LASALLE COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL

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1 LASALLE COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN SUMMER READING 2012 SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT BOOK: Children of Jihad by Jared Cohen ISBN: 13: During your reading you will be responsible for the following. Have completed the reading of Children of Jihad upon your arrival on the first day of school. Have typed responses to one (1) question from each of the chapters in the reading guide for Children of Jihad, to be handed in on the first day of school. An assessment (quiz/test) on Children of Jihad will be given within the first cycle of the school year. A paper assignment will be given in the first cycle (due 2-3 weeks later on Children of Jihad You will read the following READING GUIDE to the book Children of Jihad. CHILDREN OF JIHAD Defying foreign government orders and interviewing terrorists face to face, a young American tour of hostile lands to learn about Middle Eastern youth---and uncovers a subculture that defies every stereotype. Classrooms were never sufficient for Jared Cohen; he wanted to learn about global affairs by witnessing them firsthand. During his undergraduate years Cohen travelled extensively to Africa--often to war-torn countries, putting himself at risk to see the world firsthand. While studying on a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford, he took a crash course in Arabic, read voraciously on the history and culture of the Middle East, and in 2004 he embarked on the first of a series of incredible journeys to the Middle East. In an effort to try to understand the spread of radical Islamist violence, he focused his research on Muslim youth. The result is Children of Jihad, a portrait of paradox that probes much deeper than any journalist or pundit ever could. Written with candor and featuring dozens of eye-opening photographs, Cohen's account begins in Lebanon, where he interviews Hezbollah members at, of all places, a McDonald's. In Iran, he defies government threats and sneaks into underground parties, where bootleg liquor, Western music, and the Internet are all easy to access. His risky itinerary also takes him to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, borderlands in Syria, the insurgency hotbed of Mosul, and other frontline locales. At each turn, he observes a culture at an uncanny crossroads: Bedouin shepherds with satellite dishes to provide Western TV shows, young women wearing garish makeup despite religious mandates, teenagers sending secret text messages and arranging illicit trysts. Gripping and daring, Children of Jihad shows us the future through the eyes of those who are shaping it.

2 Prologue Lebanon What does Hezbollah translate to? What are some of the services this group provides for the people in Lebanon that help increase its popularity? 2. One of the men Cohen meets says the following, "We (Hezbollah) hate the United States government and we hate Israel, but the Jewish and American people have done nothing to us." What is the distinction he is drawing? Do you believe it is a valid distinction? 3. According to the author how has technology played a role in shaping the values and opinions of youth in the Middle East? 4. In explaining his motivation for the book and his trips in general Cohen claims, "...one day in these regions yielded more knowledge than 6 months in the classroom." How and why is experience such a powerful teacher? Chapter 1 Destination Iran 1. America and Iran were not always enemies. What were some of the events that led to the turbulent relationship between these two countries? 2. What was Cohen s primary reason for traveling to Iran? What did he wish to accomplish? 3. What is a police state? What are some examples of this as Jared attempted to travel and interview Iranians throughout most of this chapter? 4. What impact did his experience at Behesht-e Zahra martyr s cemetery have on Jared? 5. What were the results of the Iran-Iraq War that raged throughout the 1980 s? What result did this have on the current generation of Iranians? What percentage of Iranians were youths? 6. Describe Cohen s weakest moment which he endures in this chapter. Why did he feel such fear and helplessness? 7. What was the turning point in Cohen s first week in Iran? 8. Why does Cohen switch from wanting to interview government officials to wanting to interview the Iranian youth? How did he plan to do this? Chapter 2 Removing the Shackles 1. How has Iran s universities served as notorious venues for student resistance in the past? Give examples why. 2. What militant groups does the government have as part of the police state in Iran and how did they carry out their authority? 3. What stereotypes of Iranian women were unearthed by Cohen during his time at the university and thereafter? How did they compare to American women?

3 4. Cohen meets a girl named Gita at the university and she says the following in regards to the September 11 th attacks: You know, on that day, all of Iran wept for America. We felt like our brothers and our sisters were suffering and we really wept. Was this a typical feeling of the Iranian youth? 5. Cohen refers to the way the Iranian youth act as social resistance. What are some examples of this social resistance? 6. Describe the scene Cohen encountered when he traveled to Imam Square with Gita. Did the scenes he encountered and the slogans he read off the walls represent the people of Iran, according to Gita? 7. How did much of the Iranian youth Cohen encountered feel about the government and the Mullah s in power? Chapter 3 Democracy after Dark 1. Why is Nezam one of the most important people Cohen met in Iran? 2. According to many of the young Iranians that Cohen talked to experienced brain drain in the Islamic Republic; why do many of them want to leave their homes and seek opportunities outside of the country? 3. The Internet is their democratic society. Explain this quote. 4. How do the youth of Iran resist the Morals Police and the brutal government regime? 5. Explain the title of the chapter, Democracy after Dark. Why does Cohen choose that title? Give examples why. Chapter 4 Nuclear Pride 1. What is the origin of the Iranian Nuclear program? 2. According to Cohen, did the majority of people in Iran support or condemn the government s nuclear program? 3. How did the Iranians Cohen encountered justify the continual defiance of Iranian nuclear program? Chapter 5 Death to America 1. What four factors enabled current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to win to the June 2005 elections in Iran? 2. According to Cohen s source, Ahmadinejad did not have the real power in Iran; If he did not then who did? (According to his sources?) 3. What is indoctrination? Who were some of the easiest Iranians to indoctrinate? Why? 4. Who are the True Believers? How do they differ from the majority of Iranians? 5. What military organizations does Cohen run into in the chapter? How are the Basij Forces treated by many Iranians? 6. Cohen hunts for a Synagogue in Iran. Is he successful? What was his experience like?

4 Chapter 6 The Calm Before the Storm 1. How does Beirut remind Cohen of Paris? 2. Lebanon is host to a variety of ethnicities and religions. Identify some of the main groups the Cohen talks about in the chapter. 3. According to Cohen, why did the Lebanese people lack a true identity? 4. What are the origins of the Lebanon s civil war? 5. What led to the birth of Hezbollah? 6. What is the significance of the all-night parties and night clubs in Lebanon in regards to the diverse groups of people coexisting there? 7. Cohen s friend Hibah tells him Jared, you must understand. We never knew who we were. How did the Lebanese finally become Lebanese? 8. What were some of the general attitudes of the Lebanese Youth leading up to the Cedar Revolution? 9. What kind of society was the current generation of Lebanese Youth born into? Be as specific as you can. How did they distract themselves from this bleak life? 10. Nightlife and parties are a big part of the Lebanese youth s lifestyle. Do these young people truly enjoy this lifestyle or is this a front put on by many of the youth in Lebanon? What are most of the young people s true feelings? 11. Why do so many women (as well as men) choose to come to Lebanon form Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and across the Middle East? Chapter 7 The All-Night Party of God 1. What was the Iranian connection to Hezbollah? Why was Lebanon a target for Iranian intervention after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982? 2. What were the three purposes that Hezbollah was created for? 3. How is Hezbollah s global network described? 4. Even those who despise Hezbollah admit they have a charismatic leader and in some ways respect the organization. What tactics does Hezbollah implore to gain popular support in Lebanon? Why do many see them as a heroic force? 5. During the day, the members of Hezbollah that Cohen interviewed were religious extremists committed to the establishment of an Islamic Republic. However, according to Cohen, he saw many of these men after hours. According to Jared, how did many of these religious extremist spend their time after hours? 6. What role do members of Hezbollah play on college campuses in Lebanon? 7. How did the members of Hezbollah discuss the organizations disputes with Israel? Their view of the Palestinian cause? What did they believe was the strongest weapon they had to fight Israel with? 8. After all the interviews Jared did with members of Hezbollah in Lebanon, how did these men respond to Cohen after his return to Lebanon from Iraq?

5 Chapter 8 Struggling for Dignity 1) How does the author gain access to the Palestinian refugee camps? What are some of his fears about going there? What does he experience there? 2) What are some of the major issues facing youth in the camps? 3) Upon leaving the refugee camp of Mia Mia, Cohen observes, "We are all young, but we are at the mercy of politics and longstanding hatreds." What does this suggest about the role history plays in shaping the present? 4) What are some of the reasons the young militants the author meets in the camp of Ayn al-hiwah give for joining up? How are these reasons different than the motivations of their parent's generation? 5) How do the young militants in Ayn al-hiwah feel Palestinians are portrayed by the Western media? 6) In regards to Palestinian youth, Cohen declares, "The Internet cafes, satellite televisions, and mobile phones have become their information mosques." Explain this statement. 7) Fathi Abou El Ardaat, the leader of the Ayn-al Hiwah youth union, describes for the author four stages of suffering for the Palestinian student. What are they? Chapter 9 Babies in the Ba'ath Party 1) What is the Ba'ath movement and how is it different than Islamic movements? 2) How did Hafez al-assad rule Syria? 3) What were Syrian youth taught about Democracy? 4) How do some young Syrian women express their individuality? 5) What are the relationships like among the different Syrian ethnic and religious groups? 6) Why are Sunni Syrians reluctant to get involved in politics? Chapter 10 The Road to Mesopotamia 1) Cohen observes that most youth in the Middle East have not read the Quran cover to cover. Does that surprise you? What issues does this sometimes lead to? 2) The Syrian shopkeeper from whom the author buys a Quran believes America hates Islam and wants to destroy the religion. Why do you think he believes this? 3) Why does Cohen's drivers attitude change once he learns the author is an American and wants to go to Iraq?

6 Chapter 11 Iraqis Who Like Us 1) Who are the Kurds? How are they different from other groups in Iraq? 2) What is the history of the Kurdish Democratic Party? What was the fate of the Kurds during the Iran - Iraq war? 3) What happened to the Kurdistan region of Iraq after the end of the 1st Gulf War? 4) What is the significance of cell phones, satellite televisions and the Internet for Kurds and in particular for the children in the slums of Arbil? 5) What were some of the atrocities Kurds faced under Saddam Hussein's regime? 6) Describe Ansar al-islam. 7) What is the Kurdistan Student Union? What role does it play? 8) Why do Kurds want to be independent from the Republic of Iraq? Chapter 12 Waking Up in the Insurgency 1) How does Cohen end up in the middle of Mosul? Why is he frightened by this? 2) What are the author's interactions with the U.S. soldiers at the Iraq - Syria border like? 3) What is Cohen's overall impression of his time in Iraq? Epilogue The Youth Party 1) In regards to the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in the summer of 2006, one of the author's Lebanese friends laments, "Lebanon is a country that almost was, but will never be, because it has bad neighbors." What do you think they mean by that statement? 2) Another person Cohen met in Lebanon remarked, "On 9/11 we prayed for you and our hearts were with the people of America." As you come to the end of your reading of the book how do you now understand that sentiment? 3) Despite all of the violence and setbacks in the Middle East Cohen argues, "The "them" I met -the young men and women of the Middle East- should make us all very hopeful for the future. Do you agree with his conclusion? Why or why not? 4) The author constantly learns in his travels that Middle Eastern youth are able to distinguish between governments, people and religions. Are we in the United States as adept at making those same distinctions? After reading do you see the Middle East differently? 5) Another theme Cohen emphasizes is the impact of technology on the region and particularly on the youth of the Middle East. What role do you think technology will play going forward?

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