From Religious Literacy to Social Action: How I Discuss the Global Refugee Crisis Within Our Classes

Every semester I take my students to Erie,PA to visit a mosque in order to help them connect many of the themes that we discuss in my Islamic studies classes and makes the course material more relevant.  Over the last two years, however, I having learned that the local Muslim community in Erie is primarily refugee, coming from either Iraq, Somalia or Bosnia, I have redesigned the purpose of the visit.  Since Erie is one of the few US relocation centers, it is expected to host a good number of the 10,000 Syrian refugees that will be accepted to the United States this upcoming year.  With the help of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) curriculum development grant, I was able to transform my religious site visit to one that touched upon refugees, an issue that is relevant in our political discourse and on the minds of many our students.  My goal is to use the challenge of refugee resettlement as a living case study to teach interreligious engagement and democratic participation.  I do not want my students simply to learn about religious difference but rather be able to interact with people of different faiths for the purpose of contributing to the social good.

Read more of my recent blog post for Great lakes colleges association/Global Liberal Arts Alliance Consortium for Teaching and Learning 

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