• Religions of the Middle East

    Learn about the basic beliefs and practices of Islam and other monotheistic faith-traditions

Pictured above: interior of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally a Greek Orthodox cathedral and then an Ottoman imperial mosque, today it is a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi)

Guidelines for Teaching about Religion in K-12 Public Schools (2010) - Published by the American Academy of Religion, this document recommends guidelines for K-12 educators to follow when teaching about religion in the public school classroom. Part One addresses why it is important to teach about religion; Part Two outlines ways to teach about religion in constitutionally sound ways; Part Three is an overview of approaches to teaching about religion and includes grade-specific examples based on both the Standards for Social Studies (produced by the National Council for the Social Studies) and Standards for the English Language Arts (produced by the National Council for Teachers of English). We encourage all public school educators who teach about world religions to review this document.

Islam

It is a common assumption that religion, and specifically Islam, is the singular and most powerful force shaping the societies of North Africa, and West, Central, and South Asia. While we should not underestimate the signfiance of Islam in these societies as both a religious and cultural orientation, it is critical for educators to situate Islam in a larger social and historical context. Islam is one facet of an individual's or community's life, history, and legacy, and not necessarily the most important one. As is the case with Christianity or Judaism, one's identity as a Muslim exists in an ongoing dialgoue with one's race or ethnicity, social class, gender, nationality, and political principles.

The following resources provide educators with accurate information about basic beliefs, doctrines, branches, sects, and schools of religious thought within Islam. The information about Islam made available here is similar to the type of information one would expect to find in introductory texts on Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism.