The Gulf States: Cosmopolitan Crossroads

LESSON PLANS

A) The Basics of Islam
B) Society and Culture

ISLAM TEXTBOOK

There is plenty of false information about Islam on the internet.  For many reasons, you must be careful of what you read – pay close attention to your sources and always ask yourself, “How does this piece of information fit with what I already know?”  

Here’s an honest attempt to accurately convey the most basic beliefs and practices of Islam in a form suitable for use in the classroom or for anyone who is just curious about a topic relevant in a rapidly globalizing world.  Please read the following in the spirit with which it was written – with good intentions toward greater understanding and tolerance.

  • Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): Who was Muhammad, and how did the Arab world of the seventh century shape his teachings?  
  • Five Pillars to Hold Me Up: What Do Muslims Believe? (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): What are the basic teachings of Islam, and what does it mean to be a Muslim?

ISLAM SOCIETY TEXTBOOK

  • The Dubai Mall, Sharia Law, and Social Norms: No Short-Shorts, No PDA (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): How and why do social norms and laws in Muslim majority countries differ from those in countries like the United States?  Would students still want to visit greatest mall in the world if it meant following a different set of rules than they’re used to?
  • United Arab Emirates Case Study: How would you diversify your single resource economy? (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities):  It is risky for a nation’s economy to be overly dependent on any one business, especially a single raw commodity, like oil.  Such commodities are subject to sudden fluctuations in price.  While world demand for oil is high, and while a nation’s reserves last, that nation might be very wealthy.  But what would happen to that economy if oil prices fell?
  • TEACH in Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, Travel Writing:  In November 2016, Openendedsocialstudies.org founder Thomas Kenning participated in the prestigious TEACH Fellowship in Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.  Educational in their own right, his blog posts offer plenty of history, culture, and photos woven into a first person narrative, which attempts to present honestly and conversationally one traveler’s experience while conducting research abroad.
  • A Guided Tour of the Gulf States is a curated photo essay for use in middle and high school social studies classrooms.  The essay offers a brief, completely non-comprehensive overview of historical and cultural sites in Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE circa 2016 and is meant to present these topics in an unconventional way – that is, as if the student were travelling through, wandering, and exploring the Middle East on their own.  Sweat in the streets of Manama and Doha, ride to the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, witness the grandeur of Islamic architecture at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque before spending the evening dune bashing with high paying tourists in the sands of Abu Dhabi.

THIS UNIT WAS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH A GENEROUS GRANT FROM THE BILATERAL US-ARAB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

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