What It’s Like to Teach Islam 101 When Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Runs High


Our very own Dr. Terje Østebø — Director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies here at UF — was profiled in-depth by The Chronicle of Higher Education about teaching Islam in an environment of tense rhetoric concerning religion and violence. The article begins:

Terje Østebø displays a succession of photographs on the screen behind him: a woman holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign. The aftermath of November’s attacks in Paris. The shooters in the San Bernardino rampage. A group of ISIS fighters. He calls on his students to identify the subjects of the images. Once they correctly name the last one, he makes a little joke. “I thought they were ninjas,” he says. Then he grows serious. “I hate to do this,” Mr. Østebø says, “but we are kind of forced to talk about violence.”

The article then goes on to detail discussions in the class and highlights the approach that Dr. Østebø, our department, and the Center for Global Islamic studies tends to take on discussions of Islam and the contextual conversation occurring within, and without, the university setting — that it is complex and well-worth studying.