(Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Flickr.com)

In a Time of Islamophobia, Teach With Complexity

When teaching about the Middle East and North Africa, U.S. teachers are often confronted with a dearth of accurate and nuanced material about the history, politics and people of the region. This crisis of critical awareness mainly materializes through two recurring narratives that circulate in mainstream media, political discourse and popular culture: “Islam as anti-Western” and conflict fueled by “ancient hatreds.” These narratives work in tandem to produce a one-dimensional conception of the MENA, which, in turn, fuels the rising Islamophobia in U.S. schools and society.