If you walked around a neighborhood and saw Arabic written on the storefronts, women in hijabs and mosques you might think you were in the Middle East, but you might also be walking around Dearborn, Michigan. Michigan? Yes, Dearborn has the highest percentage of Muslims in the United States.
30 Days: Islam in America is an excellent video for helping your students understand the beliefs of Islam. 30 Days is a TV series in which Morgan Spurlock (creator of Supersize Me) spends 30 days living a different way to learn about a subject. For example, he might go to prison for 30 days or try to live on the minimum wage for 30 days all in an effort to learn about the topic. In many of the episodes Spurlock does not directly participate, but rather he has two people of opposite beliefs live with each other for 30 days to learn about the other perspective.
Since 9/11 Islam has become one of the most misunderstood religions in the world. 30 Days: Islam in America helps students to understand that Muslims are not as different from other Americans as they might think. Dave, a Christian man from West Virginia lives with an Pakistani-American Muslim couple for 30 days and discovers the similarities between his beliefs and Islam.
*The entire 30 Days series has been on and off of Netflix for several years. I have found a few of episodes streaming from other sources, but they are not permanent. I recommend buying the 30 Days series. I’ve had the episodes of 30 Days disappear the day I wanted to play it for the class!
- Ask students to keep an open mind about Islam. Many of them may have preconceived notions of what they think Islam is like.
- Discuss how Dave (Christan man) feels at the start of the episode compared to the end.