CAIR-NJ, TWM Introduce Educators’ Guide for Classroom Discussions of 9/11
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 09/08/2022) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) and Teaching While Muslim today introduced an educator’s guide to classroom discussions surrounding 9/11.
The advocacy group shared these resources and has contacted nearly 30 NJ school districts comprising of over 55 public schools.
The guide includes lesson plans and curriculum guides that will help teachers develop a more nuanced approach to the subject of 9/11 and its impact on Muslim students. It includes essential questions, such as the significance of 9/11, the rise in anti-Muslim bullying in schools, and resources on how to combat Islamophobia in the classroom. Organizers are requesting school administrators to circulate the guides among their educators and staff.
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:
“Muslim students have long reported incidents of bullying related to their religion and ethnic background to our office, sometimes triggered by inappropriate comments made in classrooms on anniversaries of September 11, 2001. We are hopeful that this guide will help educators and students adopt a proactive approach to Islamophobia in the classroom.
“It is also imperative that students have a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, including the hate crimes, illegal discrimination, government abuses and wars overseas that continue to impact not only American Muslims, but the American people and people around the world.”
In a statement, Teaching While Muslim Founding Executive Director Nagla Bedir and Assistant Director Maheen Ahmad said: “Although it has been more than 20 years since 2001, there is still an extensive amount of misinformation about 9/11 that contributes to an inaccurate understanding of the world.
“However, as educators ourselves, we believe it is a teacher’s responsibility to not perpetuate misinformation of any kind in the classroom.
“Misinformation around 9/11, Muslims, and Islam are the primary causes of anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia in schools. It is a teacher’s duty to educate themselves before touching upon topics they aren’t familiar with in their classrooms. This teacher’s guide is intended to alleviate the job of educators by providing them with comprehensive resources and lesson plans to better understand what happened on that tragic day and the lasting national and global repercussions.”
CAIR-NJ documented at least 22 incidents of anti-Muslim incidents in New Jersey public schools during the 2021-2022 calendar years.
In one incident, a Ridgefield teacher said, “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” when a Muslim student asked for an extension on his homework. In another incident, a New Jersey middle school teacher called people from Afghanistan and Pakistan terrorists.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.