Teachers' Guide - Islam
The Alhambra, Spain
With the fear caused by the 9/11 attack, and the ongoing wars against Islamic countries, it's hard to get past the ideas that many children may have that Islam is a bad religion and Muslims are bad people. A detailed look at the Islamic Empire may help children question these ideas. You can show them that the Koran provided more rights for women than medieval Christianity allowed. In the Middle Ages, the best education and the leading scholars of the world lived in the Islamic Empire. The greatest architecture of the time was also there. It's the Islamic Empire that brought sugar, the compass, Arabic numbers, algebra, chess, and many other things to Europeans. Islamic doctors were so much respected that medieval European doctors imitated their pharmacy vases.
A good understanding of the Silk Road can help to explain how the Islamic Empire got rich trading between Europe, Africa, India and China, and why, when Europeans figured out how to sail directly from Europe to India and China, the people of West Asia became much poorer as a result.