Abrahamic Religions Similarities Activity
The objective of this activity is to examine how perceived threat and ingroup bias influence beliefs about Muslims in post-9/11 America. Participants will read passages from both the Islamic holy book (Quran) and Christian holy book (Bible) and will decide which was the source of each passage. After learning the actual source, and thus observing the similarities between the two holy books, participants should better understand that perceived group threat can affect how they interpret information.
religion; religious prejudice; anti-Muslim bias; diversity activity; teaching activity
This activity works well with all class sizes. For larger groups, break participants into groups of 5-8 to promote a more active discussion. After the small group discussion, the instructor can lead discussion with the whole group.
Participants should individually complete Handout 1. The handout consists of passages from both the Islamic holy book (Quran) and the Christian holy book (Bible). The passages are worded in such a way that it should be unclear as to what book they were taken from (i.e., "Allah" will be replaced with the universal term "God"). Participants carefully read each passage and then evaluate it using a 5-point scale ranging from extremely negative (1) to extremely positive (5). The participant also indicates what religion the passage came from by either writing an "I" for Islam, or a "C" for Christian. After these ratings are completed, the instructor can show the students which passages belonged to which religious book (see Handout 2). The participants then move into groups and answer the discussion questions.