Islam and Muslims: An Educator Resource Portal


Drs. Özlem Sensoy and Wanda Cassidy have been awarded a grant by the Law Foundation of BC to develop an online resource portal for BC Educators called Islam and Muslims: An Educator Resource Portal. This portal will be developed in partnership with the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies and will develop and maintain an online catalog of resources and other materials for BC educators (K-16). It is hoped that the resources (including lesson plans, curricula across various grade levels, online films and documentaries and accompanying discussion guides; professional development materials, analysis of current issues and events) once established, will positively contribute to public understandings of topics such as immigration, human rights, Islamophobia and hate crimes, religious dress and accommodation laws, honour crimes, religious extremism, racial profiling, and other social issues related to law and justice that emerge in our communities. The work is currently underway, and we are targeting a soft launch in fall 2021. Once completed, this portal will be a model for additional issues and identities-based resources we will develop and call The Diversity Portal as a way to increase publicly available, vetted, and reliable information that can contribute to reducing identity-based discrimination, crimes, and targeting in our communities.


Brunette Odalisque is one of countless paintings by European artists (Boucher, Gerome, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso) who were fascinated with “the Orient,” especially the harem. These paintings that have been displayed in museums and studied at universities are critiqued for their reproduction of racism and sexism via the exoticization of non-European women’s bodies. Rather than simply artifacts of distant historical moment, we must critically consider the role these painters and images have had in serving as inspiration for artist after them, and for legitimizing a particular form of gaze and display of imagery.  For educators who engage students in a study of this era or art history, one of the questions to explore can be, how are images of the past connected to images we see today?