Countering Islamophobia Through Education: Workshop Series

2-day workshop on Countering Islamophobia Through Education: Presented by Columbia Students on Friday, December 11 & Monday, December 14! 

December 14, 2020

This virtual program was organized by the Columbia Global Centers in TunisAmman and Istanbul, in partnership with Teachers College and the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.

Presentations focused on emerging research that explores the role of education in countering Islamophobia and serving as a potent mechanism for de-radicalization. Graduate students from Teachers College, Columbia University presented and discussed how education can serve as a facilitator for social cohesion, capable of addressing the unique challenges that marginalization, exclusion, discrimination, racism, and radicalization pose for at-risk youth. Islam, Education, and Radicalization. 

The program was introduced and moderated by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Associate Professor of Practice and Project Director at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education at Teachers College.

Friday, December 11: 

Countering Islamophobia in the United States: A Look at “Access Islam”

Student Presenters:
Kendra Burpee, Faryal Siddiqui, Vikramaditya Harshad Joshi

The U.S. Department of Education funded a curriculum, Access Islam, designed to help students gain awareness and an understanding of Islam. This presentation offers an analysis of the curriculum, its strengths and weaknesses, and the public criticism it faced during Trump's term.

Deconstructing International Educational Response to Islamophobia

Student Presenters:
Khan Mir Sana Ullah, Minjung Kang, Joti Ghani, Sarah Schoengood

In the wake of rising anti-Muslim and Islamophobic sentiment, this presentation explored the public discourse on Islam in the West and analyzes educational measures that affect Muslims. Following an overview of educational policies in France, UK, and the US, the presentation deconstructed international educational guidelines designed to alleviate everyday discrimination faced by Muslim students in the West.

The presentations were followed by reflections and questions from discussants.

Fırat Kurt, Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies, Columbia University

Jihed Haj SalemCVE Advisor, FHI360 Tunisia.


Monday, December 14

Countering Islamophobia: A Parental Peace Education Approach

Student Presenters:
Raksha Sule, Lauren Gonzales, Yujie Yang, Rachel Karnoff
Currently, attempts to combat Islamophobia and biases in the United States focuses on students. The critical role of parents is often overlooked, and notably absent from anti-Islamophobia education initiatives. This presentation will put forward a peace education curriculum model to address Islamophobia amongst parents and caregivers in the US.

Incorporating Islam into the Mainstream Education System: A Strategy to Counter Islamophobia

Student Presenters: 
Ayelet Hillel, Maximilian Rojas-Domke, Tianxiang Zhu

A key factor leading to Islamophobic views are misinformed narratives around Islam and Muslims that are often promoted in popular media. The education system is vital in deconstructing negative perceptions of Islam among non-Muslims and reconstructing inclusive narratives. By incorporating the study of Islam as part of the mainstream curriculum, the education system can raise the level of understanding regarding Muslim culture and faith among the general population, to foster mutual tolerance and understanding.

The presentations will be followed by reflections and questions from discussants.

Dr. Renee Hattar, Head of International Studies, The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies

Fırat Kurt, Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies, Columbia University