This paper suggests tactics for use by college instructors discussing the influence of fundamentalism on cultures influenced by Islam. Although this topic is an important element in many cultural geography courses in American universities, it has become sensitive in recent years because a substantial minority of Americans consider terrorism and fundamentalism to reflect the true nature of Islam. American students who hold this conviction may be unwilling to accept contradictory information. Instructors should understand the basis for students' misunderstanding of this topic, and cultural geography courses should be designed to alleviate such unfounded tensions. Misleading portrayals of Islam in popular media, and fear of terrorism and social otherness—that is, the perception that a social group is different from and inferior to one's own—can make students unreceptive to scholarly understandings of the relationship between fundamentalism and Islam. These obstacles may be addressed by first explaining that fundamentalism can be an element of either religious or secular ideologies, then identifying analogies between fundamentalism in the United States and among Islamic cultures. Vociferous competition between fundamentalist and moderate ideas is a visible cultural phenomenon in the contemporary United States. Some specific analogies are suggested for presenting this topic without creating resentment among students.

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