Shakespeare & Islam: Marsden Heights' intercultural learning initiative

Marsden Heights are building on parallels between Shakespearean literature and the Muslim faith.

Marsden Heights are building on parallels between Shakespearean literature and the Muslim faith.

0
Have your say

Spotting parallels between Shakespearean literature and the Muslim faith, a Nelson teacher has suggested an educational initiative to engage pupils in a more astute style.

Nabil Jamil, Leading Practitioner (English) at Marsden Heights Community College, is keen to offer students a reference point for their studies of Shakespeare and religion, and has suggested an “alignment of community and its heritage.”

An example of a new Shakespeare & Islam lessons unfold.

An example of a new Shakespeare & Islam lessons unfold.

“Marsden Heights, with me; the new Head, Mrs Alyson Littlewood; and the lead of the English Department, Sarah Minton are working to create a sustainable model for improvement for student engagement,” said Mr Jamil. “Classical English literature [is] an avenue that can be explored.”

Mr Jamil, inspired by Islamic Awareness Week - an annual celebration of Islamic culture and the Muslim faith set up in 1994 - sees clean links between the virtues extolled by Shakespeare’s timeless prose, and the tenets of Islam.

“The great literature our children study can be deeply connected to some of the fundamental tenants of their faith,” Mr Jamil explained. “It’s about helping engage disengaged Muslims in classical English literature.
“For us Muslims who consider the West to be our home, [Shakespeare’s] value as an icon of English Literature is to be embraced and celebrated,” he added.

This year, Islamic Awareness Week saw photographs of Islamic lands, people, and architecture projected onto the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London in an act of cultural and historic alignment.

Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Globe Education, said: “Shakespeare and the Globe are icons of Britishness. This way the Globe is being embraced by Islam. I thought it would be a beautiful, visual symbol of what we’re trying to do.”

Embracing religious and ethnic diversity is also one of the core principals of Mr Jamil’s cause as well; “This will naturally strengthen the platform for integration,” he said.

“Cultural parallels that exist between Muslim and British culture offer us promising channels for intercultural understanding.”