Report reveals ‘worrying’ levels of Islamophobia in city schools
Campaign group Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) has launched a new report on experiences of Islamophobia amongst Muslim students at schools in Edinburgh. The report reveals ‘worrying’ levels of both verbal and physical abuse.
The report, which was launched by SACC at Annadale Street Mosque last night, reveals that 55% of high school respondents said that they had encountered verbal Islamophobia, and 35% said they had encountered verbal Islamophobia personally. 53% of primary school respondents said that they had encountered verbal Islamophobia, and 29% said that they had encountered verbal Islamophobia personally.
The report was written by Samena Dean with a foreword by Arzu Merali and is published by SACC. Samena is a youth worker, community activist and a full-time mother of three and has been working with the Edinburgh Muslim community on Islamophobia for a number of years.
The report details findings obtained from interviews with 100 students from primary and secondary schools across Edinburgh. The interviews were conducted at after-school Islamic Studies groups and Muslim youth groups. To protect individuals’ privacy, the report does not categorise experiences by locality and does not name particular schools.
Speaking before the report launch, Samena Dean said: “The radicalisation of the Muslim identity by Islamophobic rhetoric has led to harmful effects of Islamophobic encounters that young people face whilst carrying out normal day to day activities such as going to school.”
Richard Haley, Chair of SACC said: “You have only to open a newspaper to see that Islamophobia is a serious and growing problem in our society. Naturally, it doesn’t stop at the school gates. Teachers are uniquely placed to tackle this issue amongst the young. I hope that Samena Dean’s work will help to stimulate greater recognition of Islamophobia and greater empathy for those who suffer as a result of it.”
Arzu Merali, who is head of research at Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: “This report is a very apt and timely intervention at a critical moment. The climate of Anti-Muslim racism will obviously impact children, as this report highlights. Its publication is an opportunity for authorities to make appropriate inquiries and develop policies that can address the issues raised.”
For a copy of the report visit the SACC website at www.sacc,org.uk