Anti-Muslim sentiment and hate crimes have reached an all-time high. The recent executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations bears a frightening parallel to the Chinese Exclusion Act and calls us to never forget the glaring injustice of Japanese American internment during WWII. This Islamophobia is not new, though how brazen people feel in explicitly embracing Islamophobic attitudes and policies does feel different. Muslims across racial lines are sharing their stories, speaking to how they are experiencing this current moment at the intersections of their identities, and calling us all to take action.
And our Muslim students have been and continue to feel the impact. Our attentiveness to school climate is of the utmost importance now and always. We need to pay attention to the messages we are sending all of our students and ensure that our Muslim students are respected, supported, and heard. Below are resources and suggestions for teachers to leverage now:
1. Work to debunk stereotypes about Muslims and Islam with a lesson from Teaching Tolerance, a Scholastic Junior article, “Do We Look Like Terrorists to You?”, or by talking through this student-friendly article on misconceptions about Islam.
3. Listen and watch recorded webinars on Supporting Muslim Students (for parents) and Teaching about Islam.
4. Check out this comprehensive list of resources and community organizations working to end the bullying and harassment of Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian students.
5. Get involved in national and local organizations advocating for Muslims. For example:
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Muslim Advocates
- Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
- Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN)
- Mpower Change
6. The following are not specific to Muslim students, but are certainly timely and useful:
- Facing History and Ourselves offers 3 Ways to Address the Latest News on Immigration With Your Students.
- Teaching Tolerance has put together “Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff”and an article on what to say to students about immigration orders.
- Resources in multiple languages around putting an end to bullying and tools from The American Federation of Teachers around bullying prevention.
7. Make sure you and your students know your rights.