Last week, Teaching Tolerance ran a post from an assistant principal in Illinois. Lamenting the recent spate of anti-Islamic incidents and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric, she wrote:
I immediately wondered how to tackle this head-on as an educator. What would I say to my teachers about how to approach the subject in our history classes? How could I be a participant in a difficult conversation in which some of our Muslim students are directly affected?
In that short paragraph, she neatly summed up two excellent reasons to teach about Islam, one academic and one related to the welfare of her students.
But not everyone felt the same way. Comments revealed just how radioactive the subject of religion in general, and Islam in particular, has become. A fellow teacher asked if our blogger felt like she was “walking a minefield.” Others asserted that this was not a topic for classrooms.
Not only is it a classroom topic, it’s one that must be addressed now, and urgently, as the nation pauses to remember the 9/11 attacks.