Baghdad Early Islamic Civilisation Assembly
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This assembly is intended as a celebration of learning and toleration. And it is to this end that I focus on the work of the individual scholars, working in unison in Baghdad, during this Golden Age.
I include a brief comparison of ‘East and West’– comparing London and Baghdad.
Cast size: 30 - easily adaptable up or down as, besides the Narrator, the speaking parts are just numbered 1 - 29.
Duration: Around 15 minutes reading time (not including music suggestions)
Sample Text:Music 1 Golden Years – David Bowie; or Imagine – John Lennon
(Children file in, taking places along two rows of 15, facing the audience)
Narrator: Good morning and welcome to our assembly on
Whole cast: (Together) Baghdad and Early Islamic Civilisation
(Child 1, 2 and 3 stand up with 3 banners: Golden Age, Learning and Tolerance)
Narrator: Aha! And when was this Golden Age?
Child 1: It was between the seventh and thirteen centuries. That is, around six to twelve hundred A.D.
Narrator: That’s a long time (looking towards Child 2 and 3) to be learned and tolerant!
Child 4: Oh. You’d be surprised what mankind is capable of when the conditions are right!
Narrator: (Looking at cast) Well. I think we need to find out what these ‘conditions’ were, don’t you?
(Narrator ushers Child 2 and 3 with banners Learning and Tolerance to front of ‘stage’)
After all, aren’t Learning
(Child 2 waves banner)
Child 3 waves banner)
Two of the most important ingredients to a happy and stable society?
Child 4: And a happy and stable school!
Child 5: Yes, we (gesturing to cast) have all learned a huge amount about the importance of Learning and Tolerance
Child 6: Just by doing this assembly!
Narrator: How so?
Child 7: Well, we’ve learned all about this amazing civilisation that we knew nothing about before
Child 8: And we’ve learned how it actually was, and is, possible to work together for the greater good.
Narrator: Wait a minute! You’ve lost me on that last bit – the greater good?
Child 9: What we mean by ‘the greater good’ is – seeing the bigger picture.
Child 10: And that’s what education allows.
Child 11: That’s what education encourages.
Child 12: It gives opportunities for individual people to achieve their own maximum potential
Child 13: And use it to benefit the whole of mankind.
Narrator: Wow! That’s a pretty big achievement!
Child 13: Which is why we need education – which comes from the latin educere – to lead out.
Child 14: I think what we’re trying to say here is
Child 2: Learning is not just for a select few – it is a gift to be shared, with everyone
Child 3: So everyone gains! We’re all winners.
Narrator: Which is why tolerance is so important?
Child 3: Precisely. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Every opinion is equally important.
Child 14: And it’s so important that we always remember and respect that.
Narrator: (Applauding) Absolutely. So, let’s return to that Golden Age of Islamic Civilisation and learn about them.
But I have a question. Where does the word Islam come from?
Child 15: Islam means ‘submission to God’s will’.
Narrator: Ah! So Islam is a religion?
Child 16: Yes, but also equally important, a way of life. Islam is from a word meaning peace – and Baghdad was known as the City of Peace!
Narrator: Huh! Shame about what was going on in Europe at that time!
Child 17: (Holding banner up, with words ‘The Dark Ages’) Indeed. The Dark Ages!
Narrator: Oh dear! Maybe we need to throw some light on these! Maybe it would be useful to compare
Child 17: The Dark Ages – in Europe!
Child 1: The Golden Age – in Baghdad!