I am a sixth year teacher who is getting ready to teach Elie Wiesel's Night to freshmen as a part of our standard curriculum. Usually my students have already heard a lot about the Holocaust, and many of them have read The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school. Last year, however, I had a first. I had a Muslim student who refused to read the text because of the current political situation in Israel/Palestine. Because of some things that happened to her family she felt unable to read the text. I first blamed myself for not recognizing that this may be a problem (isn't it interesting how our blind spots become evident sometimes...) and we worked out an alternative assignment.
Going in to this year I would be interested in some ideas about how to teach Night in this context. I know I have several Muslim students again this year and I would like to both teach the texts as well as respect the tension that I imagine they feel.
What I've been thinking about so far is to frame Night in the context of 20th century genocides and discuss other genocides along with it (Pol Pot in Cambodia, The Armenian Genocide, Rawanda, etc.). I may also have the students read another book, or story, in connection to Night that analyzes the current tension in the region (any recommendations?) Any other thoughts would be helpful!