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        9-12

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        The Light In Her Eyes: Religion in Culture & Politics: Women’s Empowerment in Syria

        In this lesson from POV, students will explore the role of religion in society and politics in Syria. They will watch a series of video clips showing Muslim women in Syria who are committed to living according to Islam without giving up their autonomy. Students will compare the ideas and actions of these women with their personal idea of women's empowerment. They will then look at three quotes from the clips and explain in an essay what the women in the clips see as the role that religion plays in culture and politics. The video clips featured in this lesson (in Arabic with English subtitles) are from the film, The Light in Her Eyes, a documentary that features a summer Qur'an school for girls in Damascus, Syria.

        http://www.pbs.org/pov/thelightinhereyes/lesson_plan.php

        The Biggest Challenge for Muslim Women

        A group of Syrian women explain that the biggest challenges for women in the Muslim world stem not from conservative religious behaviors but from the cultural norms advocated by conservative male clerics. Distinguishing between the two brings a better understanding of how women can empower themselves in a Muslim community, while still holding themselves to religious laws.

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        Hijab: A Symbol and an Identity

        Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway — women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. In this clip, Houda al-Habash explains the reasons and significance of wearing the hijab to her students, even though she doesn't require it of them.

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        The Right to Learn

        Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway — women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. In this clip, Houda al-Habash and her daughter Enas explain that there is nothing in Islam preventing women from getting an education and that it is the community's cultural norms that limit education and stress early marriage.

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        Young Women at Lunch

        Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway — women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. In this clip, Four young Muslim women discuss marriage and education goals while over a lunch in Syria.

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        End of Term Speech

        Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway — women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. In this clip, Houda al-Habash encourages her students in her end of term speech to never give up the right to choose their own paths in life.

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