Eight modules, with discussion topics and links to a TED lecture, have been collated by TED Studies and Wiley-Blackwell on the theme “Understanding Islam” and there’s an iTunesU course app for the iPad, too.
As a collection, these modules seek to transcend stereotypes about Islam; emphasize the positive roles of faith in Muslims lives, such as promoting compassion; and describe how many faithful are working to create positive role models. One of the companion articles on the site–ungated until December 31, 2013–is by anthropologist Gregory M. Simon, whose American Ethnologist article describes many of these same themes: Islamic faith as far from monolithic and ultimately reflective of deeply human struggles. The community in West Sumatra he studies in this article frame their religious experiences as central to development of their self identities and morality.
These resources are well worth examination by professors teaching religion classes, but also those teaching psychological anthropology and classes on the culture and history of the Middle East.