Sharing the Abdelkader Story – Tools, Resources, and Opportunities
Despite America’s long and deep interactions with the Middle East and other Muslim societies, Americans often know very little about Muslims–their faith, their communities, their dreams and fears. The 501c3 non-profit Abdelkader Education Project (AEP, Inc.) addresses that knowledge gap with a sensitive collection of resources and educational initiatives for both non-Muslims and Muslims via the life story of Emir Abdelkader. His powerful and non-threatening example of Islamic leadership in compassion and highest moral values counters stereotypes.
Emir Abdelkader – Respected from Missouri to Moscow to Mecca
The Abdelkader Education Project was born in association with the biography, Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883) by John W. Kiser, which sensitively combines the political, historical and ethical dimensions of the famous Arab warrior-scholar-statesman. His fame was such that an Iowa settlement was named “Elkader” as a sign of admiration for the emir’s struggle against French colonization; Louis-Napoleon liberated Abdelkader and became a lead supporter; and President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Sir Richard Burton, Pope Pius IX and Emir Shamil counted among his admirers. Upon his death in 1883, the New York Times eulogized “…The nobility of his character won him the admiration of the world… He was one of the few great men of the century.”
Emir Abdelkader – Message for Today
Abdelkader’s legacy offers valuable lessons for comprehending the volatile mix of religious and political conflicts which dominate global contemporary media. He is remembered as an esteemed humanitarian, ethical military leader, and religious scholar. His story is now widely admired and transcends culture and faith traditions.
Emir Abdelkader – Educational Resources
AEP continues to create resources for the classroom based on Commander of the Faithful. These educational materials focus on how the moral compass provided by the emir’s faith and deep learning propelled him to become one of 19th century’s most admired leaders. Abdelkader’s principled resistance to French colonization and his conduct during war, peace, betrayal and exile is considered by many Muslims to represent the true meaning of jihad—the daily struggle to live righteously in both war and peace, and not succumb to the demons of anger, hatred or revenge.
Abdelkader’s story is relevant to major social studies themes connected to better understanding of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims: 1) Islam in relation to other world religions, particularly the Abrahamic faiths; 2) Islamic and Western traditions of ethical struggle/just war; and 3) comparative studies of colonialism and resistance in North America, Algeria, India and other countries.
Target audiences include K-12 public and private schools, colleges and universities, libraries and civic book clubs, military, government, and media.