Applying the resources of Religion, Belief and Faith identities UAL website to your own teaching practice
What would I do to implement change?
Introduce a workshop, that doesn’t question the religion itself but how religion is presented to us by the media. The media undeniably is used other than a tool of communication but also propaganda. We should be including in the learning outcomes, for students to question the source of all information, not instantly believing it holds truth. One of the major considerations I was taught from my years of secondary school history class. When, who, why are the major factors of understanding if it is to present.
Also look into to changing faces of religion. This is based on a personal experience where I met someone who was Muslim, but I instantly saw her Nigerian culture. We discussed how people instantly see her heritage or when in ‘corporate’ situations she is viewed as political due the her head covering in Ankara cloth. Ankara is her choice of cloth not because she is a pan African but it is a form of her fashion style and expression. Her Haussa heritage is also tied in with her Islamic faith and she is only just expressing her style whilst being modestly dressed.
Images can be used, ensuring students understand the historical and anthropology in referencing cultures should be mentioned and emphasised. The workshop could lead onto an output created by the students producing their own images data bank of what the media doesn’t show of the major religions and the religions that are often misunderstood. Encouraging students to find content producers (photographers, documenters, videographers) who live in different countries who have experience of living in these communities.
‘Religion in Britain: Challenges for Higher Education.’
The Public Sphere
‘What is undeniable is that some religious minorities, are making claims of public recognition and respect that, even when they can be met with modest policy and resource commitments, some people – perhaps a growing number at the moment – are uncomfortable with and believe are over religionising (and specifically over-Islamising) the public sphere. Added to this, some groups today find themselves being perceived in ways that intertwine racial and religious stereotyping, most notably in the phenomenon of Islamophobia. These tensions may be with us for a while’. (p10-11)
Both the section discussed under ‘Public Sphere and Minority identities’ discussed the growing link between religious identity and race where the majority is instantly unable to separate the two. However due to the post-immigration it could be noted that people are forced to hold onto their religion as the believe it is an important part of their identity, but it then becomes a problem when a particular religion is linked to one or few racial groups. Therefore, portraying false narrative of the religion and those who identify with it. ‘Nudging the country from a post-Christian agnosticism towards a multi-faith inclusion’ by welcoming and supporting concerns from those of other religious groups may not be enough.
The role of higher education will be to ensure that both students and staff are treated with respect as indicated in ‘Religion and dissent in universities’ as they cross into the area of freedom of speech. Is your belief really your own and how far can it be questioned by yourself and others before crossing the boarders of infringing on someone’s rights?
Although respect cannot be taught, I think that is a way of teaching ‘tolerance’ and not educating people on the different cultures and race for deeper understanding. Not everyone was fortunate to have an education where their religious education class went beyond the conquering quest of the Christians to liberate the world from sin, the martyred saints and the war to retain the rights to practice their religion by erecting crosses in lands not their own. Some were actually taken through the theology and principles of various religions to plant a seed of understanding. Therefore, I agree that ‘one challenge for UK universities is to develop broader learning communities in which religion is a legitimate and generally not a divisive topic for discussion and enquiry. The focus may be ethics or values, with religion important as one source among several, not always the topic in itself. Another challenge is that students should get to know members of other religions (not just about other religions) and collaborate with them in activities not thematically religious from sports to social activities to activist campaigns.
Kwarme Anthony Appiah Reith: Creed
Kwarme mentioned that religion is a perceived to be a belief and not part of identity, later explaining the role of traditional customs of by the Ghanaian’s when their customs of libation pouring and honouring the ancestors was and is considered a religion. It made me wonder how our Ghanaian heritage, traditions and cultural customs that had been lost as the wave of missionaries came to civilise our forefathers. To this day we have Ghanaians, generations down the line who confidently proclaim that our customary ways are linked to witchcraft, even the religions of old are called ‘fetish’ a word brought with colonisation. Then I reflected on how one imposed their beliefs based on comparing their cultures that are tied to identity. The colonisers saw themselves as civil and all others but that. Maybe if all religious creeds where respected we would live in a different world today and Ghana would be different. For example, the Ga tribe, being located in the costal had a lagoon that they kept clean, believing that it was inhabited with spirits but as the Christianity took over, this was forgotten and now the lagoon is polluted. Therefore, could creed be more than just a belief or a piece of identity?