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June 15th, 2008
Suppression or Liberation: Islam, Hijab and Modern Society

Often the practice of religious beliefs comes into conflict with the norms and standards of modern society. This is the case in Islam with hijab, the scarf that women use to cover their head and neck, as well as with other garments worn to maintain modesty. Some people who are not Muslim, as well as some people who are, see the garment as a way of repressing women and making them fade into the background of society. However, some women who wear hijab view it as a symbol of the strength of their beliefs and respect for their own bodies.

Through the materials presented in this lesson, students will explore basic beliefs and practices of Islam and examine the different views of women’s modesty and hijab among Muslims and in modern society. They will read articles and view video clips available on the Internet to understand hijab and the different views, and they will understand and express their own points of view on the topic in discussions and a persuasive article.

Grade Level: 9-12

Time Allotment: Four 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter: Social Studies, World Cultures, Writing

Learning Objectives:

Students Will

Demonstrate an understanding of the basic beliefs and practices of Islam.

Demonstrate an understanding of hijab and the concept of women’s modesty in Islam and today’s society.

Explore the different points of view about hijab by using articles and video clips from the Internet.

Examine prevailing religious, social, and moral beliefs regarding hijab.

Develop their own point of view regarding hijab and express it in discussion and in writing.

Academic Standards:

From the National Standards for Social Studies

1) Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.

3) Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.

4) Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity.

From the National Council of Teachers of English Standards

1) Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.

8) Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

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