SAN RAFAEL, Calif., May 31 -- A unique program designed to teach Bay Area K-12 educators how to foster a classroom environment that is accepting and understanding of Muslim students and Islamic culture is being offered this summer at Dominican University of California. "Today classrooms are increasingly populated with students of Islamic origins, but many teachers are unprepared to help non-Muslim students understand Islamic culture or to help Muslim-Americans feel accepted and included in our culture," says Arthur Kane Scott, assistant professor of history, social & cultural studies at Dominican. "By helping teachers become better informed about Islam and Muslims, we will enable them to better deal with diversity and controversial issues in the classroom." About 250,000 Muslims live in the Bay Area, yet many Americans do not understand Islam, Muslims, the complexity of their culture, what their heritage means to them, or even their history, says Scott.
"Terrorist threats from half a world away have the potential to prejudice us all against the peaceful Muslims among us. Hate crimes against Muslims in the United States continue to increase, and yet there is a lack of teacher training post 9/11." Many teachers, he adds, may not even be aware that they have Muslim students in their classroom. "A common misconception is that Muslims exist just in the Middle East, but Muslims also live in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Senegal, Tanzania, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States, where Islam is the fastest-growing religion." (MORE)