A CALL TO
and Role Play
By Lara Maupin, a social studies teacher at Thomas Jefferson
High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia
This lesson should take 15 -20 minutes and may be used to discuss the
following with your students:
- the recent
statement made by Saddam Hussein calling for Jihad
Muslim concept of Jihad
Hussein's leadership qualities and past dealings with the United States
may be used in any social studies class.
Students will need printed copies of the NewsHour
Extra article cited below or computers with Internet access.
to National Standards
your students some background on the Muslim concept of Jihad.
Jihad - Rather than "holy war," most Muslim sources
define the word to mean "striving." To Muslims, it means to
struggle to be a better person, to live a more moral life, and to create
a more just society. It can also mean to defend the religion of Islam,
fellow Muslims, and allies.
that in a statement read on Iraqi state television, President Saddam
Hussein has called for Iraqis to fight American "aggressors"
and commit themselves to jihad. Have your students read the following
your students to comment. Discuss the story using the following
· Why might Saddam Hussein have stated that the coalition
forces were at war with Islam as well as his regime?
· How does Saddam Hussein appeal to the Iraqis? What is he
asking them to do?
· Are the Iraqis, or Arabs or Muslims outside Iraq, justified
in viewing the coalition forces as aggressors? Why or why not?
· Based on the above definition of jihad, is this an appropriate
call to action by Saddam Hussein? Why or why not?
allows, you may now examine Saddam Hussein's background, leadership
qualities, and previous dealings with the United States. Can Saddam
Hussein be considered a good leader, despite his deplorable acts?
What are the qualities of a good leader? What relationship has he
had with the U.S.? Has U.S. policy in Iraq been consistent? What light
does Saddam Hussein's background shed on his call for jihad?
The following descriptions are given in a PBS Frontline interview
first produced in 2000 by author Said K. Aburish who worked closely
with Saddam Hussein and his government. Click
here to get the full text of the interview. (Click here for a
handout: HTML PDF)
Aburish describes Saddam as:
· methodical, organized, a planner
· a fan of Stalin
· from a poor family
· intelligent but uneducated
· not a military man
· not ideological or particularly religious - a believer in
the supremacy of the nation-state
· hardworking - capable of working an 18-hour day endlessly
· distrusting of those outside his family
· determined to modernize Iraq and make it a model for Arab
countries -- and willing to be ruthless to carry out his plans
· enamored with technology
· willing to use chemical weapons if he knows he is going down
Aburish gives the following timeline for Saddam Hussein's career:
· became a gunman for the Ba'ath Party and participated in
the assassination attempt on Iraq's strong man, General Kassem in
· went into exile in Cairo then returned in 1963 when the Ba'ath
took power and began to organize the party and reduce the power of
the military; served as Vice President
· started a program to acquire unconventional weapons in 1974
· removed President Ahmed Hassan Bakr and became president
in 1979; then went to war with Iran
· invaded Kuwait in 1991 because he believed the country was
being used to overthrow him (their increases in oil production were
driving the price of oil down and thus Iraq was losing money)
Aburish claims U.S. involvement with Iraq and Saddam Hussein to have
· substantial involvement in the coup against Kassem in 1963
- the CIA and the Ba'ath Party shared information and worked together
after the coup to eliminate leftists and communists who threatened
the Ba'ath Party's power
· along with other Western governments, gave unconventional
weapons technology to Saddam Hussein in the 1970s
· supported Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1979 and supplied Saddam
throughout the war
· began to criticize Saddam's human rights policies after the
end of the Iran-Iraq War
· responded to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1991 by defending
Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War but did not support rebels who
attempted to remove Saddam after the war
· withheld support from the Kurds and others who opposed Saddam
· supported containment and sanctions throughout the 1990s
· bombed Iraq after Saddam asked U.N. weapons inspectors to leave
in 1998 (Operation Desert Fox); led continual air strikes against
Iraq in 1999
your students with the following quotes by Said K. Arburish (click here
for quote printout HTML
PDF). Ask them to select one
and write a response - in class or for homework. What surprises them?
What light does the quote shed on the current conflict in Iraq? Student
responses should reveal an understanding of the author's claims as well
as provide an analysis of those claims. Alternatively, you may wish
to use the quotes as a springboard for further class discussion.
your students research the use of the term "jihad" in a variety
of sources, including Arab and western news sources, Islamic organizations
or sources, and non-Islamic sources. Analyze how the term is used similarly
your local mosque or Islamic educational organization to see if an expert
on Islam can come in to discuss ideas and terms such as "jihad."
Council for the Social Studies Thematic
II. Time, Continuity and Change
VI. Power, Authority and Governance
IX. Global Connections
Author Lara Maupin teaches social studies at
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria,
Virginia. She is on leave during the 2002-2003 school year. She has a
Masterís Degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from George Washington
University and a Bachelorís Degree in Anthropology and Philosophy from
Mount Holyoke College.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute
to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com.