Learning from Muslims

Several years ago a group of professors at BYU-Idaho designed an interdisciplinary course called “Global Hotspot: Pakistan at the Crossroad of Conflict.”

Students are asked to learn and analyze issues relating to Pakistan’s history, geography, culture, languages, and religions. But the real purpose of this course is to use Pakistan as a giant case study to help students develop skills and abilities that they can use in understanding people and countries that are quite different.

Those skills include–

  • Recognizing and overcoming stereotypes in their own thinking;
  • Understanding how factors such as history, geography, and religion influence countries and individuals;
  • Identifying and appreciating strengths and weaknesses in other cultures and nations, and
  • Understanding how the nations of the world are connected.

Professor Eaton notes that we all sometimes engage in sloppy analytical thinking by casually accepting stereotypes or the assumptions of others, and we should challenge these notions.

He also thinks that respecting others while holding firm to unique beliefs is a somewhat lost art but a necessary balancing act for members of the Church to engage in. We can respect other believers of God without sacrificing our beliefs.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she interviews Robert Eaton about understanding Pakistan and our own place in the world.

To access material mentioned in this episode, visit LDS Perspectives Podcast.

2 thoughts on “Learning from Muslims

  1. Delightful interview.

    I have a friend who used to work in the middle east. Being Mormon, he didn’t drink or have extracurricular sex or things of the sort. This earned him the respect of the Muslims he interacted with.

    It also caused problems with one of his coworkers, who was in the habit of blackmailing colleagues based on the wrongs they had committed. And this individual was unable to get my friend into a position where blackmail was appropriate.

  2. Excellent exercise for students and all of us! True notions of tolerance, diversity, and peace begin with understanding one another. Too many discussions of tolerance in college classrooms are insulated from tespectful discussions of and efforts to better understand cultures and religions different from ourselves. A friend of mine, retired Navy SEAL with over 40 years of active military service, constantly reminds me that when we focus on our collective strengths our weaknesses disappear. Wise counsel from someone who has firsthand experience living and serving in the Middle East.

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