Currently, citizens of Iran are protesting for more freedoms. Iran is in the region commonly referred to as the Middle East. Historically, it was part of Persia. The major religion in Iran is Shia Islam, after the Islamic revolution there in 1979. In the early 1980s, Islamic authorities began requiring women to follow a strict dress code, including wearing a hijab. A hijab is an article of clothing used to cover women’s hair. The government also has a morality police force, also known as the Guidance Patrol. They mainly enforce the Islamic dress code, which includes wearing a hijab, not showing off the woman’s body, not showing too much skin, and other rules. These officials also may focus on alcohol consumption or interfere in mixed gatherings of men and women who are not related. Protesting for freedoms, such as women showing their hair, is one example of the many kinds of conflict that have affected the region for centuries.
The Middle East is rich in oil resources. Because oil is valued all over the world as a nonrenewable resource, the stores of oil in the region provide it international power. Historically, however, the cultures and major religions there are dissimilar from those of the West. Conflict among other nearby countries and with the West have long been part of the Middle East’s history.
Since we are Maps101, we have a lot of maps. (We have a lot of articles, lessons, interactive activities, and videos, too!) But this week, we are focusing mainly on how maps can help provide context for events to your classroom. We will look at the current protests in Iran, the relationship between the U.S. and Iran, the U.S. at war in Afghanistan, and maps that support student understanding of the resources and cultures of the greater area. Let’s take a deeper look into the often talked about but little understood region known as the Middle East.