Ben-Porath: Teachers have a role in responding to anti-Muslim rhetoric

December 16, 2015

Sigal Ben-Porath, Penn GSE
Dr. Sigal Ben-Porath

Since 9/11, Muslims American students have faced violence, hate speech, and microagressions. As anti-Muslim rhetoric has flooded into political dialogue this campaign season, these incidents have increased in and out of schools. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Penn GSE’s Sigal Ben-Porath and Thea Renda Abu El-Haj, from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, say schools have a responsibility to respond to this anti-Muslim climate with an inclusive program of civics education.  

Ben-Porath and Abu El-Haj, a Penn GSE graduate, offer three practical steps for educators in response to anti-Muslim sentiment and actions. These include suggestions for thoughtfully teaching about Muslim communities and Muslim-majority countries, carefully addressing Muslim communities here in the United States and abroad, and educating against anti-Muslim prejudice.

“Teachers face the important and delicate task of introducing all their students, of all races, nationalities, ethnicities and faith traditions to the possibilities and perils of open political discourse,” Ben-Porath and Abu El-Haj write. “We hope that teachers do not shy away from this call to strengthen our democratic public sphere.”

Read their full piece here.


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