Resources on Islam for Sermons & Education
The Pluralism Project at Harvard University www.pluralism.org
The Pluralism Project is a reliable source of information about the major religions in the world, information about increasing religious diversity in the US, promising practices in interfaith work and case studies to foster understanding across lines of religious difference. Case Studies allow participants to practice problem-solving around questions raised by increased religious diversity. Case studies of local interest are: “Invitation to a Tri-Faith Neighborhood,” and “Sister Mary and the Muslim Doctors,” both available online at http://pluralism.org/casestudy/selected-case-studies/.
Pew Research Center: Religion and Public Life http://www.pewforum.org/
Pew is a trusted source for research and news about religions in the United States and how they interact with public life. Pew also has an excellent newsfeed http://www.pewforum.org/religion-in-the-news/.
It is extremely difficult to know what to believe about Muslims if you look to the internet because there is a flood of misinformation available online. Two comprehensive studies have found that a majority of the biased, stereotyping anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US can be traced back to a small group of foundations and individuals that finance them. It is helpful to be aware of the groups and speakers most closely identified with anti-Muslim rhetoric. See:
“Jihad Against Islam,” by Robert Steinback, Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Summer, 2011: No. 142. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2011/summer/jihad-against-islam .
“Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” published by The Center for American Progress, details the funders, organizations, and individuals who have contributed millions of dollars to developing information that spreads fear and hostility toward Islam and Muslims.
DVD’s and Books
DVD: The Jesus Fatwa http://www.livingthequestions.com/xcart/home.php?cat=493
Much of what passes as information about Islam is weed-like disinformation rooted in stereotypes and watered by fear. In The Jesus Fatwah, Islamic and Christian scholars offer reliable information about what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we all can build relationships across the lines of faith. The DVD features seventeen Islamic and Christian scholars, including: Hans Küng (Islam: Past, Present and Future), Brian McLaren (Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha,and Mohammed Cross the Road?), Eboo Patel (Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim), Stephen Prothero (God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter) and Feisal Abdul Rauf (What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America). Five sessions on one DVD disc with downloadable facilitator guide and reader. (Available from Living the Questions online.)
DVD: Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Directed by Gerald Krell
This PBS documentary, “Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” compares similarities and differences in religious beliefs and practices between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It also examines how people of goodwill in the Abrahamic faith communities are coming to terms with historical conflicts that impact their lives today, the crisis of the fundamentalist approach to religious pluralism, and how some are lowering barriers to understanding & respect. The DVD is an exceptionally fine movie about contemporary Jews, Christians and Muslims, and provides an easy-to-understand explanation of their common roots in Abraham. The video works well divided into 3 sessions, each with 40 minutes of video and 20 minutes of discussion. (Available on Amazon)
by Suzanne Oliver and Ranya Idliby. This is not an academic study, but rather a conversational book that anyone can enjoy. Three mothers from three faiths — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism — get together to write a picture book for their children about these three religions. But as the women begin correcting each other’s stereotypes, and sharing concerns about anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim speech, they find they need to dig deeper into their faiths. As the authors talk about their families and their beliefs, readers watch the blossoming of an interfaith friendship and discover the values that unite them. The book includes advice on how to start a faith club: the questions to ask, the books to read, and most important, the open-minded attitude to maintain in order to come through the experience with an enriched personal faith and understanding of others. (Available on Amazon)
Don’t forget to check with your Denominational Curriculum Resource Office, Publishing House and Office of Social Justice for resources.