The topic Women and Islam was chosen because it has traditionally been left out of the curriculum but represent a major part of history. This seems to be a general trend is history classes. If women are included they are often generalized or oversimplified. Muslim women are also misunderstood because of minor sects of the religion of Islam. What spurred this investigation was the story of Malala Yousafzai. (If you do not know anything about Malala Yousafzai, we recommend you familiarize yourself with her by clicking on her name.) Islam is also generalized in World History classes and geography class. (If you are not familiar with Islam, we recommend you read up on it.) The treatment of women in the Islamic world, and the rest of the world, is heavily influenced by the history of the region and religion. Another important idea to remember is that the Islamic religion is not exclusive to one specific country. It is a religion that operates on a global scale. This means that how Islam operates in one place, it may not operate the same way in another. These things are crucial to understanding the topic.
Photographs are powerful. They pack a lot of emotion, information, and detail in a 5″ by 7″ frame. A photograph can tell an immense amount about a topic. Photographs of people of the Islamic faith show the influence of the religion on to the culture. Photographs are also easy to interpret and interesting to look at.
Religious texts have a large influence on the everyday lives of a specific people. The religious text we are going to look at today is the Qur’an. This holy book is typically not translated into English and is often recited by memory. This religious text is not the only one that has an influence on the culture. It is essential to look at when learning about a group of people.
Maps are another great source of information. Maps are visual representation of data. They help us place where data is. Maps help put data into some sort of geographical understanding. It helps show how a culture is influenced by its surroundings, both physical and cultural.
The essential question that we ask, and hope to answer, is: “How does religion influence culture?” And, subsequently, “How does culture influence women’s lives?”
Before starting this project it is important to void yourself of preconceived notions. Many people tend to come with ideas that are not true and can distort the purpose of these activities. It is essential that you, as the participant, avoid thinking in a “Western” or “elitist” mindset. This topic is left out of the traditional curriculum because it is misunderstood. Let us try and reverse this trend.