Children ‘bullied for their beliefs’

BeatbullyingOne in four children with a religious belief is bullied at school as a result of their faith, research shows.

The findings have prompted anti-bullying campaigners to urge ministers to make it compulsory for schools to record all incidents of faith-based bullying, as they have to do in cases of racism and homophobia.

The survey of more than 1,000 pupils by the anti-bullying charity BeatBullying, showed that 23 per cent of the pupils were bullied as a result of their faith. In addition, 9 per cent of those with a faith were bullied as a result of wearing religious symbols to school. One 13-year-old Muslim girl said: “These two girls knew we were fasting, they got me in the toilets and tried to force crisps down my throat; they were all laughing their heads off.”

Independent, 17 November 2008

Read the Beatbullying Interfaith Report (pdf) here.

The report contains many other disturbing accounts of Muslim pupils being verbally abused and physically assaulted:

“They pushed me down the stairs, kicked me, dragged me by [my] hair, broke my tooth and hit me with a chair. They said my dad did 7/7.” (Jagatveer age 15)

“They would call me Paki, tell me to go back to Paki land and live with Osama.” (Mavish age 13)

“I got called a Paki and told that my religion was stupid.” (Jabeen age 12)

“Sometimes I hear boys laughing about bombs in Iraq. They do it in front of me, laughing that more Muslims have been blown up.” (Aruni age 13)

Still, not to worry – over at the National Secular Society website NSS president Terry Sanderson assures us that these are “claims to be read with a pinch of salt”.