Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Taking It Home: Islam 2: Contemporary Issues

Islam in its original state gave women privileges and imposed no harsh restrictions or double standards upon them. — Saimah Ashraf, Muslim author, in her essay "Shattering Illusions: Western Conceptions of Muslim Women"

Women are active fighting for their rights in all public spheres, including as workers, in many societies, but again the culture of religious patriarchy is so dominant that we are still not free individuals in our own right. — Houzan Mahmoud, Iraqi activist

In today's workshop... we continued our exploration of Islam, examining contemporary issues: the status of women, the division between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, the challenge of peace in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the modern appearance of terrorism as an expression of Muslim extremists. The story in this workshop was about Khadijah, the first wife of Muhammad.

Reflection Questions

  • Khadijah supported Muhammad on his spiritual journey. Do you have someone who supports you on your spiritual journey?

Explore the Topics with Family and Friends

  • Read The Complete Persepolis, an autobiographical book by Marjane Satrapi (New York: Pantheon, 2007) for one young woman's experiences under Iran’s Islamic government. You can watch the award-winning animated movie, Persepolis, (2007, PG-13); find the trailer on YouTube.
  • The story of Malala Yousafz i, the Pakistani woman who was a girls’ education activist since age 11 and is the youngest person to even win a Nobel Prize, will interest many. Check out her website.
  • Online, Mideast Tunes features alternative music tracks from the Middle East and North Africa. The website introduces many new musicians who are trying to change the world with their music. With some songs in Arabic, some in English, and some in other languages, the genres include classical, hip-hop, punk, and traditional. Even if you do not understand the lyrics, you can enjoy the music.
  • A young adult novel about a youth who decides to wear the hijab is Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah.
  • An interesting book is The Trouble with Islam Today by Irshad Manji, (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2005). The author is a lesbian South Asian who embraces an Islamic faith while interrogating the challenges of modern Islam.