a. Explain the differences between an ethnic group and a religious group.

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SS7G8 The student will describe the diverse cultures of the people who live in Southwest Asia (Middle East). a. Explain the differences between an ethnic group and a religious group. b. Explain the diversity of religions within the Arabs, Persians, and Kurds.
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SS7G8 The student will describe the diverse cultures of the people who live in Southwest Asia (Middle East). a. Explain the differences between an ethnic group and a religious group. b. Explain the diversity of religions within the Arabs, Persians, and Kurds. c. Compare and contrast the prominent religions in Southwest Asia (Middle East): Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. d. Explain the reason for the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims. What is the difference between a religious group and an ethnic group?
  • Religious Group –
  • shares a belief system in a god or gods, with a specific set of rituals and literature.
  • People from different ethnic groups can share a religion.
  • What examples can you think of?
  • What is the difference between a religious group and an ethnic group?
  • Ethnic Group –
  • a group of people who share cultural ideas and beliefs that have been a part of their community for generations.
  • What cultural ideas? Give some examples.
  • You can change religious groups, but not ethnic groups.
  • Prominent Ethnic Groups of the Middle East
  • Arab
  • Persian
  • Kurd
  • Arabs
  • Largest ethnic group in SW Asia
  • Being Arab does not mean a person follows a specific religion. Arabs can be Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheistic, etc…
  • Most Arabs in SW Asia today follow Islam, specifically Sunni Islam (85% of Arabs world wide), but there has been a group identified as Arab longer than there has been a religion called Islam.
  • Most Arabs speak the Arabic language
  • Persian
  • Most Persians in SW Asia can be found in Iran, which was known as Persia until its name changed following WWI.
  • Persians can follow any religion, although most in Iran practice Shia Islam (15% of Muslims worldwide follow Shia)
  • Most Persians speak Farsi
  • Kurd
  • Ethnic group that lives in several different countries in SW Asia. Most are found in the mountains where Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq meet.
  • Most speak Kurdish
  • Kurds can choose to follow any religion, though the majority of Kurds in SW Asia follow Sunni Islam
  • Many Kurdish people hope to have their own independent nation
  • Review Questions
  • Which ethnic group is most numerous in SW Asia?
  • Arabs
  • What modern country is the home to those who call themselves Persians?
  • Iran
  • What is the religion of most Persians is SW Asia?
  • Shia Islam
  • Review Questions
  • What is the religion of most Arabs in SW Asia?
  • Sunni Islam
  • What is the religion of most of the Kurds?
  • Sunni Islam
  • Activity
  • Create 3 separate Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast (show similarities and differences) the following pairs:
  • Arab and Persian
  • Kurd and Arab
  • Persian and Kurd
  • World Religions Founded in Southwest Asia
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Monotheistic – belief in only one God; when Judaism was founded, other ancient religions were polytheistic (belief in many gods)
  • Refers to God as Yahweh
  • Founded by Abraham, born in Mesopotamia sometime around 2000 B.C.
  • The Torah is the holy writing of Judaism
  • Various sites in Israel, such as the remains of the temple in Jerusalem, are considered sacred
  • Judaism
  • Believe that god made a covenant (agreement) with Abraham to make him the head of a new nation if he would dedicate himself and the Hebrew people to the worship of one God.
  • Present day Israel was the land believed to have been promised to Abraham
  • Various sites in Israel, such as the remains of the temple in Jerusalem, are considered sacred
  • Movie Time! Review Questions
  • What is the main belief that separated Judaism from other religions in the ancient world?
  • Monotheism
  • What is the holy writing of Judaism?
  • The Torah
  • Who founded Judaism?
  • Abraham
  • Christianity
  • Grew out of Judaism
  • Differs from Judaism in that Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah, or savior of man.
  • Founded by Jesus in around 30 A.D.
  • Monotheistic
  • God of Christianity refers to Yahweh from Judaism
  • The Bible is the holy book of Christianity
  • Christianity
  • Early Christianity had conflict with the Roman Empire. The Roman rulers saw Jesus as a threat to their authority. For this reason Jesus was sentenced to death.
  • By 300 AD Christianity had spread throughout the Roman Empire.
  • In 313 Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and ended harsh treatment of Christians in the Roman Empire.
  • Movie Time! Review Questions
  • Who founded Christianity?
  • Jesus
  • Why did Jesus have trouble with the Roman authorities?
  • Romans saw him as a threat to the Empire
  • Why was Christianity eventually accepted by the Roman Empire?
  • Emperor Constantine saw that many Romans had become Christian
  • Review Questions
  • What is the holy text of Christianity?
  • The Bible
  • Islam
  • Founded by Muhammad in around 622 A.D.
  • Monotheistic
  • Refers to God as Allah
  • The Quran is the holy book of Islam
  • The cities or Mecca and Medina are considered sacred as well as some sites in Jerusalem
  • Followers of Islam are called Muslims, which means “one who submits”
  • The Five Pillars of Islam
  • Shahada- the belief that “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”
  • Salat – praying five times a day facing Mecca
  • Sakat – charity to the poor
  • Sawm- fasting during daylight hours during the month of Ramadan
  • Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca during one’s lifetime. Pilgrimage is to make a journey for a religious purpose
  • Sunni and Shia Islam
  • Upon Muhammad’s death (632 AD) the Islamic community could not agree on a new leader. Islam was split into two main sects: Sunni and Shia
  • Sunni Islam
  • Felt that the leader of Islam should be the person who followed closest to Muhammad’s example, regardless of birth.
  • Largest branch of Islam worldwide
  • Worldwide about 85% of Muslims identify as Sunni
  • Shia Islam
  • Felt that the leader of Islam should follow Muhammad’s bloodline (relatives)
  • Worldwide about 15% of Muslims identify themselves as Shia
  • Iran is a majority Shia nation; in Iran over 90% of the population is Shia
  • Which ethnic group makes up the majority of Shia Muslims? (Hint: Look back over your notes)
  • Sunni and Shia Islam Sunni and Shia Graphs!
  • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/mideast/maps/demotext.html
  • Review Questions
  • What is the relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam?
  • All are monotheistic
  • Who founded Islam?
  • Muhammad
  • What issue led to the split between Sunni and Shia Islam?
  • They disagreed over who should lead the Muslim community after the death of Muhammad.
  • Review Questions
  • Which is the largest branch of Islam worldwide?
  • Sunni
  • What are followers of Islam called?
  • Muslims
  • What is the holy scripture of Islam?
  • The Quran
  • Activities
  • Place the founding of Islam, Judaism and Christianity in the correct order on a timeline. Be sure to include the year each was founded.
  • Create a Locke Triagram to compare and contrast Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Recommended
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