September 24, 2003
International terrorism is a complex topic. A complete
discussion is well beyond the scope of either this page or most K-12 curricula.
We have selected the resources below to help students and teachers gain
a clearer understanding of:
- The variety of terrorist organizations and causes
- The national and international responses to these
- The history, culture, and problems in the countries
which sponsor or encourage terrorism.
- The importance of tolerance – avoiding condemning the innocent – whatever
their religion or nationality – in the search for those responsible
for terrorist act.
While most of these resources are from credible western
news and government organizations, we have included several Islamic and
Muslim resources, at least one of which makes the case for a radical interpretation
of Islam. Understanding what others believe – rightly or wrongly – is
central to coping with this issue. As always, we welcome suggestions for
additions to these pages. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information and resources which
can help students better understand each other and the world in which
they live. We will add lessons to this list as they become available.
in the Sand: Defining Middle Eastern Borders – Our own "Teachers’
Toolkit" for the mideast offers a look at the political, religious,
economic, and social factors that have interplayed with one another
over the past hundred years to make the middle east what it is today.
This unit is rich with primary sources, and there are guiding questions
for each section to help structure the discussions. An interactive time
line helps students understand the history of events in this troubled
– Legacy of a Prophet – This web site – a companion to the PBS program
of the same name – offers pofiles of both the prophet Muhammad and several
contemporary American Muslims who describe the meaning of their faith.
The web site contains additional historical and biographical information
as well as background information on Islam. Try this one if your students
are studying either the mideast, comparative religions, or American
Year Later – Tips for Teachers – The National Association of School
Psychologists has prepared this set of guidelines and recommendations
to help teachers and schools cope with the anniversary of the September
11 attacks in a manner that supports the needs of students and staff.
Since the anniversary will come close to the start of the school year
in many communities, this is an especially important topics. You can
find related content for Parents
at our companion TeachersAndFamilies site.
American history lessons include several lessons dealing with immigration,
discrimination, and the ways in which Americans have treated foreigners
and minorities in the past. What lessons can we learn from this experience?
How can we respond to hatred both within our country and outside it?
Tolerance resources available online include several
publications by tolerance.org. Planet
Tolerance is a collection of stories and other resources for students.
Tolerance offers a set of ideas and links to help combat discrimination
against persons of Arabic or Sikh descent. Finally, there are 101
Tools for Tolerance -a collection of steps that we all can take
to improve the climate of tolerance at school, in the workplace, or
Peacemakers Speak – Grades 9-12 – This
is a collection of reflections and essays on events since September
11 written by past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. While the themes
are similar, each takes a slightly different perspective on how to resolve
the many issues surrounding responses to terrorism.
World at Peace – Grades 2-6 – An Internet-based
lesson from PBS which introduces younger students to the concepts of
human rights, including the rights of children, as well as the diversity
on Terrorism – Grades 6-12 – This lesson
asks students to research and report on a terrorist group or activity,
giving examples of past terrorist events, both domestic and international.
Good ideas from a practicing teacher.
and its Neighbors – Grades 9-12 – This
web-based lesson from PBS is particularly strong for its listings of
web resources on specific nations and cultures in and around Afghanistan.
The lesson uses a "model summit" approach to let students
explore the conditions that might bring peace to the region.
Resolution – Teachers, Grades 2-8 – This
is a venerable, unformatted lesson plan dealing with conflict resolution.
What it lacks in visual impact it more than compensates for in content,
offering examples and numerous exercises on situations and behaviors
that can cause conflict at the individual level. In addition to its
utility in the classroom, teachers may find this useful in helping students
understand global conflicts.
Nation of Many Cultures – Grades K-5 –
This basic look at the diversity of American cultures asks students
to describe their own families, customs, and heritage using language
and art. From PBS.
Sites commemorating – in a wide
variety of ways – the events of September 11, 2001
Rebuild, Renew – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s site
offers presentations on the 7 designs submitted for reclaiming the area
once occupied by the World Trade Center buildings. Users can view slide
shows for each proposal and read the architects’ descriptions of how
their design best meets the LMDC’s three-part goal. What do your students
think the best memorial would be?
from the New York Times – The Times offers teachers a starting page
with links to lesson plans, books, writing ideas, and other topics related
to the 9/11 attacks.
From Ground Zero – Created with funding from the U.S. State Department,
this site offers a striking collection of images recorded by a single
photographer in the days following the 9/11 attacks. Much of the effect
comes from the order in which the images display, one at a time. Well
worth a visit as a source for written or oral reflections.
of Grief – The New York Times offers what is probably the most eloquent
commemoration of those killed in the World Trade Center by telling individual
11 Digital Archive – The Smithsonian’s collection of images, media
coverage, and other collections of responses to the September 11 attacks.
11 Web Archive – The Library of Congress offers archived web content
from news organizations and others sources, as well as extensive collections
of images and related materials.
Transformed – Print and audio transcripts from National Public Radio
coverage of the attacks and their aftermath during the month after the
Changed World – Combating Terrorism – Reporting and commentary from
the Christian Science Monitor about the war on terrorism and its consequences,
both foreign and domestic.
in the Crossfire – Companion web site to an independently produced
public television program which follows the lives of several Arab-Americans
– including a police officer, a diplomatic reporter, and a clergyman
– during the months following the September 11 attacks.
and Doubt at Ground Zero – A look at how last September’s events
challenged people’s beliefs. While incomplete at this writing, the site
should be ready by the time this program airs on September 3.
After 9.11 – Grades 7-12 – Created by the producers of the PBS News
Hour, this site examines a succession of issues and events after 9.11
with a strong emphasis on young peoples’ interests. The result combines
a nice chronology with a series of comments, questions, and other contributions
by teens and those who work with them. The site also includes additional
information and ideas for teachers.
11 – Then and Now – Bill Moyers interviews a sampling of people
who were directly or indirectly affected by the events of September
11 to see how their lives have changed. The site examines both the victims
of the attacks and the tensions between security and free expression
which have emerged in the past year.
York City – After the Fall – Suitable for older students, this is
one of many media-rich 9/11 commemorations, combining poetry and music
in an on-screen presentation.
9-11 – Dickinson College’s Clarke Center for Contemporary Issues
offers one of the more straightforward collections of teaching resources
related to 9-11, including lesson plans, archival materials, and commentary.
Resources on Islam and Arabian Cultures
Questions and Answers About Arab Americans – The Detroit Free Press
offers a well-written background on Arab Americans, Arab culture, religion,
and other topics. Succinct answers are written in language that many
young people will understand. A great resource.
Connections – A well-designed, information-rich companion site to
a PBS program of the same name, this site attempts to show the numerous
interconnections between cultural, political, and religious issues in
the middle east. The site includes a time-line, a detailed overview
of the state of political institutions in the region, and an explanation
of some of the issues which are key to residents of the area, but less
well publicized in the west. Those seeking understanding of Islamic
cultures and politics will find much here.
Several national and international organizations have
mounted significant efforts to provide information on Islamic religion
and culture. These include:
American Arab Antidiscrimination Committee
Arab American Institute
Education and Training
on Islamic Education
Resources on Terrorism
Search of Al Queda – Ongoing reporting from a PBS Frontline team
currently investigating terrorism in Pakistan. Text heavy, but very
– Questions and Answers – This regularly-updated site strives to
provide straightforward information in a "what we do know; what
we don’t know…" format. The breadth of topics is significant,
and there are extensive links to outside sources whose authoritativeness
varies. This one is a great starting point for studying the evolving
response to terrorism.
on Terrorism – Foreign Affairs Magazine has compiled a collection
of article reprints on terrorism, the mideast, and Muslim extremists
that goes back as early as 1998. Full text articles are available, along
with marginal notes that lead to additional information on specific
subtopics. This one’s for serious older students or teachers, but the
quality of the content is excellent.
Mideast Struggle for Peace – To radical Muslims, the U.S. relationship
with Israel is a major factor in their view of the west. This gives
the issue of peace in the Mideast a new perspective and urgency. This
is CNN’s special report on the current state of relations between Israel
and the Palestinians, along with a history of the conflict in the region.
of Global Terrorism – The US State Department’s 1998 report on the
extent of global terrorism includes assessments of terrorist activities
in various parts of the world, including the Mideast and south Asia.
Group Activities and Profiles are available at this site hosted
by the Navy Postgraduate School. The chronological listings of terrorist
events provide a vivid illustration of the international scope of the
problem and the variety of groups involved.
the Threat of International Terrorism – The Federation of American
Scientists published this report – authored by a distinguished group.
It provides excellent summaries of terrorist activity and suggested
responses, as well as significant background information.
– The Federation of American Scientists has created a frequently-updated
listing of terrorism reports and resources, including government reports,
background articles, and related information.
and U.S. Policy – This collection of publicly available documents
compiled by George Washington University’s National Security Archive
could be a rich resource for older high school students interested in
examining the origins of the current crises. The site includes materials
obtained from the CIA, FBI, and Department of Defense
Afghanistan and the Taliban
for Children – This is a site from a couple who lived in Afghanistan
with their children many years ago. In addition to a collection of Afghan
folk tales and general information about the country, the site includes
excerpts from a coloring book originally published for English-speaking
children living in the country. An interesting flashback to what this
country once was. From Arizona State University.
– War on Terror – This theme page on the conflict in Afghanistan
is notable because it includes links to audio reports from several BBC,
Pakistani, and other Persian radio services. You’ll need the RealAudio
player to listen in.
Are the Taleban? – A background report from the BBC’s South Asia
Afghan Taliban – A 1998 article from the Washington Report on Middle
East affairs authored by a former professor at the University of Kabul.
Taliban – Who Are They? – USA Today’s mini-brief on the Taliban;
suitable even for middle school use.
CIA on Afghanistan – A thorough, factual rundown on the country,
containing political, economic, geographic, and other background information.
Good starting point for a study of the country itself. From the CIA
World Fact Book.
in Writing – Three written responses to the 9/11 events, one of
which was acutally written many years ago.
Failures of the Imagination – A perspective from a New York Times
if you Don’t Mind… – Reactions from a survivor
Canadian view of the Americans – A reprint of an op-ed piece originally
printed in 1973.
The Muslim View – There
is, of course, no single Muslim view. Below are two current resources
which take widely different views of the current crisis. NOTE: Both of
these sites contain numerous links to third-party resources. As you use
them, be aware of whose material you are reading. For more information
on Islam, see the TeachersFirst section on the Mideast.
– A "mainstream" site that offers a collection of resources
about Islam and Muslims, as well as a variety of commentary from third
– CAUTION – Teachers
should review this site thoroughly before using it with their students.
This is the web site for a Pakistani weekly newspaper that takes
a radical view of Islam. Users will probably find some of this content
disturbing, yet it is a good illustration of the variety of beliefs
in the Islamic world. The content is suitable primarily for high school