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 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) www.truejihad.com 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.
Sharing the Abdelkader Story – Educational Tools, Resources, and Opportunities
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.
The following educator and public resources and opportunities are available to increase the understanding of Abdelkader, Muslims and Islam’s relationship with the West.
Abdelkader Global Leadership Prize essay contests with honors and awards challenge students to read, analyze, and write about Abdelkader’s life during war, peace and exile with relevance for today’s global society. Essay contests include U.S. high school and college competitions.
Education materials and resources are available for public and private schools, colleges and universities, libraries and civic book clubs in the U.S. and abroad regarding the relevance of Emir Abdelkader’s life for better understanding of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.
- “Embodying the Nation: George Washington, Abdelkader, and Gandhi” Document-based activity.
- “Emir Abdelkader: A Muslim Hero for our time” ISLAMIC NETWORKS GROUP (ING) in California just released a new online curriculum for middle school/high school/college students.
- Harvard Pluralism Project: Rumors in Damascus
Emir Abdelkader and Ethical Leadership
A five-page A case and a one-page B case that tells the story of Emir Abd el-Kader, a 19th century Algerian statesman, scholar, and warrior, who is faced with a decision of whether or not to protect Christians under attack in Damascus. His actions continue to inspire many around the globe. (This case study and study guide was developed in partnership with Pluralism Project Affiliate John Kiser, author of Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader, Tamar Miller, and the Abd el-Kader Education Project, Inc.)
AEP Forum in Elkader, Iowa is a public event that annually hosts dignitaries and presenters from across the U.S. and beyond to commemorate Abdelkader’s legacy and to honor essay students.
AEP presentations workshops and collaborations are available across the U.S. and beyond.