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Teaching about Islam and the Arab World

This an archived page with some links invalid. The updated version is at Resources for Understanding Islam and the Arab World

   The Middle East Institute's mission has been to increase knowledge of the Middle East among the citizens of the United States and to promote a better understanding between the people of these two area. In support of this mission, MEI offers program activities, language courses, scholars-in-residence and an academic journal. With these resources, MEI can provide members, the media and policymakers in-depth analysis of breaking events as well as an expert perspective on their genesis. 

   AWAIR (Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services) provides quality materials and services for educators who wish to teach about the Arab World and Islam from elementary to the pre-college level. Recognizing that no work is of greater importance than the preparation of our young people for their roles as thoughtful and informed citizens of the twenty-first century, and recognizing too that U.S. involvement with the Arab World and with the wider world of Islam is certain to remain close for many years, AWAIR's goal is to increase awareness and understanding of this world region and this world faith through educational outreach at the pre-collegiate level. 

At the same time, recognizing that equipping students at all levels to function and contribute within our own diverse society presents a challenge to democracy, AWAIR seeks to increase the larger society's understanding of Arab Americans and of American Muslims as contributors to this society and as citizens with their own unique roles to play as part of a pluralistic America. In this regard, AWAIR shares with critical pedagogists the goal of encouraging voices of students and adults to be nurtured and heard.

star   The Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies (CERIS) is a collaboration of academic, non-profit, and religious organizations in the tri-state area ( Ohio , Pennsylvania , and West Virginia .) CERIS facilitates program development and disseminates information on Islamic Studies to students, faculty, and the larger communities we serve. Islamic Studies encompasses many languages, literatures, and disciplines, and extends from the seventh century to the present and across broad geographical areas of the world. Teaching About Islam and Muslims in the Public School Classroom: A Handbook for Educators (1995), by the Council on Islamic Education, presents beliefs and practices of Muslims (8 p.)

   The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University directs the nation's only Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program. Our rigorous Arabic language training and multidisciplinary approach draw on the expertise of an academically diverse faculty. CCAS also hosts a rich calendar of public events, a Title VI-supported outreach program for K-14 educators, and a growing multimedia and publications programLinks for the Arab World and the Middle East are very good.

   Helping American audiences learn about Middle Eastern and North African culture and society is an important aspect of AMIDEAST’s mission. AMIDEAST is an especially valuable resource for American teachers and librarians in grades K–12 who seek quality educational materials about the region for use with their students.

   Detroit Free Press 100 Questions and Answers about Arab-American: A Journalists Guide Like all people, Arab Americans are too often described in simplistic terms. Although the Arab culture is one of the oldest on Earth, it is, in many parts of the United States, misunderstood. There are no easy, one-size-fits-all answers. Culture, language and religion are distinct qualities that act in different ways to connect Arabs, and to distinguish them from one another. The differences that seem to separate Arab Americans from non-Arabs can be much smaller than the variations that at times differentiate them from one another. It takes time to learn the issues and to understand them, but it is essential and rewarding for us to do that. Misunderstanding ultimately hurts each one of us.

   Council on American-Islamic Relations: a "watchdog" group, devoted to protecting rights of Muslims and countering anti-Islamic prejudices

   US Department of State International Information Services Islam in the United States

   (Re)embracing Diversity in NYC Schools: Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity The curriculum (Re)embracing Diversity combines a wealth of information about Islam and Muslims with interactive classroom activities that foster the critical importance of tolerance and respect for ethnic and religious diversity. For the convenience of teachers, the curriculum is downloadable either in its entirety or as individual lesson plans depending on students' needs or interests. Also, most lessons include one or more handouts, but these must be downloaded separately from the instructor's guide. Lou Cristillo, Project Coordinator is a Morocco RPCV Ouarzazate 78-81.

   National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education  (NITLE) is pleased to announce the publication of an extensive on-line curricular resource on the Arab world called “Arab Culture and Civilization”. This site was conceived in the days following last September 11, as the liberal arts colleges in NITLE's network struggled to help their students and faculty make sense of and respond constructively to the tragedy.  The web site offers “Special thanks to Michael Toler for his excellent, diligent work in developing content for this site over the past year. His organization of diverse materials, scholars, disciplines, and areas has been both indispensable and exemplary.”.  Michael Toler is a Morocco RPCV serving 90-94 in El Jadida and Tangier

   Dar al Islam is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New Mexico. We strongly identify ourselves with mainstream Islam (ahli sunna wa'l jama'at). Our goal is to help the non-Muslims of North America understand about Islam, and to serve as a catalyst in deepening the practice of Islam among the Muslims of America. is a principal online destination for people interested in dismantling bigotry and creating, in hate's stead, communities that value diversity. If you want to know how to transform yourself, your home, your school, your workplace or your community, is a place to start — and continue — the journey. Through its online well of resources and ideas, its expanding collection of print materials and its burgeoning outreach efforts, promotes and supports anti-bias activism in every venue of American life. Winner of the Webby Award for Activism and Electronic Multimedia Awards for both Education and Public Service.

   AL-HEWAR ONLINE Arabs and Islam collection of additional links

   Bridges Between Cultures:  A video by Dan Cahill

Dan Cahill (Kenitra 68-70) filmed video during the Moroccan-American Friendship Tour in November 2001. It includes interviews and reflections of the RPCVs and RPCV family members who were on the tour as well as Moroccans encountered. Dan is a filmmaker and does video production at New York University.

The Friends of Morocco Moroccan-American Friendship Tour of November 2001 had several goals.  In the Aftermath of the terrorist attack of September 11 and the US reaction, tourism worldwide plummeted including American tourism to Morocco.  It is sill down 50% from historical levels. The tour was an opportunity for FOM members to get to Morocco to remind people that Morocco is a friend of America and the diversity of the Arab world and Islam, to help re-start the tourism economy, to return to their work sites and to bring that message back home to the U.S.

   The web is a great source of information—although it can be overwhelming. A few suggested sites:

Islamic Studies:  Islam, Arabic, and Religion.  This Islamic Studies website covers the areas of Islam, Arabic, and Religion (focusing on Western religions). It is particularly intended to be of use for students and teachers at all levels, as well for members of the general public who wish to get a non-polemical view of Islam (including Sunni Islam, Shi'ism, and Sufism) and to a lesser extent of Judaism and Christianity. an Internet home for theologically motivated Western converts to Islam and a source of information for non-Muslims seeking a knowledge and understanding of Islam. an excellent introduction as well as contemporary issues related to Islam in North America. (Arabia Online) presents the history, religion, stories and food, plus an online quiz. It also takes a look at some traditions of fasting in Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Dubai, Jordan, and Britain

• The US State Department, meeting its responsibility to reflect all stripes of the American people to overseas audiences, has an excellent site on Muslim life in America. For the English site, go to   For Arabic, click on The French version is available at based in the UK contains lots of (European) links.

Islam Web, a site, under Qatar Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, was created to enrich our reader’s information about Islam. We aim at giving the Muslim reader an adequate knowledge about Islam and giving the non- Muslims reader an authentic idea about a religion which is distorted by the propaganda of its enemies and the misrepresentation of many of its followers. This site is . It adopts a balanced and moderate approach and avoids bias and extremism. We see Islam, as it is, a whole way of life and a dynamic religion that can solve all the problems of humanity.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee 
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is a civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage.” Sources of information on discrimination against Arab-Americans is available on this website.

The Islamic Training Foundation is a nonprofit organization of Muslim management professionals dedicated to tarbiyyah.

Based initially on Global Teach Net:   Global Education Network News   November-December, 1998
Publication of the National Peace Corps Association & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

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