For Educators

Religion and Immigration: Muslims in the United States and Europe – Background

Overview

Over the last few decades, the number of Muslim immigrants has increased significantly in both the United States and Europe. Like other newcomers before them, these immigrants are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. However, religious and cultural differences have made it more difficult for Muslim immigrants to integrate fully into American and European society. The terrorist attacks in the United States, Spain, and Britain have caused many American and Europeans to view Islam and Muslim immigrants negatively. On the other hand, many Muslim immigrants feel unfairly pressured to sacrifice important aspects of their religion in order to become full citizens in their new homes.

In this lesson, students will examine the connection between religion and immigration as they explore the Muslim immigrant experience in the United States and Europe. They will begin by discussing the role that religion plays in the integration of new immigrants. They will explore some of the ways that religion might serve to assimilate as well as alienate immigrants in their new homes. Students will then compare the different ways in which Muslim immigrants are integrated in the United States and Europe. They will conclude the lesson by offering solutions for meeting the challenges created by religion and immigration.

Grade Level:

Grades 9-12

Time Allotment:

4-5 class periods

Subject Matter:

Religion, Human and Civil Rights, Social Studies, Language Arts

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Examine the connection between religion and immigration.
  • Explore the role that religion plays in the integration of new immigrants.
  • Compare the experiences of Muslim immigrants in the United States and Europe.
  • Discuss solutions for meeting the challenges created by religion and immigration.

Standards

This lesson was prepared by: Cheryl Williams, Ph.D.