8 Ways to Support Muslim Students

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.

2. Check out this collection of classroom resources from the University of Edinburgh and take a look at these curricular resources from the Islamic Networks Group.

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:

6. The following are not specific to Muslim students, but are certainly timely and useful:

7. Make sure you and your students know your rights.

8. And remember that even small acts can provide affirmation and hope or the opportunity to stop and consider our feelings and beliefs about Muslims and Islam.