Welsh schools urged to tackle Islamophobia
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Monday January 15 2018
Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, has urged schools to raise awareness of Islamophobia, BBC News reports.
According to the Home Office, religious hate crime increased by 35% in 2016-17. During the same time, teachers from 16 of the 22 local authorities in Wales reported incidents of racism.
Ms Holland said: “I’ve spoken to young Muslims from across Wales who’ve told me that they’re often scared in their communities, that they’ve directly experienced abuse at school, and that they’re tired of the way Islam is often portrayed by the media, and the effect this has on the views of their non-Muslim peers.”
Muslim pupils have shared their experiences as part of an effort to produce resources to be used in the classrooms.
Shutha, 15, who has been a recipient of Islamophobic abuse, said: “I used to think it was people being horrible but as I grew older I realised that people aren’t really educated on the topic of Islam, the topic of what we do in our religion, why we do it and why we dress a certain way, why our beliefs are a certain way.”
Ibby, 17, who was “verbally assaulted” by people on the street, said: “Early intervention is what’s needed before the problem becomes a serious problem.
“Teaching young people about religion, about culture is hugely important”.
Lesson plans produced for the project have been trialled in schools in Swansea, Cardiff and Neath, and have reportedly received positive feedback from pupils.
Fiona Thomas, a teacher at Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive in Neath, added: “The resources conveyed the message clearly to our students that as humans we are all the same, enjoying playing football, listening to music and playing on the Xbox.”
Ms Holland said she recognised the challenge faced by teachers in tackling sensitive issues.
“We know teachers can sometimes feel unsure and nervous about delivering lessons on topics like this, and I hope this resource gives teachers the necessary guidance and support”, she said.