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Learning about Islam and Organizing to Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry

UUA and Beacon Press Resources

For Children and Multigenerational Groups

  • Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer, a book by Sarah Conover. Discussion and Reflection Guide by Pat Kahn. Multigenerational workshops and religious education classes can use the book and discussion guide to explore the real Muhammad, discuss Islam today, stereotypes, and interfaith relationships.

  • Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents, collected and adapted by Sarah Conover and Freda Crane. Stories drawing on the core of Islamic spirituality and ethics, the Qur’an, and folklore could be used in religious education classes, workshops, and multigenerational worship.

  • Muhammad, a session from Creating Home (Tapestry of Faith). Intended for Kindergarten and Grade 1, but could be used with a wider age range of children. Workshop introduces Muhammad, and can be used with children in RE classes or as a basis for a children’s chapel service. Included stories might be used in Time for All Ages.

For Youth and for Youth/Adult Groups

  • Islam 1: Peace by Surrender and Islam 2: Contemporary Issues, two workshops from Building Bridges: A World Religions Program (Tapestry of Faith). Intended for youth in grades 8 and 9 but suitable for a wider age-range and for youth/adult programming. Workshops invite exploration of the Islamic religious tradition and of contemporary issues facing Muslims.  Includes plans for basic 1-hour workshops and lots of extra activities.

  • Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, by Eboo Patel, and Discussion Guide.  Eboo Patel’s background as an interfaith leader, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core,  is well-known and perfect for UUA congregations. This book has excerpts about his family in India as well as his real concern at why fundamentalism reaches so many young people.

For Adults

Blog Posts

Books

  • Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance by Linda K. Wertheimer. Advocates for teaching about all faiths and teaching people not to fear unfamiliar religious practices. The book provides anecdotes of times when the attempt to educate about Islam caused uproar, with parents claiming the school and teacher were attempting to convert their children. The author, who is not a Muslim, reports on her meetings with educators, religious leaders, and Muslim families after such incidents.

  • Children of the Same God: The Historical Relationship between Unitarianism, Judaism, and Islam, by Susan J. Ritchie. Discussion Guide, by Gail Forsyth-Vail. Participants in workshops and groups can use the book and discussion guide to explore their own UU identity and their place in the interfaith dialogue.

  • Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America by Eboo Patel. Explores ideas of religious freedom and pluralism in American History and examines anti-Muslim rhetoric in political and public discourse.

  • Sons of Abraham by Rabbi Marc Schneier, Imam Shamsi Ali. Two men who grew up in very conservative/orthodox Muslim and Jewish backgrounds discuss their faiths openly and candidly. Congregations can use this in discussing the themes of not only tolerance and mutual respect but also open communication. Foreword by Bill Clinton.

  • Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak Out by Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur. Collected voices of Muslim women across the country. Openly discusses ideas and stereotypes many have concerning the hijab, marriage, sexuality, etc.

  • Salaam Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy edited by Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi. This is a great resource for understanding intimate relationships within Islam and moving beyond stereotypes.

  • The Place of Tolerance in Islam by Khaled Abou El Fadl. A more scholarly text, demonstrating how Islam is a much more tolerant and peaceful religion than people who are not Muslim believe. This book brings together many voices and critics of Islamic fundamentalism.

  • The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan by Rafia Zakaria. This book addresses the dangers of stereotyping an entire country, pushing back against media stereotypes and generalizations about Pakistan. It tells parallel stories of the modern history of a country and the story of a family.

  • Light Without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College, by Scott Korb. In a U.S. culture where the idea of “sharia law” evokes outrage and generalizations about madrassas abound, this book tells a story that illuminates how Islamic education is being re-visioned in the pluralistic United States.

  • Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed. Confronts stereotypes surrounding the hijab and arranged marriages in Islam through personal story which is touching, funny, and genuine.