Freedom From Discrimination

Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, practiced by almost 2 billion people, yet it remains a mystery to many Americans. Though Islam preaches love and harmony, people who practice this faith face an incredible amount of bigotry. Due to rising fear and suspicion of Muslim Americans, hate crimes and discrimination against Muslims have risen dramatically since the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Our lesson “Freedom From Discrimination” aims to provide a point of entry into an extremely broad topic rife with misconception and misinformation. It does not aim to cover the full study of a group of people and a major world religion. The lesson seeks to break down stereotypes about people who are Muslim and increase understanding of Muslim-majority countries, increase understanding and knowledge of Islam, and examine the similarities and differences between other ethnic or religious groups and Muslims. We highlight five STTP Defenders who have dedicated their lives to fighting Islamophobia and help bring light to the issue in the United States. We follow each Defender’s journey through their human rights work, while increasing learners’ understanding and knowledge of the religion itself.

Dalilah Muhammad is a star on the track and in the field. Muhammad’s not only an Olympic gold medalist and mentor to young athletes, she’s also a champion for the rights of Muslims.

Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian Muslim American who was born and raised a New Yorker. Seasoned community organizer and racial justice activist, she’s proudly known for being, as she puts it, “every Islamophobe’s worst nightmare.”

Keith Ellison is the attorney general of Minnesota and a devoted public servant since 2002. The first Muslim elected to statewide office in Minnesota, Ellison is guided by the principles of generosity and inclusion.

Dalia Mogahed is an author who amplifies the voice of Muslim Americans, while slaying the stereotypes that plague the Muslim world.

Dean Obeidallah is a lawyer turned writer and an award-winning comedian. Standing up for peace in the Middle East, he uses his platform and humor to counter misconceptions about Muslims, across the country and across boundaries.

Because all the activities involve independent or group research that can be done online, this lesson plan fits into either virtual or in-person classrooms, with opportunities for discussion and collaboration on Zoom or with classmates. Teachers can find additional resources on the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) website and learn more about the intersections between anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of bigotry.