about the escalating nature of hate and of the consequences for both individuals and communities of letting acts of bias or hate go unchecked.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Point out historical and contemporary examples of scapegoating. 2. Distinguish between progressive levels of bias and hate. 3. Predict what happens if acts of bias are left unchecked. 4. Identify existing stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims.
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 45-50 minutes · Handout 24, "Pyramid of Hate" · TV/VCR · Video: Muslims in America: The Misunderstood Millions
ACTIVITY 1: Pyramid of Hate Time: 20 minutes Procedure: 1. Begin the lesson by asking students to think of a time when they were unfairly blamed for something or when a group to which they belong was unfairly blamed for something. Ask those students who volunteer examples to tell how they felt when this occurred. Review the meaning of scapegoating. 2. Ask students to provide examples of groups that have been scapegoated: e.g., immigrants for unemployment; welfare recipients or blacks for urban crime; Jews for exploitive business practices; Italian Americans for organized crime; gay men for the AIDS epidemic; Japanese Americans for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 3. Students brainstorm what causal factors lead to blaming one particular group of people for a social condition or tragic event (e.g., media bias; rumors; false information; existing stereotypes; ignorance. Chart students' responses on the blackboard. 4. Distribute handout "Pyramid of Hate" (Handout 24). Ask students to examine the chart starting at the bottom of the pyramid and working their way to the top. Ask the students to: a) Describe what patterns of "violence" they see as they move up the pyramid. b) Infer what happens when biased attitudes are left unchecked. 5. Guide students to give examples-historical or recent-of each level of hate on the pyramid by using the example of a particular group, for instance Jews and the Holocaust, African Americans and racism, or Japanese Americans and WWII internment camps. 6. Ask students to consider what forms of hate have been directed against some Muslim Americans (including Arabs and South Asians) because of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Questions for discussion can include: a) Since the tragedy of 9/11, which stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims have been most widespread? b) Ask students to recall the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Who was responsible? Before the perpetrators were apprehended, what group came under immediate suspicion?
ACTIVITY 2: Video: Muslims in America: The Misunderstood Millions with Ted Koppel Time: 25 minutes (can be trimmed down to fit single lesson) Procedure: 1. Instruct students to use the "Pyramid of Hate" as a rubric for identifying and classifying instances of hate during the viewing of the video. 2. Allow five minutes of class time at the end for students to share their findings.
HOMEWORK: Questions to extend understanding: · What difficulties do individuals face in trying to prevent hatred from escalating? · What is the cost to the individual who does not act to interrupt hatred? · What is the cost to the victims of hatred? · What is the result for society?
MODULE TWO: LESSON 2 Reflections on Prejudice
"Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom." ~Merry Browne
Overview: By tapping into students' personal experiences with situations of prejudice, this lesson helps students to extend their understanding of bias to include the feelings of others, and to consider the implications of not intervening in situations of prejudice or discrimination.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Share their personal experience with prejudice. 2. Personalize the prejudice experienced by Arab-Americans and Muslims since 9/11.
Activity: Conflict Quadrants Procedure: 1. Explain that this activity relies on honesty and a willingness to share personal stories about prejudice. It's important for students to be considerate towards the feelings of their classmates. (Revisiting the ROPES anagram (Module One, Lesson 1) for a safe learning environment is recommended) 2. Read aloud the Newsday article: "Driver Arrested in Hate Crime at Mall" (Handout 25) and ask the students to share their feelings about the incident. 3. Explain that the purpose of this activity is to share with one another how they have been the victims of bias, perpetuated bias, confronted bias, or have been a bystander to bias. 4. Have the students work in pairs. Explain that they will be asked a series of fours questions, one at a time, their responses to which they will share with a partner. While one person is responding to the question, the listening partner is to remain silent. There are to be no verbal responses, interruptions or comments. Emphasize the importance of partners listening carefully to one another, not thinking about what they are going to say. 5. Select one person to start speaking in each pair. Explain that he or she will be timed and allowed only one minute for responding to each question, at which time partners will trade roles. 6. Read the following questions and have students respond following the directions above: a) Tell your partner a time when someone's words or actions hurt you. b) Tell your partner a time when you said or did something you wished you could take back. c) Tell your partner a time when you interrupted prejudice. d) Tell your partner a time when you did not interrupt prejudice. 7. After students have responded to all the questions, direct their attention to the Four Quadrants diagram, which should be on chart paper or the blackboard.
VICTIM(A time When Someone Hurt You) VICTIMIZER(A Time When You Hurt Someone) BYSTANDER(A Time When You Did Not Interrupt Prejudice) CONFRONTER(A Time When You Did Interrupt Prejudice)
8. Ask the students to paraphrase the experiences that they shared with their partners. List the students' responses in the appropriate quadrants on the chart. 9. Initiate a large-group discussion with these suggested questions: · In general, how did it feel to share these experiences? · Which experiences were especially difficult to talk about? Why? · As best you can recollect, what feelings did you have in the different roles? · What factors did you consider when deciding to confront prejudice or remain a bystander? And which ones influenced your decision the most? · Can you think of contemporary situations in which these four roles continue to occur in society? 10. Individually or in small groups, have the students use the Four Quadrants model to examine press reports of prejudice or discrimination against Arab, South Asian, or Muslim Americans in the wake of 9/11. · Distribute Handout 26, "Attack on Arab American, Car Torching Decried," and have students identify which of the four Quadrant roles are evident: · After sharing their findings, ask the students to cast themselves in the role of "bystander" or "confronter" in any of the situations, and then "rewrite the ending," explaining why they made their choice.
HOMEWORK: Distribute Handouts 28-30 to students. These newspaper articles illustrate actions taken by individuals or groups to confront situations of prejudice or discrimination.
Focus Question: In what ways can someone who confronts prejudice be considered an "ally"?
MODULE TWO: LESSON 3 Empowerment Through Alliance
"The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Overview: In this lesson, students explore recent examples of individual or collective acts to confront prejudice and discrimination in the aftermath of 9/11. In this way, students will appreciate the benefits to both individuals and society when actions are taken to preempt or combat bigotry.
Objectives: Students will be able to · Identify behaviors that represent a low, moderate, and high level of alliance. · Describe situations where they have been an ally to others. · Explain how building alliances strengthens a community. · Develop questions for guest speaker.
ACTIVITY 1: Pyramid of Alliance Time: 35 minutes Procedure: 1. Distribute the "Pyramid of Alliance" diagram (Handout 31), explaining that this activity will help students to explore ways that individuals and communities can fight prejudice and discrimination. 2. Discuss the meanings of the word "ally," and what an act of "alliance" might mean. Ask students to explain how being an "ally" is similar to the role of "confronter" in the Conflict Quadrants activity of the previous lesson. 3. Review the handout, having students brainstorm examples of what people have done or can do to fight bigotry in their communities or elsewhere in the United States. List students' ideas on chart paper or the blackboard. Discuss how these measures can be effective to stem bigotry and support victims of hate. 4. Have the students rank their examples of acts of alliance by increasing degrees from low, moderate, to high. For example, low level: interrupting a derogatory joke about a particular group of people; moderate level: attending an interfaith teach-in, or writing a letter to the editor; high level: counseling a victim of a hate crime, or helping to repair a community building damaged by vandalism. (Students' judgments may vary as to what constitutes low, moderate, and high levels of alliance depending on the situations presented.) 5. Tell students to skim over the news articles they were given for homework in the previous lesson (Handouts 28-30). Divide students into small groups and instruct them to identify and record examples from the articles of low, moderate, and high levels of alliance. 6. Students report their findings and teacher lists their examples on chart paper or the blackboard. 7. Discussion questions: · What are the characteristics of an ally? · What circumstances or events might cause someone to move up the pyramid to engage in higher levels of alliance? · When have you been someone's ally? When has someone been your ally and at what level? · Can you think of situations where your offer of alliance or that of someone else's was rejected? Why would someone reject an ally? What else could you do in such a situation? · How does building an alliance strengthen a community?
ACTIVITY 2: Prepare questions for guest speaker Time: 15 minutes Tell students that they will soon have a guest visitor who is a member of one of New York City's diverse Muslim communities. · If possible, provide the students with a biographical profile of the guest. · Use the chart papers and notes created in the "Pyramid of Hate" and "Pyramid of Alliance" lessons to help students generate focus questions for the guest speaker. List these questions on chart paper. · Lay down ground rules with students to ensure that the speaker will feel welcome and secure. Students should see this as an opportunity to ally themselves against prejudice and discrimination. (The ROPES anagram could be useful here).
NOTE: The teacher is responsible for obtaining approval for the guest speaker's visit from the school administration. A list of participating guest speakers whom the teacher can contact directly will be available on the website of the Middle East Institute at: http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/REGIONAL/mei/. Teachers can also contact the Muslim Communities in NYC Project at Columbia University for additional assistance: Ph. (212) 854-2703; fax: (212) 854-1413
HOMEWORK: Empowerment Through Alliance: Action Plan Project Explain to the students that they will work collaboratively on an empowerment project-an Action Plan-in which they will combine knowledge, tolerance, and action to oppose prejudice and discrimination. · Give students a copy of the "Pyramid of Alliance" planning sheet for an Action Plan Project (Handout 32). · Instruct students to brainstorm a list of possible projects they would feel comfortable doing as a modest "act of alliance," the goal of which is to confront prejudice or discrimination in the aftermath of 9/11.
MODULE TWO: LESSON 4 Guest Speaker: Being Muslim in New York City
"Behave towards everyone as if receiving a great guest." -- Oriental Proverb
Overview: In this lesson, students conduct a semi-structured interview with a guest speaker who represents one of New York City's diverse Muslim communities. The dialogue will provide students a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be Muslim in post-9/11 America.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Dialogue with a guest speaker on issues related to prejudice and discrimination. 2. Identify examples of local efforts to combat bias. 3. Evaluate information in the interview for its relevance to their individual Action Plans.
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 45-50 minutes · Paper and pencils for notes · Tape recorders (optional) · Water or other beverage for guest speaker
Procedure: 1. The teacher, or a designated student, introduces the guest speaker. 2. Ground rules are reviewed, and the set of focus questions is re-introduced. 3. Guest speaker dialogues with the students, guided by the focus questions. 4. Students are given the opportunity to ask questions that relate specifically to their ideas for action plans, and to elicit the guest speaker's suggestions.
HOMEWORK: Reflection assignment (e.g., journal, thank you letter, etc.)
MODULE TWO: LESSON 5 Action Plan Workshop
"Enough shovels of earth -- a mountain. Enough pails of water -- a river." -- Chinese Proverb
Overview: This lesson is a workshop session for students to revise and further develop their Action Plans.
Objectives: Students will be able to Work and report on action projects.
Procedure: 1. Using the focus questions that guided the guest speaker interview, students summarize main points and share their reflections on the experience. 2. Students revise and finalize their Action Plan projects. 3. Students decide, if they haven't already, whether their Action Plans will be an individual or a team effort. Teams should be kept to a manageable size. 4. By the end of the lesson, each student or team of students must submit a completed Action Plan contract (see Handout 32).
MODULE THREE: LESSON 1 Field Trip
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." -- Marcel Proust
A. Pre-Trip Preparation: Islamic Institutions in New York City
Overview: The field trip provides a co-curricular learning experience that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Whereas the visit by Guest Speaker focused students' attention on the perspective of one individual, the field trip introduces the students to ways that Muslim New Yorkers have collectively produced "Islamic space" in urban America.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. Extend and connect their classroom learning to a cultural institution in the larger social environment. 2. Compare and combine information from the Guest Speaker interview with the field trip to further advance their Action Plan Projects.
Field Trip (options) · Mosque · Muslim School · Handouts 33-35
NOTE: The teacher is responsible for obtaining approval for the field trip from both the school administration and from the students' parents or guardians. A list of participating Mosques and Islamic schools will be available on the website of the Middle East Institute at: http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/REGIONAL/mei/. Teachers can contact the field trip site directly to schedule the visit. In addition, the Muslim Communities in NYC Project at Columbia University can offer limited assistance if a school has difficulty locating a nearby site.
Other options: · Museum of the City of New York, special exhibit: "A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York," March 2002 · Brooklyn Museum · Museum of Natural History · Metropolitan Museum of Art
Materials/Requirements: · Time: 45-50 minutes · Background Reading: 1. "The Dome and the Grid: Mosques of New York City" (handout 33) 2. Background Reading: "Muslim Schools in U.S. a Voice for Identity" (handout 34); "The 2 Worlds of Muslim American Teenagers" (Handout 35)
Activity: Field Trip preparation 1. Review the purpose of the trip. 2. Students work either independently or in their Action Plan teams to formulate three questions to be explored during the field trip, the answers to which must contribute in a substantive way towards the objectives of their respective Action Plans. 3. Teacher and students discuss and agree on the ground rules for proper conduct during the field trip.
Field Trip Follow up 1. After the field trip, students work independently to incorporate what was learned into their Action Plan projects. 2. A date must be set for the presentation of completed projects.
B. Field Trip to an Islamic Institution
MODULE THREE: LESSON 2 CULMINATING EVENT Presentation of Action Plan Projects
"It's the action, not the fruit of the action that's important. You have to do the right thing... You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results." -- Mohandas K. Gandhi
Overview: The culminating event combines celebration with closure, providing students the opportunity to share their projects with peers and others in the school community. The aim is to applaud the students' efforts towards confronting bias and bigotry in the post 9/11 backlash against Muslim Americans.
Objectives: Students will be able to 1. List ideas for incorporating what is learned in Modules 1 and 2. 2. Make final preparations for Action Plans presentations. 3. Self-evaluate their progress and achievement in what they've gained in knowledge, sensitivity, tolerance, and individual empowerment.
Partial List of Suggested Action Plan Ideas (Students/Teachers can suggest others): · Letter Writing Campaign · Murals · Skits/Plays · Webpage · Language of Inclusion · Islamic Art · Origins and meanings of Hijab · 101 Ways to Combat Prejudice
Culminating Muslim Multi-Ethnic Celebration · Presentation of Action Plan projects · Cultural cuisine · Theatrical performance (skits/scripts)
HANDOUTS & VIDEO RESOURCES
MODULE ONE Lesson 1 Handout 1: Opening Activity: Greetings Handout 2: Introduction to Islam Handout 3: The Five Pillars of Islam Handout 4: Important Terms Handout 5: Usage of Terms: Islam, Islamic, and Muslim Handout 6: Divine Scriptures Handout 7: Allah: How God is Viewed in Islam Handout 8: Who was Muhammad? Handout 9: What is Jihad? Handout 10: Gender and Family Values Handout 11: The Veiled Revolution Lesson 2 Handout 12: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity Handout 13: Internet Resources: Muslim Contributions to Civilization: Past and Present Handout 14: Islam: A Global Civilization Lesson 3 Handout 15: The Farewell Address Handout 16: The Farewell Address (Instructor's Copy) Handout 17: "Reel Stereotypes: Writer Exposes Hollywood Vilification of Arabs" Handout 18: "Letter to the Editor: Hollywood Stereotypes Can Hurt" Handout 19: "Muslims Feel Twice Victims of Terror: Bias' Sting Felt Citywide" Lesson 4 Handout 20: Definitions List Handout 21: "A Nation Challenged: Civil Liberties; Americans Give in to Race Profiling" Handout 22: "Editorial: An Ugly Appeal" Handout 23: "Why Fear National ID Cards?"
MODULE TWO Lesson 1 Handout 24: The "Pyramid of Hate" Lesson 2 Handout 25: "Driver Arrested in Hate Crime at Mall" Handout 26: "Attack on Arab-American, Car Torching Decried" Handout 27: "Beaten in Pakistan, Battered in Brooklyn" Handout 28: "Vols Helping Fearful Arabs: Young Students Get Escorts to Schools" Handout 29: "Pop Stars and Public Officials Join Campaign for Tolerance" Handout 30: "Starz TV Spot Speaks Out Against Ethnic Stereotyping" Lesson 3 Handout 31: "Pyramid of Alliance" Handout 32: Action Plan Contract
MODULE THREE Lesson 1 Handout 33: " The Dome and The Grid: The Mosques of New York City" Handout 34: "Muslim Schools in U.S., a Voice for Identity" Handout 35: "A Nation Challenged: Muslims; The 2 Worlds of Muslim American Teenagers"
MIM: Almontaser initiated a "Dialouge Project" as a da'wa effort. Note on page 5 that Rashid Khalidi who worked with with Almontaser on the "Muslim sensitivity syllabus" as head of the Columbia Middle East Studies Department attended dinner at the Bay Ridge Islamic Center. The Center is known for spawning the terrorist Rashid Baz, who killed yeshiva student Ariel Halberstam by shooting him on the Brooklyn Bridge after hearing a sermon there.
Another Bay Ridge terrorist was Shahawar Matin Siraj, who was sentenced to 30 years for plotting to blow up a New York subway disquised as a hasidic Jew. At the trial Siraj's lawyer Martin Stolar told the court that Siraj couldnt be blamed for thinking that America had staged 9/11 because it was the common belief held by most of the Muslim community in Bay Ridge.
Open house at the Bay Ridge Islamic Center for a "know your neighbor" event. Participants learned about Islamic culture and religion as well as meeting members of the community who are neighbors. -The Dialogue Project attended the IFTAR Ramadan Dinner in Brooklyn hosted by the Muslim American Society of New York with Columbia Professor of Middle East Studies, RashidKhalidi. -pg 5
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML Three Dialogue project Board Members (Thomas Cox, Debbie Almontaser, Father ... of New York with Columbia Professor of Middle East Studies, Rashid. Khalidi. ... www.thedialogueproject.org/DPannreport2005.pdf - Similar pages - Note this
1The Dialogue Project Annual Report 2005We are five years into our journey of face-to-face encounters - Diaspora Palestinians and Israelis, people of many ethnicities, American Jews, Muslims, and Christians - who make room for the intimate stories and human knowledge of the "other". We have learned to honor the places where we are vulnerable. We struggle to quiet voices of judgement. Together we become curious about each other's way of life, history and ideas for future coexistence.In 2005 we focused our activities on: 1. Enriching our current dialogues; 2. Special Events Interfaith, Campus and Organization Programs - creating partnerships /strengthening existing partnerships with diverse organizations/schools around New York.3.Implementing/expanding SPEAKING ACROSS DIFFERENCES a Bay Ridge (and soon to be Cobble Hill/Brooklyn Heights) community development project.We are moving forward and maturing. Our focus for 2006 is on capacity building and establishing a full time paid Executive position and staff support. This report offers an in-depth review of the past year's activities. We welcome your feedback, comments and ideas!Sustainable Middle East DialoguesThe continuity and regularity of the dialogue circles have created a comfortable place to explore differences. Genuine affection among individuals in each circle has developed. While each group has its own dynamic, all of the dialogues reflected the often tense on the ground situation in Israel and Palestine. Dialogue participants have family in Israel, Palestine and the Middle East who are affected daily by political decisions Gaza disengagement, the separation wall, land confiscation in West Bank and Jerusalem, targeted assassinations and suicide bombers. And dialoguers themselves are affected when they travel to the region. Dialogue Summary In any given month there are approximately 110 active dialoguers (150 on the circle lists). There is a palpable sense of trust among circle participants, though strong differences regarding Palestine, Israel and the statehood of each people exist.Dialoguers express deep affection for each other. They are touched by personal stories even from those of opposing political views. An Israeli American man tells a Palestinian Christian woman that he was very moved when she spoke of her father and the effect of his flight from 1947 Jerusalem on his life, mentally and physically. She appreciates the Israeli's story of his father's survival in Nazi Europe and landing in Palestine, in 1947. She tells him "I do not hold you responsible for being born an Israeli, it is your home, and I want it to remain your home."
2A Palestinian from Gaza who has lost several cousins over the past two years to the conflict speaks to an American Jewish woman who is fearful of anti-Jewish sentiment in the Arab world. He tells her that that he understands Jewish fear because he knows his own fear and rage. It is something he struggles with every day. Participants ask each other hard questions, and do not rely on the facilitators to "make it nice". These questions reveal fears, and biases and also challenge deeply held assumptions about "the other". A young Arab Yemeni woman read Eli Weisel's "Night" (after sitting with a Holocaust survivor for months in her dialogue), and wondered why she had not been taught this Holocaust history. An Israeli Jewish man began to fear for his Palestinian Israeli neighbors and wondered if he would have to "hide" or protect Palestinians living in Israel as ideas like "separation" or "expulsion" were circulating. A Palestinian American social worker finds she has feelings of betrayal just being in dialogue, and realizes this is the only place in New York where she can sit with Jews/Israelis on an equal footing and speak about Palestine and Israel. An American Jewish woman finds she is questioning her place of privilege and the "conditions" she requires Palestinians to meet for her to think they are "reasonable". The facilitators are flexible and create exercises that keep the concept of "generous listening" in the circle. Personal friendships have developed and there is much more acceptance of each individual person for who she/he is. Dialogue Circle review: 1. Park Slope, Brooklyn Initiated May 2001 Palestinian American Muslims, Yemeni Muslim, Iranian, American Jew/Israeli, Interested others of different denominations. Stable energetic group. 2. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn - Initiated November 2001. Palestinian Christian, Muslim and Egyptian Muslim, Jewish American, Israeli. No interested others. Stable diverse group. 3. Mid Town Manhattan Initiated July 2002 This group evolved after we appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show on National Public Radio. It has always had difficulty in attracting Palestinian participants. One Israeli, One Palestinian American Christian, Interested Others. Outreach needed to young Manhattan Professionals (Jewish American, Palestinian American and others).4. Upper West Side Initiated March 2002. The group has core participants that include Palestinians (Muslim and Christian), American Jews/Israelis, and Holocaust Survivors. We have combined this group with the Mid-town circle. 5. Riverdale/Westchester - Initiated August 2003. Initially a progressive Rabbi called and asked if we would help establish a dialogue circle. The circle now draws a balanced group of Israelis, Palestinian Americans and American Jews. 6. Upper East Side Islamic Cultural Center, Manhattan. - Initiated April 2004 - This group is in constant flux. Muslim Americans and immigrants who worship at the
3mosque join for one dialogue or two. Members of the Upper West Side and Mid Town group (Jewish and interested others) also attend. The Manhattan Quakers at Irving Place have asked if they could join in partnership with us to attend these dialogues. We are re-forming this group for 2006. Future Plans - Adult dialoguers are suggesting it is time to move to a place where we can "look at the future together" and examine how we want to live.Creating More Circles: We plan to create circles in: Montclair, NJ and/or Patterson, NJ areas and Tarrytown, New York, seeded by current dialoguers who live in those areas. We are seeking funds to create a dialogue circle in Queens where there is a growing Palestinian community. Reconciliation trip to Israel and Palestine: The trust and affection that participants experience with each other has led to an expressed desire to meet the family members and visit the towns and villages where they have historical ties. The Board of Directors of The Dialogue Project has approved a Reconciliation Trip to bring a select group of 8 15 dialoguers to Israel and Palestine. The Board understands how delicate this project is because of the often-unclear status for Palestinian Americans who wish to return to their hometowns. We plan to meet with dialogue and conflict resolution practioners on the ground. We will visit homes left by Palestinian dialoguers in 1948 or 1967 and visit Israeli families of Jewish/Israeli dialoguers. We will collaborate with diverse groups in Israel and Palestine who utilize dialogue in many forms including: Givat Haviva, The Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, Sabeel, B'Tselem, Al Quds Unviersity; Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information, Neve Shalom/Wahat Al Salaam, Bereaved Parents Forum, Open House, New Israel Fund, One Voice, Physicians for Human Rights (Israel/Palestine). Marcia Kannry, President who has lived in Israel and traveled extensively in the West Bank and Gaza, and Paula Pace, Chair of the DP Board and lead facilitator, will travel to the area in 2006 to plan/arrange the program. SPEAKING ACROSS DIFFERENCES - Initiated July 2004. This pilot project's goal is to bring long time residents of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn into face to face contact with Arab (Muslim and Christian) new immigrants and citizens in the neighborhood. for dialogue and eventually develop community action projects. Since 9/11 tensions have arisen on an everyday basis, reflecting the uncertainty of today's world. This program creates a safe place where differences and commonalities are explored. In 2004 we formed a Planning Committee and began bi-weekly meetings to scope out the concerns long time residents and new Arab and Muslim immigrants had about each other in Bay Ridge. On March 7, 2005 a public kick off event was held at PS 102 in Bay Ridge. Over 120 people gathered to meet the "other". Playback Theatre and listening exercises were introduced (see article attached). Residents of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights joined the planning committee to learn how to develop this project in their neighborhoods.
4Partner organizations include: The Jewish Healing Center; Public School 102; The Arab American Association; Salaam Arabic Church; Good Shepard Lutheran Church; Bay Ridge Jewish Community Center; Our Lady of Angels R.C, Church, St. Andrews R.C, Church, Community Board 10 and the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge. Following the event, 85 people signed up for ongoing dialogue and community action programs. The effort now has a core group of about 30 people, which expands for group events and committee work. Getting to Know each other Identity dialogues - April 2005 July 2005 There were eight culture/getting to know each other dialogues. Participants established a warmth and ease that cut across social/economic divides in the neighborhood. Long time residents were curious and a little uneasy about their Muslim neighbors. This led to discussions about changes in the neighborhood over the past 40 years. The dialogues were held in various ethnic/faith-based institutions (mosques, synagogues and churches). Dialoguers were challenged to be in the "other's shoes" and learn how neighbors from a different background see "the other". Long time residents were challenged to explore privilege and power. For several conservative Muslim immigrants participants, coming into a circle of others and speaking about Islam on a personal level was a new and sometimes difficult experience. The planning committee addressed this issue and asked the larger dialogue circle to have a transparent conversation about this focus. Three Dialogue project Board Members (Thomas Cox, Debbie Almontaser, Father Khader El Yateem), were asked to take on special out reach responsibilities to the Arab and Muslim community. Over time people began to trust the dialogue process. For others in the program whose previous community work was directly related to their own ethnic/religious group, having a safe place to ask questions about another tradition was very important. Community Action Dialogues/Programs August 2005 December 2005. Another valuable lesson was the sharing of information regarding local community programs. Most residents are involved with their own community initiatives and not aware of the breadth of programs that exist in the neighborhood. Issues participants explored include: English as a Second Language professional and volunteer effortsHealth Care (mental health and child health initiatives)Library/Culture programs regarding Islam and the Arab worldNeighborhood Beautification - Business trash clean up, block clean up, tree planting, and recycling. Participants chose two action project areas: 1. English Language and Culture and 2. Neighborhood Beautification. Community Action Programs and Trainings January through September 2006. Participants are planning two action programs; Coffee and Conversation A volunteer effort that will bring new immigrants studying ESL into one half hour conversational practice with
5long time resident volunteers and Neighbor to Neighbor Block Outreach that will bring multi ethnic teams of neighbors to one specific block. Neighbors will survey residents about tree planting, recycling or general ideas about neighborhood cleanliness/quality of life issues. A small grant from Citizens for NYC will fund a participant created Newsletter. The newspaper will explain SPEAKING ACROSS DIFFERENCES and the purpose of neighbors working across ethnic/religious boundaries. Teams of dialoguers will distribute the newsletter throughout the neighborhood. Facilitator trainings will be offered for those participants interested in maintaining ongoing multi-ethnic dialogue in Bay Ridge. Special Events Interfaith, Campus and Organization Programs and Web SiteWe encourage people to call us and learn about how to develop a dialogue circle. This year we were invited to speak, model and facilitate dialogue with: New York University Gallatin Division Course on Different forms of Activism (Jan 05)The Workmen's Circle Yiddish Cultural Organization Special Shabbat Presentation (Feb. 05)Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus. (Jan Dec 05)** Queens College Dialogue Panel with Political Science Professor Ziva Flamhaftand dialoguers: Gon Kafri (Bereaved Parent's Forum), Salem Mikdadi, Yehuda Ehrlichman and Linda Sarsour (dialogue participants) (May 05).New York Chapter of Brit T'zedek V'Shalom Helped facilitate a dialogue with Adeeb Fadil, a Palestinian Christian, on the issue of right of return (June 05).Community Development: -Open house at the Bay Ridge Islamic Center for a "know your neighbor" event. Participants learned about Islamic culture and religion as well as meeting members of the community who are neighbors. -The Dialogue Project attended the IFTAR Ramadan Dinner in Brooklyn hosted by the Muslim American Society of New York with Columbia Professor of Middle East Studies, RashidKhalidi. -We also co-sponsored a city council Candidates Forum with the South-West Brooklyn Congregations Committee. (June Oct 05)Womens' Federation for World Peace. (Sept. 05)Annual Interfaith Study Session at Grace Church on Jerusalem, Justice and Rituals (Brooklyn) co sponsored with The Arab American Association of New York, Bay Ridge Jewish Center, Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Dawood Mosque, St. Andrews Church, R.C., Grace Church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Old First Reformed Church, Muslim American Society-NY Chapter, The Yemeni American Association, St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, The Islamic Cultural Center of New York (September 05)The Westchester Center for Christian, Muslim and Jewish Understanding The Dialogue Project co-sponsored the 2005 Andalusia Festival. We were featured at theIsraeli and Palestinian Artists Opening Reception, Rockefeller State Park Preserve (Nov. 05)
6All Soul's Unitarian Peace Task Force (Upper East Side Manhattan) Series of events focusing on Israel and Palestine, co-sponsored and/or facilitated with The Dialogue Project (Oct 05 through Jan 06)**Aelia Shusterman an Israeli international student, and Sherihan Khalil, anEgyptian American senior founded The Fordham University ReconciliationProject in January of 2005. The women were disturbed by the often polarizing discussions that took place on campus around the Middle East. They found The Dialogue Project web site and after consulting with Marcia Kannry, DP, President, chose to organize and self facilitate a campus dialogue. Marcia created a ½ day intensive facilitation training for students. The dialogues kicked off in April 2005 with two speakers from The Bereaved Parents Forum, a young Israeli and young Palestinian man, who had each lost a loved one to the conflict. Two listening dialogues were held. Encouraged by the response on campus, the students voted to continue the dialogues and raised $800 to bring in Dialogue Project facilitators for theFall 2005 semester. Issues examined include identity, Zionism and security. Web Site - Matthew DiGiusseppe a Master degree candidate in international relations at St. John's University is the DP Project Coordinator and Web Site manger. Matt overhauled our web site and added friendly text, photos and graphics. Improvements are made weekly and we are devising a questionnaire for web site visitors to further expand what we offer on line. In 2006 we hope to offer the The Facilitator Guidebook on line and more links with partner organizations in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.Funding Sources -Independence Community Bank Foundation for the planning and initial implementation of SPEAKING ACROSS DIFFERENCES. The Mazer Family Foundation has provided basic operating support for Sustainable Middle East dialogues and Interfaith Learning Programs throughout 2005. New York Community Trust, New Citizens Fund has allocated funds towards facilitating interaction among Arab and Muslim new immigrants and long time residents throughout New York. Citizens for NYC provided small seed money grants for Newsletters, and the Interfaith Event. Individual donors, in kind contributions and small private foundations provide the bulk of our funding.You may request a copy of The Dialogue Project IRS form 990 by calling us at 718-768-2175 or in writing to The Dialogue Project, 123 Seventh Avenue, Box 234, Brooklyn, NY 11215.