Getting To Know American Muslims and their Faith

Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith

INTRODUCTION

This curriculum was designed to supplement content standards in social studies and world history as it relates to the study of world religions and their contributions to civilization. The curriculum is composed of five individual lesson plans, each of which focuses on a different section of the digital presentation, Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith. Every lesson includes detailed notes that describe each slide in the presentation. In addition to the notes, each lesson features post-presentation analysis, comprehension and discussion questions. The curriculum also includes links or references to dozens of films or film clips on topics related to the presentation, accompanied by follow-up questions about each film. Each lesson concludes with a listing of additional resources and references, including both books and websites.

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LESSON ONE: TERMINOLOGY & DEMOGRAPHICS

This lesson introduces basic terminology, including the most commonly used Muslim greeting and the meanings of the words “Muslim” and “Islam.” It also covers key demographics of Muslims throughout the world, including the total global population, and major regions where Muslims live. The lesson concludes with a discussion of the great diversity among Muslims, including country of origin, ethnicity, culture, education and language.

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LESSON TWO: AMERICAN MUSLIMS

This lesson examines three interconnected topics. First, it provides basic demographics about the diverse Muslim population in the United States. Second, it looks at the long history of Muslims in the United States and describes the stories of some early American Muslims. The lesson concludes with examples of notable American Muslims today, including politicians, pundits, comedians, athletes, and faith leaders.

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LESSON THREE: BELIEFS AND PRACTICES

This lesson provides an overview of the six major Islamic beliefs which mirror many beliefs in the other Abrahamic faiths. It then examines the five major practices, commonly known as the Five Pillars, many of which are also practiced in other faiths. The lesson also describes the two major Muslim holidays, which are connected to two of the pillars. It concludes with the third dimension of Islam--developing good character--which is the goal of both beliefs and practices.

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LESSON FOUR: ADDRESSING COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

This lesson focuses on common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, including Islam’s unequivocal prohibition against terrorism, and teachings relating to gender equity. The lesson also highlights universal religious ideals, such as the sanctity of human life, respect for human dignity, universal brotherhood, unbiased justice, mercy, and peaceful coexistence.

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LESSON FIVE: COMMONALITIES WITH OTHER FAITHS

This lesson begins with a look at Islam’s teachings about religious pluralism. It then describes some of the shared beliefs and practices between Islam and the other Abrahamic faiths, as well as practices and values shared by multiple faiths. Many of the films featured in this lesson also highlight the many commonalities shared between faiths, as well as the importance of faith groups working together for the common good.

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