American Muslim Ban Country Activities

Last Friday, the president of the United States issued an executive order to place a travel ban on Muslims entering from 7 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Some have argued that the ban is against all travelers and not only Muslims, however the president said soon after the ban that Christians would be allowed safe passage.

 

This Muslim ban is not only unconstitutional, the United States was founded on religious freedom, but it creates confusion for the citizens who actually live in these countries that fall under the ban: Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Persians, Kurds, etc.

 

Here at A Crafty Arab, my daughters and I have been trying to craft our way through the MENA region, learning about each country individually.  Other than some countries in the region tied by the Arabic language, each country has it’s own rich history, foods, culture and people. The citizens may borrow from their neighbors, but most are proud of the ground on which they, their parents, and their grandparents were born.

 

To help kids learn about the 7 banned countries, I’ve compiled a list of activities, along with some book choices you can buy or request the next time you are at the library. Some of the books are for children, some for adults. I’m only listing a couple, but please visit my Pinterest boards for hundreds more. It’s important for Americans to read the narratives of those that have been plunged into a political war they did not start.

 

Iran

Iran is not an Arab country since they do not speak Arabic, they speak Persian. There are some Muslims in Iran, with Arabic and Assyrian being the two Semitic languages spoken by them.  Iranians celebrate Nowruz and we did a tutorial on how to make one of the items needed for the festival table, a sib.

For children’s books on Iran, check out
Leila’s Nowruz Adventure
Little Black Fish
For adult books on Iran, read
Embroideries
Savushun

 

Iraq

Iraq is the western neighbor of Iran, also situated in western Asia. It’s official languages are Arabic and Kurdish and it’s citizens are primarily Muslim.  The United States and it’s allies attacked Iraq in 2003 and overthrew it’s government. The American presence in Iraq ended in 2011, but the Iraqi insurgency has continued due to the invasion. We talked about Iraq and American history while we learned about the flag.

For children’s books on Iraq, check out
The Golden Sandal
Lost and Found Cat
For adult books on Iraq, read
The Corpse Washer
The Madman of Freedom Square

 

Libya

Libya is in the middle of North Africa, has the Mediterranean Ocean as it’s northern border and is comprised of mostly dessert. The country was inhabited by the Amazigh before the Arabs arrived in the 7th century. As a Libyan myself, I have shared many recipes for food: mubatan, sharmoula and recently sharba. We have also learned about Libya and it’s revolution of 2011 when we made this hanging flag.


For children’s books on Libya, check out
The Shadows of Ghadames
For adult books on Libya, read
In the Country of Men
Tocqueville

 

Somalia

Somalia is in the horn of eastern Africa, bordered by water on two of it’s sides, giving it the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland. With Somalia’s proximity to the equator, there is not much seasonal variation in its climate. Islam was introduced to the area early on from the Arabian peninsula and the official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic. We learned about Somalia during our 3rd Annual Crafty Ramadan 30 Day Challenge when we made a flag pennant.

For children’s books on Somalia, check out
The Lion’s Share Qayb Libaax
Wiil Waal
For adult books on Somalia, read
Crossbones
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

 

Sudan

Sudan, also known as North Sudan, is a land locked country southeast of Libya and northwest of Somalia in Africa. Sudan used to be the largest country in Africa, before South Sudan broke off into it’s own country in 2011. Its predominant religion is Islam and the official languages are Arabic and English. We learned about Sudan when we made a flag lantern.


For children’s books on Sudan, check out
My Name Is Sangoel
The Red Pencil
For adult books on Sudan, check out
A Long Way Gone
The Palm House

 

Syria

Syria is in western Asia, boarded by Iraq to the east and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. The official language is Arabic and it’s inhabitants are mostly Arabs with Kurds, Armenian and Turkmen minorities. Syria has been in a civil war since 2011. When we first talked about Syria, we created a pinwheel flag then we created a necklace of the opposition to place Syria in our hearts. Since then, we have also done no sew pillows for the refugees created from the civil unrest.


For children’s books on Syria, check out
The Jasmine Sneeze
Stepping Stones
For adult books on Syria, read
Fragments of Memory
Grandfather’s Tale

 

Yemen

Yemen is in the southern Arabian Penuisula, and similar to Somalia, is boarded on two sides by water. Islam arrived in the 7th century and the ethnic groups are mostly Arab, followed by Afro-Arabs, South Asians and Europeans. Yemen has been caught in civil unrest since 2011 and it’s official language is Arabic. We learned about Yemen when we made a trivet for our tiny tea set.


For children’s books on Yemen, check out
Answered Prayer
For adult books on Yemen, read
A Land without Jasmine
They Die Strangers

There are 22 countries in the Arab League and we are learning about all of them. To see the activities we’ve made already, visit ACraftyArab on Pinterest. To learn more about the Arab League and who is on it, download this word search.
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Iraqi Flag Suncatcher Tutorial

It’s important for children to learn about the world they live in and today we talked about Iraq in our home.

 

Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جمهورية العـراق‎‎ ) is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

 

According to Wikipedia:
The flag of Iraq (Arabic: علم العراق‎‎) includes the three equal horizontal red, white, and black stripes of the Arab Liberation flag. This basic tricolor has been in use since 1963, with several changes to the green symbols in the central white stripe; the most recent version bears the takbir rendered in green. A new design for the flag was confirmed by Law 9 on 22 January 2008.

 

After we learned about Iraq, we made a suncatcher for our window. We decided to printout the takbir on white ahead of time rather then try to make it out of tissue.  So just ignore the white tissue in the supplies photo since we did not use it.

 

Supplies

Contact paper
Tissue paper in red & black
Cutting mat
Green cardstock
Printout of takbir (2)
Ruler
Xacto
Hole punch
Scissors
Yarn

We started by laying out our cutting mat with the green cardstock and placing our ruler on the edge of our cardstock. We used the xacto to cut inside the rulers’ edge on all four sides of the paper, creating a frame.

While we had the cutting mat and xacto out, we used them to cut out takbir into a long strip that would fit across our frame.

I laid out the contact paper and my daughter used the grid on the back to cut two pieces that were slightly larger than our frame. We then worked as a team to peel the backing off the contact while laying our frame on top. The sticky part of the contact paper should be up.

My daughter laid one of the takbir in the middle of the contact paper. It’s okay if the edges go over, we’ll cut them later when both pieces are on.

We cut the red and black tissue paper in strips and then in random rectangle and triangle shapes.  Then my daughter laid the red shapes on top of the flag and the black tissue on the bottom.

Once the spaces are covered in tissue, she laid the second takbir on top and cut off the paper that over laps.

We peeled off the backing on the second piece of contact paper and laid it on top of the flag. Then my daughter cut off the excess contact paper around the green frame and punched two holes in the top two corners.

She used the scissors to cut off a piece of yarn and tied off each end on the frame.  Now her flag is ready to hang in the window, letting in sunlight and looking like stained glass. I think I would recommend using thicker cardstock on the takbir so that both sides don’t show through, but the reason we printed it twice is so you can read it inside and outside the house.

If you enjoyed learning about Iraq, one of the countries in the Arab League, visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to learn about the other counties. Please feel free to pin this to your board.

 

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017

Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day, now in it’s fourth year.

I’m so excited to be a co-Host this year to add my review for Naji and the Mystery Dig. It was a wonderful book that explains Persian Muslim culture.

 

On the main MCBD site, there is a linky going on right now for reviewers of books that allow your child to #ReadYourWorld.

 

I thought I would pull out all the book lists, book related tutorials and reviews that have been posted on ACraftyArab in one easy spot also.

 

Book lists

5 Books with Strong Arab Protagonist

6 Arabic Dictionaries for Children

7 Stories of Arab Friendship

8 Books about Remarkable Muslims

11 Arabic Folktales

14 Books to Introduce Teens to the Arab World

85 Books about the Arab World

99 Arab Children Books

99 Muslim Children Books

 

Book related tutorials

Eid Mubarak Punch Out Bookmark Tutorial

Iqra Painted Bookmark Tutorial

Iqra Yarn Art Tutorial

Mini Eid Book Tutorial {and Bookmark Downloads}

Moon and Star Punch Art Bookmark Tutorial

 

Book reviews

Amal’s Ramadan / Amal’s Eid

How Many Donkeys?

My First Ramadan

Naji and the Mystery Dig
Please be sure to join the Twitter party happening at 9pm EST to win some amazing diverse literature books for children. Stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest for more book selections, including ones from my Arab authors book club.

 

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