Monday, June 17, 2019
News Code : 354331 | Publish Date :2018/12/19 - 04:00 | Category: FORUM

Bullying, Islamophobia: How to address challenges facing young Muslims
“I don’t feel safe at school. Sometimes I say to my dad, ‘I don’t want to go to school anymore.’”

Hawzah News Agency  (Huddersfield, UK) - These words were spoken by a 15-year-old schoolboy named Jamal, who, with his family, escaped from Syria as refugees to resettle in the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield.

In a desperate attempt for help, Jamal e-mailed the local authority, the local council, the Department of Education and the police, with no result. Eventually, Jamal got in touch with a local Councillor, Bernard McGuin, who said, “This cry for help really touched my heart. It hurt me. I was glad he contacted me.”

As a London-based solicitor, Tasnime Akunjee observed repeated complaints of Bullying were being made to staff as well, but they were being ignored.

Eventually footage of Jamal being ‘waterboarded’by a bully was shared on social media resulting in the outrage, and the subsequent outcry.

Jamal was not alone as a victim. His sister, who attends the same school was also being bullied to the point where she tried to cut her own wrists in the school toilets. And in a more recent incident, her pink headscarf was removed from her head, though the school did exclude the girl who bullied her.

Aggravating the situation, far-right activist Tommy Robinson began circulating fake news claiming that Jamal was involved in a gang attack on a white girl.

Beyond the obvious ‘abuse’ this particular claim is designed to appeal to the far-right who appeal to emotions fueling divisions in society, ignoring the abuse of young girls by ‘white’ criminals and focusing criticism of abuse of young girls by ‘brown’ criminals.


A Plea for Help

On their website, the charity MEND (Muslim Engagement And Development), observe that “Islamophobia has risen to intolerable levels for many British Muslims. Discrimination at work and abuse in the street are all too common.”

With a population of 2.8 million British Muslims, almost half, 48% are 24 or under (33% under the age of 15) marking a very young age profile.


Former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton shared a video in a Tweet on what she describes to be the ‘Trump Effect.’ In it, children from different backgrounds and situations share their stories of being bullied, including a young Muslim boy.


In a Tweet, British Muslim Dr Umar Al-Qadri demonstrates how bullying is a fringe activity, as the response to Jamal’s situation has raised significant donations for his family.

The first Tweet demonstrates the normalization of abuse and bullying, led in the US by the now American President, but carried similarly here in the UK as a result of populism that drives the #Brexit debate.

The second Tweet provides the counter balance. Whether in the US, the UK, or anywhere else in the world, there exists amongst people a common decency, a mutual humanity, and it is that which must be expressed and shared further.


Peer Pressure

According to the NHS, 6% of 11-year-old children, and 24% of 15-year-old children say they have tried drugs. In adults, the statistic is 8%.

Explaining why children take drugs, the American Addiction Center identifies a number of causes, to include boredom, a bonding experience, depression, curiosit and peer pressure.

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