October 14, 2011 – Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion

National Event Celebrates Diversity and Inclusion

More than 160,000 students miss school every day due to fears of being bullied. This and other startling facts are the reasons why October is National Anti-Bullying Month. To help, two million students will participate on October 18 in the national Mix It Up at Lunch Day, an initiative launched in 2001 seeking to increase acceptance for diversity.

At lunch, students are encouraged to sit and interact with people they usually do not socialize with, helping the diversity cause. Peer tutors, student body representatives, members of campus groups, along with other campus leaders, are frequently given control of this project locally, taking the initiative to introduce themselves to their peers.

Each school can implement the project differently. For example, at Temecula Valley School in San Diego, every student is given a name tag and can volunteer to participate in the exercise. They are encouraged to write down the name, the birthday and something interesting about each person they meet. With October as the national month for anti-bullying efforts, days like Mix It Up at Lunch Day remain essential in promoting acceptance of others and social inclusion.

To learn more about implementing this program at your school, go here.

Social Studies and World History Teachers:
Counter Rising Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism with Live
Speakers from ING Representing Diverse Backgrounds

Since 2009, various indicators have shown a dramatic increase in prejudice, particularly with respect to bigotry directed against religious minorities. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that, overall, anti-minority hate groups increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% increase. This follows a 2008-2009 increase of 40%. In this climate, signs of both anti-Semitism and especially Islamophobia have increased.

The Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents recorded 1,239 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States in 2010, which represents a 2.3% increase over 2009. According to the Audit, “Although no single factor explains this slight increase, it occurs within the context of the continued expansion of online anti-Semitism and hate.”

Anti-Muslim prejudice has risen even more dramatically. A range of indicators shows that Islamophobia is at its highest level since the immediate shock of 9-11. According to some measures, it has even become worse. According to Washington Post/ABC polling data, American public opinion from 2002 to 2010 reversed from being generally favorable to generally unfavorable towards Muslims.

According to data compiled by the ACLU, from January 2010 to June 2011 the rate of hate crimes and discriminatory incidents at American mosques increased by over 400% compared to the previous period of 2006-2009 (-4 incidents per month vs. 1.5 per month). At the political level, at least 23 states have passed, or are considering passing, “shariah ban” laws, which could restrict ordinary religious practice.

Additional recent polls and statistics also indicate that Islamophobia (the spread of inaccurate information about Muslims) is on the rise:

Twenty-three states have or are currently contemplating implementing laws banning Sharia (Islamic rules which regulate Muslim worship and practices)

Favorable ratings of Islam dropped from 40% of Americans in November 2001 to 30% in August 2010, with 45% of Americans believing that Islam is at odds with American values.

66% of Americans believe that Muslims are not accepting of other religions.

A Time magazine poll released in August 2010 found that 28% of voters do not believe Muslims to be eligible to sit on the Supreme Court, and nearly 1/3 believe that Muslims should be barred from the Presidency.

How to Book a Speaker for Free:
Islamic Speakers Bureau and Interfaith Speakers Bureau

Supplementing Social Studies and World History content standards in grades 7-12, Muslim speakers from the Islamic Speakers Bureau and the Interfaith Speakers Bureau provide presentations about Muslims and their faith and about the four other major world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism.

Teachers: Grades 7-12

As a middle or high school teacher, the academic study of world religions remains essential to any social science curriculum. Offering twelve different presentations designed to fulfill the curricular requirements of California school teachers grades 7-12, ING makes available a wide spectrum of knowledge.

For example, the Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith presentation highlights Muslim practices, beliefs, and analyzes issues such as moderation, women’s rights, and Islam’s relations to other faiths such as Judaism and Christianity.

Interfaith panels, including the faiths of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, cover issues from separation of church and state to the role of environmental issues in each faith.  Not only do ING presentations increase knowledge, but schools that host ING presentations report higher than average CST scores for History-Social Science.

Schedule a speaker on Islam or an interfaith panel today!

Teachers: Higher Education

Having presented in 56% of higher education institutions in the Bay Area, ING offers a wide variety of presentations on Islam and interfaith topics. Designed to supplement education in History and Social Sciences, Religious Studies, Humanities and Global Studies, and Education Studies, ING presentations offer the best in education about five major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism.

Presentation topics include Islamic Contributions to Civilization, a presentation that covers aspects of culture and knowledge that originated in Muslim cultures. Living the Faith highlights how members of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam live out their faiths as students, parents, professionals, etc. in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can read about what students, teachers, and professional audiences have said about ING’s educational presentations here.

Schedule a speaker on Islam or an interfaith panel today!