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The Middle East As Net Exporter of Religion

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Lesson Plans & Guiding Questions

Exercise in Conflict Resolution

This lesson is designed to tap into the conflict that arises from the expansion of new ideas and interactions between powerful systems of faith. As such students will examine the relationship between religious faith, state political power, and social control in order to better understand the complexity of national and international politics and conflict resolution. In teams of three, students will create one written position statement from an assigned perspective on several topics on the role of religion in the political sphere. In their statements, students should consider but are not required to cite Islamic Shira, Jewish Halakai, Christian doctrine and the concept of separation of church and state. 

Created By:  Michael C. Shea, Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago, IL

Subject Area(s):  World History, Political Science.
For Grade Level(s):  Grades 11–12, or Honors AP Grades 9–10

Time Needed:  4–5 flexible days total = three class periods, plus homework


1. What role is there for religion in a multicultural society? With regard to the individual perspectives above?

2. Where will conflict most often arise? What methods could be used to resolve the conflict for the greater good of society?

3. What role, if any, should the commonality play in resolving political differences?

4. What element/characteristic/
quality is, in your opinion most relevant in establishing conflict resolution policy?

  1. What role can the Middle Eastern religious paradigm play in this policy?

  2. How has your perspective of the political conflict in the Middle East shifted in the course of this assignment? What caused that shift? more accurate image of Islam and Islamic civilization?

Viewing Middle Eastern Religions

In this activity students will examine then identify how several images relate to the themes of this module. In particular, how the images relate to each other, the faith or category the image belongs to and finally the Middle Eastern religious paradigm. The procedure to create the final product (essay or a presentation) is highly formulaic and in part scripted; however, the student will be forced to develop higher order thinking skills and utilize critical visual literacy. By using images as a starting point to examine the concepts identified in the module students and teachers can more freely examine the complex relationships between these faiths within the paradigm. 

Created By:  Michael C. Shea, Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago, IL

Subject Area(s):  World History, Political Science

For Grade Level(s):  Grades 11–12 or Grades 9–10 (honors)

Time Needed:  1–2 weeks total. Presentations will vary with class size and student choice. Teacher may need to model activity more than once to ensure student success.


1. What role do images play in propagating stereotypes? How powerful can images be? 

2. How can images be used and misused to fuel religious and political polemics?

3. What advantage does slow and deliberate examination of images offer society as a whole? Where should this kind of examination take place?

4. What is the greatest difference between the short takes used on television and still images used in magazines, newspapers and online? 

5. What benefit did you gain through closely examining these images?  How might the work you did benefit you as a student, as a human being?

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