New report reveals "worrying" levels of Islamophobia at Edinburgh Schools

Press release from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC)

SACC will on Friday 2 June launch a new report on experiences of Islamophobia amongst Muslim students at schools in Edinburgh.

The report will reveal worrying levels of both verbal and physical abuse.

For example, the report will reveal that 55% of high school respondents said that they had encountered verbal Islamophobia, and 35% said they had encountered verbal Islamophobia personally. 53% of primary school respondents said that they had encountered verbal Islamophobia, and 29% said that they had encountered verbal Islamophobia personally.

The 18-page report was written by Samena Dean with a foreword by Arzu Merali and is published by SACC.

It describes findings obtained from interviews with 100 students from primary and secondary schools across Edinburgh. The interviews were conducted at after-school Islamic Studies groups and Muslim youth groups. To protect individuals' privacy, the report does not categorise experiences by locality and does not name particular schools.

The report will be launched at a public meeting to be held at Annandale Mosque, Edinburgh at 6.30pm on Friday 2 June.

Samena Dean, Hassan Rabbani (Imam and head of education and outreach, Annandale Mosque) and Arzu Merali (head of research, Islamic Human Rights Commission) will be speaking about the report.

Samena Dean is a youth worker, community activist and a full-time mother of three and has been working with the Edinburgh Muslim community on Islamophobia for a number of years.
 
Ben Macpherson MSP (SNP, Edinburgh Northern & Leith) and Councillor Gordon Munro (Labour, Leith) will also be speaking at the meeting and giving their initial reactions to the report's findings.
 
Samena Dean said:

"The radicalisation of the Muslim identity by Islamophobic rhetoric has led to harmful effects of Islamophobic encounters that young people face whilst carrying out normal day to day activities such as going to school."

Richard Haley, Chair of SACC said:

"You have only to open a newspaper to see that Islamophobia is a serious and growing problem in our society. Naturally, it doesn't stop at the school gates. Teachers are uniquely placed to tackle this issue amongst the young. I hope that Samena Dean's work will help to stimulate greater recognition of Islamophobia and greater empathy for those who suffer as a result of it."

Arzu Merali said:
 
"This report is a very apt and timely intervention at a critical moment. The climate of Anti-Muslim racism will obviously impact children, as this report highlights. Its publication is an opportunity for authorities to make appropriate inquiries and develop policies that can address the issues raised."

Notes

  1. Launch meeting: 6pm for 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Annandale Mosque, 45 Annandale Street, Edinburgh EH7 4AZ. Speakers: Samena Dean (community activist), Hassan Rabbani (Imam and head of education and outreach, Annandale Mosque), Arzu Merali (head of research, Islamic Human Rights Commission), Ben Macpherson MSP (SNP, Edinburgh Northern & Leith) and Councillor Gordon Munro (Labour, Leith). Chaired by Richard Haley (Chair, SACC). All welcome.
  2. The report: Samena Dean, Islamophobia in Edinburgh Schools (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, Edinburgh, 2017), ISBN: 978-1-5272-1 01 6-5
  3. Copies of the report will be available at the meeting and it will subsequently be available for download as a pdf from the SACC website. The report will not be available in advance of the meeting.
  4. Invitations to attend the meeting have been emailed to every primary and secondary school in Edinburgh.
  5. Arzu Merali is co-author of a book presenting the findings of IHRC?s survey of Muslims in the UK: S. R. Ameli & A. Merali, Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK. (Wembley, Islamic Human Rights Commission, 2015), ISBN 978-1-909853-00-3