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Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
In this article, the author investigates the controversial curricular and instructional aspects of teaching about Islam in social studies courses. Specifically, the author discusses pedagogically sound approaches to teaching about "jihad" and "Shari'ah" law, two of the most important and controversial concepts in Islam that often generate intense debates among scholars, policy-makers, social studies teachers, and the general public. It is crucial that social studies teachers present all of the competing and complex definitions regarding "jihad" and "Shari'ah" law; this task is exacerbated by passionate disagreements among Islamic scholars, lawyers, and historians over the true nature of these concepts. Many K-12 textbooks omit or distort the multiple interpretations of "jihad" and "Shari'ah" law because of political pressures, space limitations, and efforts to avoid controversies inherent in discussing religion. Thus, many students are confused by competing views and ideological perspectives by experts regarding Islam; this situation is untenable, given the importance of Islam in contemporary American politics and international affairs.