Fordson: Faith, Fasting, and Football

If you see your students having trouble viewing people from different religious and cultural backgrounds as “American”, you might consider showing Fordson: Faith, Fasting and Football to your students. The documentary focuses on a high school football team in Dearborn, Michigan. Most of the players on the team are Muslim.

Ramadan (the Muslim holy month of fasting) hits right in time for football season, which means no food or water during daylight hours. To keep with the traditions of their faith players must practice in the middle of the night in order to be able to eat and drink during the physically demanding workouts.

Overall, the documentary does an excellent job of helping students to understand that Muslims are typical everyday Americans, but also face unfair discrimination from many people in American society.

Teaching Tips

  • The preview for the documentary at the top of the page would be a great substitute for the full length documentary if you do not have the time to play the 90 minute film.
  • Use this resource along with 30 Days: Islam in America for a more in depth look at the topic.
  • Discuss stereotypes students may have of Muslims in America before watching.
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2 thoughts on “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, and Football

  1. I don’t understand how this is an issue. If I decide to believe (participate in…) a religion that teaches vegetarianism, then I am choosing not to participate in any of the hunting sports- or maybe even fishing; If I decide to believe (participate in…) a religion that teaches total devotion on Sunday, then I am choosing not to watch live NFL on Sunday; If I decide to believe (participate in…) a religion that teaches anything that hinders my access to something else that is legal and acceptable, I make a choice and I may be making that choice for my children, too. Those are my choices and, in a free society, some things I choose to do, mean that I’m choosing NOT to do other things. This is not discrimination, it’s choosing which parts of a free society I will interact with and which I won’t.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post! I think you made several valid points. I enjoy using the movie in my classroom because students often have a hard time relating to cultures that are different from their own. Students are able to see that the Muslim football players are actually not too different from them. My students often have no concept of Ramadan, but it helps to see the tradition connected with something familiar like football. I don’t think the football players are being unfairly discriminated against, but the film does focus on Islamophobia in the United States as a side story.

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