Part 3: Beliefs and teachings of Islam and connections to be made with students & families.
With the two prior parts setting the stage for identifying the diversity of Muslims in America and the need for educators to approach further understandings, both general and specific, as to how religion interacts with the daily lives of Muslims (as oppose to the political and media-driven narrative of Islam that is all too frequently given in the societal collective conscious) the seminar transitions to learning about the beliefs of Islam and how they interact with practical matters relating to students and families in a school setting. The overarching aim of part 3 is to build empathy in educators for the struggle and capitulation that Muslim families go through in raising children in the West. At the same time concrete knowledge is provided to guide educators towards a practical how to in avoiding giving offense to religious sensibilities (unintentionally) while in turn leveraging knowledge of cultural background as a resources for increased academic engagement and social-emotional success.
While cultures and individuals are certainly idiosyncratic in their views of Islam, there is nevertheless basic tenets, practices, and perspectives of life that comprise the essence of Islam that are universal to virtually all Muslim cultures and serve as a great unifying force amongst them; as well as a foundation upon which more individualized understandings of Muslims can be ascertained. In this part educators are taken through the beliefs, practices, and perspectives that are at the core of Islamic belief, life, and intellect; and given a view of both its shared and divergent features with historical and modern worldview in Western culture and shown how these phenomena directly relate to school settings.