NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating
questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have
students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion
questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com]
for possible publication.
are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Story: NewsHour Extra: U.S.
Still Faces Opposition in Iraq:
1. Are Americans interested
in what is going on in Iraq? Why or why not?
2. Recently there have been several attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.
Who do you think is leading these attacks and why do they oppose the U.S.
3. Do you think the occupation in Iraq is going well or poorly? What gives
you that impression?
Reading Comprehension Questions:
(click here for printout)
1. What is the Sunni Triangle?
Fallujah is located inside
the area known as Iraq's Sunni Triangle, which has been the focal point
of Iraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation. Although they make up only
about 35 percent of Iraq's population of 24 million, Sunni Arabs played
a dominant role in the reign of Saddam Hussein, a fellow Sunni from
Nearly two-thirds of insurgent
attacks have taken place in the triangle, where former Saddam cronies
still hold power and would like to see the United States fail.
2. Who is Muqtada al-Sadr?
In a coordinated uprising,
tens of thousands of men loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, a 31-year-old Shiite
cleric, rose up against the American-led occupation in Baghdad, the
holy city of Najaf and at least two other cities in southern Iraq.
Sadr, considered too young and radical by many Shiite elders, is several
ranks and many years away from attaining the title of ayatollah, which
would mean his rulings would carry the weight of religious law.
But his message appears to be gaining popularity through his savvy use
of public appearances and lengthy speeches. He has also built up a well-equipped
The young Sadr's image is now a familiar sight on posters held aloft
by chanting supporters alongside the more conventional ones of his father
and other senior clerics, as well as the founding fathers of Shiite
3. Why did authorities close
Last week, American authorities
shut down Sadr's newspaper, Al Hawza. Although the paper did not print
calls for attacks, U.S. officials said false reporting, including articles
that blamed Americans for recent deadly explosions, could touch off
4. What did U.S. officials
say in response to the uprising organized by Sadr?
Paul Bremer, the top U.S.
administrator in Iraq, declared Sadr an "outlaw" who threatens
"Effectively he is attempting to establish his authority in the
place of the legitimate authority. We will not tolerate this,"
Bremer told a team meeting convened to discuss how to respond to Sadr.
President Bush voiced
criticisms of Sadr and his followers.
"This is one person
that is deciding that rather than allowing democracy to flourish, he's
going to exercise force," the president said. "We just can't
let it stand."
Discussion Questions (more
research might be needed):
1. If you were an adviser to the U.S. military, what would you suggest
it do about religious leaders such as Sadr, who have asked their followers
to resist the U.S.-led coalition and new interim Iraqi government?
2. How much attention should
Americans pay to what is going on in Iraq? Why is it important?
3. Given the fact that this
is an election year, how will politicians-- both Democrats and Republicans--
try to portray recent developments in Iraq? Is one side doing a better
job than the other thus far? Why do you think so?
Send your answers, in essay
form, to firstname.lastname@example.org for