My career as a history teacher began in 1970. Scholars at that time viewed medieval through modern history through the prism of technological progress, the evolution of democracy, and the struggle between the competing ideologies of capitalism and communism.
By 1990, the curriculum was changing. Communism had collapsed and a new world order was emerging. The West, led by America and the European Union, felt affirmed by history in the success of globalization, capitalism, communications technology, and democracy.
By 2011, the teacher has had to make further adjustments. The West has awakened to the fact that there is more at play in the world than their brand of values. One of the new realities that plays itself out in the world and in our neighborhoods is the arrival of Islam.
When I started teaching in 1970 there were reportedly 1,335 Muslims in British Columbia. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (www.pewforum.org) claims that in 2010 there were 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, a number that is anticipated to rise to over 2.2 billion by 2030. In Canada and the United States, the Muslim population in 2010 numbered 940,000 and 2,600,000, respectively. By 2030, it is anticipated those numbers will rise to 2,700,000 (Canada) and 6,200,000 (United States). These facts suggest the growing global presence of Islam.
The question for educators in Christian schools is this: Will our students know about Islam and how it has shaped the history of the world since the sixth century? Are our students aware that the Muslim presence will continue to grow and take on a more public face in Canada and the United States?