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Protecting Muslim Identities – Edinburgh Launch

Protecting Muslim Identities – Edinburgh Launch

Categories: Past Event Articles

Friday September 30 2022

On Sunday 25th September, MEND held the launch event of the Nurturing Muslim Identities (NMI) initiative at Blackhall Mosque, Edinburgh led by Azhar Qayum – CEO of MEND.

This event marked the commencement of the NMI initiative which seeks to protect the Muslim identity of children in schools across the country. Events like this aim to support local communities and parents to work with local schools in relation to children being able to practice their faith in schools. The campaign aims to inform parents about the steps they can take to ensure their children are able to do so.

During the event, Azhar Qayum CEO of MEND spoke about the importance of protecting the religious identity of the youth and how building bridges in our communities is fundamental in ensuring they are able to practice their faith at school. The three key aims of this initiative were explained: securing access to prayer spaces, ensuring school pupils are able to have access to halal school meals, and being able to wear religious dress.

Following the presentation, attendees were invited to take part in a question and answers session which led to an exciting discussion on the impact of Islamophobia and the crucial next steps we can all take to protect the religious identity of young Muslims today. The audience also heard a first-hand account from a local school pupil who spoke about the difficulty some of his friends face in navigating their school’s impractical prayer space registration policy.

The Legislation Behind the Initiative

Understanding the legislation behind the NMI initiative is a key part of protecting the Islamic identity of our youth. ‘Religion and belief’ is one of the protected characteristics described in the Equality Act 2010 and this Act is key in preserving the religious identity of children in schools. The Act explains how public bodies (such as schools) must give due regard to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and any other unlawful conduct in the Equality Act 2010.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Another piece of legislation crucial in the protection of the rights of children to practice their faith in schools is Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (freedom of thought, belief and religion). This Act protects the right to access spaces to worship and wear religious dress.

MEND would like to thank Blackhall Mosque for their hospitality and assistance in arranging this event. We would also like to thank all those who attended.


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