Counter Islamophobia Through Stories (TM)
At KitaabWorld, our mission is to explore stories, myriad realities and weave the texture of diverse people - their lives, cultures, humanity and beauty into our understanding of the world. Our work highlights and shares resources around ideas that we believe all children should be exposed to from an early age.
In January, 2017, we had launched our "Counter Islamophobia Through Stories” campaign (scroll down for details on how we ran the campaign) to change the narrative about the stereotypical images, stories and misinformation about Muslims, especially for young and impressionable minds.
As extension of the ideas from our "Counter Islamophobia Through Stories” campaign, we are excited to announce “Muslims in Story: Expanding Multicultural Understanding Through Children’s and Young Adult Literature”
Our book is a great starting point for teachers, librarians and educators of all stripes to bring about tangible change in their communities. With a short history of Muslims in America to the the present issues they currently face, this book offers a look at a more hopeful future of creating empathy, respect and understanding towards Muslims.
Counter Islamophobia Through Stories
On 16th January 2017, as we commemorated Martin Luther King Jr day, we at KitaabWorld wanted to honor his legacy of non-violent activism against racial discrimination. Dr. King called on us to live by our noblest ideals and brought hope and healing to a fractured nation. His dream of a colorblind, multicultural country welcoming of people of all races is a source of great inspiration especially in today’s world.
"Counter Islamophobia Through Stories” is our way to honor Dr. King and do our part to fight hate with knowledge.
Many of us continue to be concerned by the acute increase in hate speech by the Trump administration beginning with the 2016 election that normalized racist behavior, the vilification of entire communities with one single broad stroke; the visible rise in hate crimes and incidents of Islamophobia in the last few months and the appointment of an entire team to positions of power that sees Islam and its followers as evil.
A report by SAALT released in early January 2017 stated that the recent hate violence has reached historic levels mirroring the days post 9/11. Unfortunately, these hate crimes trickle down to children as well with increased bullying and isolation of children.
The 2016 Noor Kids Muslim Children’s Identity Study reported the effect of anti-Muslim rhetoric on Muslim kids with troubling results:
At KitaabWorld, we want to change the stories and misinformation about Muslims, especially for young and impressionable minds. Research indicates that exposure to other cultures should begin at an early age. Learning about our similarities, understanding our differences and sharing our stories goes a long way towards creating respect and acceptance of one another.
But can a book do all that?
One book, even just one story can open windows to different worlds. It can, proverbially, put you in someone else’s shoes - blisters and all.
CURATED THEMATIC BOOK LISTS
There are over 1.5 billion of Muslims around the world, and so there are many stories. How do you break down a 1400 year old religion, culture and a way of life in a way that isn’t overwhelming?
We curated our book lists on four different themes to provide you - parents, teachers, librarians and others - with multiple opportunities to engage with these stories:
(i) Muslim Kids as Heroes: These picks feature stories that reflect positive stories of Muslim children their day to day experiences. For non-Muslim kids, these books create an understanding of our similarities and differences, not to mention these are fun stories you just want to gobble up!
(ii) Inspiring Muslim Leaders and Thinkers: Did you know that over 1001 inventions by Muslims have contributed to the world today? This collection highlights books on the intertwined histories of the East and the West along with stories of inspiring Muslim thinkers, explorers and leaders from the past to the present.
(iii) Celebrating Islam: Being Muslim is a way of life that encompasses everything from food to etiquette, personal conduct, prayer, charity and more. This book list serves as an way to understand the diversity, history and celebrations of Islam.
(iv) Folktales from Islamic Traditions: Our collection of folktales from Islamic traditions, which are familiar to Muslims all over the world is sure to open up beloved stories and merge the old and new worlds!
Each week we launched a new book list, author interviews and personal stories related to the theme. See our compilation of articles, reports and other resources on Islamophobia. We also published a list of 45+ books to Counter Islamophobia Through Stories here. For updates to all four booklists and for more information please see Muslims in Story: Expanding Multicultural Understanding through Children's and Young Adult Literature.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Support our ‘Counter Islamophobia through Stories’ campaign and help us make a difference.
(i) Spread the Word: Share our booklists and author interviews with friends, teachers, librarians and parents. Gift copies of Muslims in Story: Expanding Multicultural Understanding through Children's and Young Adult Literature.
(ii) Buy One, Donate One: Support diversity in the classroom and at home by buying books from the Counter Islamophobia through Stories collection. Get one or more of these books for your home, and/or donate them to schools and libraries around you.
(iii) Start a Discussion with children in your community. Use our books coupled with lesson plans to move from stories to ideas to action.