Lesson Plan: Exploring Perspectives on Imagery of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad

An artistic rendition of the name of the Prophet Muhammad. Source.

This lesson plan is designed to help guide classroom reflection and discussion on Muslim and academic perspectives on artistic depictions of the Prophet Muhammad and related issues such as Islamophobia and freedom of speech that usually arise from the discussion.

Published: January 10, 2023

Subjects: World History, Social Studies, Religion, Art

Grades: 6-12

About this Lesson Plan:

The lesson plan begins with a reading about an image of the Prophet Muhammad that was recently shown in a global art class at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. The adjunct professor, Dr. Erika López Prater, gave advance notice that the painting was going to be displayed and offered to excuse students who did not wish to view the image. Following the class session, a Muslim student in the class and other Muslim students on campus issued a complaint. University administrators characterized the incident as Islamophobic and did not renew López Prater’s teaching contract. This controversial incident has led to a number of responses from art historians and Muslim Americans, who do not have a single view on artistic depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. The reading is followed by a series of questions for classroom discussion on Muslim perspectives on the issue, perspectives in other faiths, Islamophobia, and freedom of speech, as well as additional readings and resources. 

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