Lesson: Fundamentalism and its Faces

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Lesson Objective

Students will understand the terms “Royalist, Communists, Islamists, Fundamentalists.” Students will recognize the role attire plays in delineating political groups Students will understand the controversy around the hijab for Muslim women

Lesson Plan

Lesson Name: Fundamentalism and its Faces            Course: High School Language Arts by Anke al-Bataineh


Students will understand the terms “Royalist, Communists, Islamists, Fundamentalists.”

Students will recognize the role attire plays in delineating political groups

Students will understand the controversy around the hijab for Muslim women

Essential Questions:            (write on board)
What do Royalism, Communism, Islamism and Fundamentalism mean?

How do people show their beliefs through their dress?

Why is the hijab controversial?

Hijab Blog article

Fundamentalism and Dress print-out

Islamism article

‘Isms Powerpoint

Anticipatory Set:         (2 min)
Begin with the slide lecture, asking students what ‘isms they can think of.

Input:         (15 min)                           Auditory, Visual, Logical
See slide lecture.

Guided Practice:         (20 min)                           Visual, Interpersonal, Verbal
Present students with Fundamentalism and Dress pictures. Discuss the levels of modesty in dress and how these can and can not predict people’s political and religious beliefs. Emphasize the following points:

1.     Some people choose conservative dress to match their conservative beliefs.

2.    Some people wear clothes simply because they are the fashion in that region, at that time.

3.    Some people wear clothes to show their social class or level of education.

4.    Some people wear clothes because they are required to by the people in power in their area.

5.    For some people, they don’t feel there is a connection between their dress and their beliefs.

Discuss these verses from the Qur’an that are the basis for the practice of hijab and expectations for men’s dress.


“O you Children of Adam! We have bestowed on you raiment to cover your shame as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness, that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition.” (Quran 7:26)

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear therof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.” (Quran 24:31).

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)

Independent Work:     (15 min)         
Assign students to read the article about the hijab controversy and to organize the ideas discussed into arguments for and against the hijab (or the ban on hijab, if your students understand this idea clearly.) 

Conclusion/Assessment:     (3 min)
Ask students to make connections between the issues around hijab in the blog article and those discussed in Persepolis.


Extension: You may also want to assign the attached article about why young people in Jordan are attracted to Islamism- it helps illuminate a complex and misunderstood issue.




Vocab to Watch Out For:




Lesson Reflection:


What went well?

What would you change?

What needs explanation?

Students had lots and lots and LOTS of questions about the hijab and appreciated the chance to have honest answers. They were able to understand disagreement and nuance.

I added the qur’an verses here because the first time I taught this I didn’t have them in front of me and I felt uncomfortable just summing them up.

I am a Middle East specialist and I have lived in Arab countries for a long time. I have close personal connections to this topic, speak Arabic fluently, and am able to couch generalizations in personal anecdotes. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about this on this level, you might invite a guest speaker. Probably any person from a local mosque would be interesting, as long as they are willing to acknowledge different points of view.




Lesson Resources



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