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Policy Area 4: Muslim youth and education

Introduction

The Muslim population in Britain has a very young demographic profile, with 33% of Muslims in Britain aged 15 or under according to the 2011 Census. However, they continue to face significant economic disadvantages, with 46% of Muslims living in the 10% most deprived districts in England and Wales. BME students, including Muslims, are also less likely to have parents in higher management careers, go on to ‘elite’ universities, or gain first-class degrees.

Bullying motivated by racism also remains a widespread problem in schools with Childline’s Can I Tell you Something report highlighting a 69% increase in racist bullying. This report also emphasised frequently used terms as being a bomber and terrorist.

In addition to this, the NSPCC reported an increase in helpline calls relating to racial and religious bullying or hate crimes in Manchester and London. Muslim, as well as Sikh, Christian, Black and Jewish children as young as nine have contacted the helplines, some of whom have reported that the treatment they have experienced is so cruel that they have physically harmed themselves, and many have expressed a wish to be someone else.

Policy Pledges:

  1. Commit to developing teaching materials to educate young people on Islamophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism, and prioritise religious education in the national curriculum to prepare young people for life in a religiously plural society.
  2. Commit to strengthening powers of teachers to deal with racist and Islamophobic bullying in schools, whilst supporting the education sector in developing Islamophobia awareness training programmes designed to equip staff with the skills to identify and tackle hate incidents in schools.
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