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A guide for teachers: an anti-racism approach to deal with the terrorist attacks in the US

It is not just the safety of our children in public schools which is important but also the whole issue of how teachers are dealing with the topic which should be our concern. Please either send this url to your child's teacher with your letter or provide a print out as well.

Introduction for Teachers:

As an educator you are an important role model for helping children learn to deal with and make sense of the tragic events of this week. These recent events will become the defining moments in the lives of many children. We hope the following suggestion will help you promote a healthy dialogue of understanding with your students that will dispel the myths related to Islam and Muslims.

Islam and Peace:

Literally the word Islam in the Arabic language means "peace".

These recent terrorist attacks should not be associated with Islam or Muslims as Islamic doctrine clearly forbids crimes against humanity and the killing of innocent civilians.

The term "jihad" is often misunderstood and actually refers primarily to an inner struggle for goodness. Some important quotes from the Prophet Muhammed that speak to the true Islamic perspective on peace and justice are as follows:

Self-control/discipline:

"One is not strong or powerful who throws people down, but one is strong when one withholds oneself from anger."

Peace:

"Make peace between one another for enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots."

Respect:

"Do not say, that if people do good to us we will do good to them; and if people oppress us we will oppress them; but determine that if people do you good, you will do good to them; and if people oppress you, you will not oppress them."

Promoting a Healthy Dialogue:

Reinforce the concept that there are good and bad people in every country and every society and that the recent terrorist attacks should not be seen to reflect on an entire group of people.

Reduce the unwarranted fear of "foreigners" as the enemies and reinforce the fact the people from Arab and Muslim countries are peaceful citizens within the US and Canada

Remind children that they may not be seeing a balanced view of the situation in the media. For example, the media has not reported that: 1500 Muslims prayed congregational prayers every Friday at the World Trade Center. There were many Muslim victims in the building that were destroyed. Hundreds of Muslim doctors and nurses are working around the clock in NYC and Washington to help save lives.

Despite the sensationalized images of Muslim "celebrating" the attacks, the majority of Muslims worldwide expressed grief and sorrow over the senseless loss of lives.

Muslim communities worldwide are working to support victims of this tragedy through blood drives, financial donations and messages of support

Dealing with Incidents of Harassment:

Explain your schools safe school, anti-racism and human rights policies.

Take all incidents such as bullying, name calling and threats seriously as students have been injured in various location in North America

Set a positive example by refraining from using terms such as "Islamic/Muslim Terrorists" or "Islamic Fundamentalists" or "those people" as these promote fear and hatred. Be sure to take the time to challenge the use of derogatory and racist language used by students.

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