The untold cases of Islamophobia in schools

Fourteen year olds resolutely defending hostility towards their Muslim neighbours.

When it was said that nothing justified the abuse of a woman just because she decided to dress differently, the response was that it was because “she probably has a bomb underneath her clothes”.

Muslims were openly derided as terrorists by a significant number of over zealous white students.

Students whom I later realised were themselves victims of a raucous media campaign to give them an enemy and distract them from the disfranchisement and misery faced by many of their families.

Perhaps our words and slides were just too high brow and academic for young minds to relate to.

So when a victim stood to speak honestly and emotionally of her harrowing experiences which included having dogs set upon her and her young children and having an unopened beer can thrown at her whilst she was driving, the unrelenting coldness amongst the audience remained.

Maybe the sight of a young classmate breaking down in tears after relating the incident of seeing his mother racially abused at a local supermarket over the weekend just gone would bring a modicum of sympathy. Again none was forthcoming.

Amongst the young faces and clearly in the minority young Muslim girls wearing hijabs, others without and their male compatriots sat glum faced seemingly unable to speak up or defend their rights to be treated as human beings.

Faisal Hanif recounts his experience of promoting human rights in a Rotherham secondary school.

Asian Image, 15 September 2014