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Rethinking the way we teach about Islam in school

Mosque Ceiling by Flickr user Pentocelo, aka dynamosquito. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Bay Area has about 250 thousand Muslim residents – more than three percent of the region’s population. But what many people know about Islam is limited to anti-Muslim messages that have come from the highest political office holders.

So what are American kids taught about Islam in schools? What should they be learning, and where can teachers learn how to teach about Islam and Muslims?

BURÇAK KESKIN-KOZAT: "Who are these people? Who is a Muslim? What’s a good Muslim what’s a bad Muslim? Who is NOT a Muslim?"

Stanford University is attempting to answer those questions, through a new workshop series designed for middle and high school teachers. It’s a collaboration between Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, and Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. KALW’s Hana Baba spoke with the program leaders Burçak Keskin-Kozat and Nicole Lusiani Elliot.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.