Lesson Plans

Home, Community, and Tradition: Ramadan in Refuge

 Image by Alice Su. Germany, 2017.

Image by Alice Su. Germany, 2017.

This year, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will conclude on June 5. This short lesson takes a look at a story about refugees in Germany who are reckoning with religion and identity while displaced from their homes during Ramadan.


Think about your favorite holiday that you celebrate with your family.

  • What traditions do you practice during this holiday?
  • How would your traditions change if you had to celebrate the holiday in a different country? How would they change if you couldn't celebrate with your family?

Reading and Discussion:

1. Read this story from Alice Su's reporting project, "Religion for the Resettled."

2. In small groups or as a class, discuss:

  • What are some reasons for why these refugees have left their home countries?
  • What are some reasons people in the story cite for not feeling at home in Germany? For not feeling at home in the pre-existing Muslim community there?
  • Nayer Incorvaia suggests that, while Islam does not pose any threat to German society or the refugees, "loss of identity" and "alienation" do. What does this mean? 
  • How are people in the story seeking community? What do you think others might be able to do to support them in finding and creating community?


Take a look at these BBC photos of Ramadan around the world.

1. In pairs, then as a class, answer the following question: What major similarities and differences can you identify among the photos?

2. Complete the following scavenger hunt:

  • Where can you find examples of people celebrating in community?
  • Where can you find examples of people celebrating in the face of challenges?
  • Where can you find people practicing a tradition that looks similar to your own?
  • Where can you find people practicing a tradition that looks different from your own?

Extension Activities:

Option 1. Ask permission from leaders at a local mosque or Islamic Center to interview them and/or other people they recommend speaking with. Write a profile of them, focusing on how they celebrate the month of Ramadan and how they find and create community for themselves. Ask whether it would be appropriate for you to attend any services or celebrations and take photos. Be sure to ask the leader(s) how you can be respectful of people practicing their religion and traditions when taking pictures and conducting interviews, and to follow the advice you are given.

Option 2. Many of the refugees interviewed in "Religion for the Resettled" talk about the importance of integration for their emotional and practical wellbeing. How can you welcome refugees and immigrants in your own community and support them with integration? Find a local organization that is seeking volunteers to help new community members practice English, study for the citizenship exam, or navigate everyday life. If you can't find one, work with your teachers and administration to create one at your school!

Educator Notes: 

If you are interested in finding ways to support students who are observing Ramadan, here is a resource with suggestions.

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