Pop Quiz: Discussing Religious Extremism
Hello, Doubt-Scholars! I’m afraid this is going to have to be a very quick Pop Quiz because I have a hot Friday night out planned. Well, I said I’d go over and help a friend set up his Minecraft server. That’s quite hot.
I’m sure that yesterday’s terrible events in London have been reported beyond the UK borders. I don’t intend to describe them again here; there are enough sites with that kind of information on them if you’re interested. Instead, I want to consider the idea of how (and whether) schools have the obligation or the right to teach about religious extremism.
There have been quite a few extremist religious organisations at the forefront of the media in recent times. Obviously there have been several high-profile events that have been linked to extreme fundamentalist Islamists, but there has also been focus on other groups. Over here in the UK, documentary make Louis Theroux received a great deal of attention for his account of the time he spent living with the Westboro Baptist Church. “The Most Hated Family In America” drew huge audiences and spawned a follow-up episode. There was also a prime-time BBC investigation into domestic abuse on the extreme fringes of the Orthodox Jewish community in London which aired last year and caused a lot of comment.
I’m sure many of you have view that are just as strong as mine when it comes to the potential dangers of religion and religious extremism in particular. To what extent should we pass those views on to our students? It is our job to simply educate young people about religious extremism, the forms it takes and the possible causes, and let them make up their own minds? Do we have a right to push our own personal views during discussions like this? Do we have an obligation to? Have you ever had a discussion like this with any of your students? Have you ever come across what you would call religious extremism in the classroom?
I’m sorry for the brief and rather shoddy Pop Quiz. I’ll be back later to add to any discussion and also to give a quick account of one of the times that I met extremist views in my own teaching.
The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3pm ET.
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