The Edinburgh News reported on how a Muslim woman has taken it upon herself to tackle Islamophobia in schools after her daughter was a victim of religious bullying.
Ms. Samena Dean, a 45-year-old mother of three, quickly realised something was wrong when her nine-year-old daughter was visibly upset after coming home from school and soon discovered that her daughter had been the victim of Islamophobic bullying.
Concerned about the incident, Ms. Dean proceeded to not just comfort her daughter but also carry out a study of Muslim children across Edinburgh to determine how prolific religious bullying is. The study consisted of a seven-question survey distributed to 100 Muslim children from ages of 8-18.
Her study found that of the children aged from 11-18, 55% had been the victim of verbal Islamophobic abuse and 50% had been the victim of physical Islamophobic abuse. From those aged 8-11, 53% had been the victim of verbal Islamophobic abuse and 26% had been the victim of physical Islamophobic abuse.
Ms. Dean said,
“As a mum you send your children to school to be safe and you don’t expect bullying or hate crimes to be happening. I wanted to know how widespread this was… I was very shocked”.
She added: “Islamophobia affects the Muslim community around the world. I grew up in the 70s in Edinburgh and experienced racism, but it’s on a different level these days”.
The NSPCC’s Childline service reported last year that children “as young as 9” were being called “terrorists” and that the abuse was so significant that some had resorted to self-harm. A young girl aged 15 said to Childline: “The boys in my class are always calling me a ‘terrorist’ but my teachers do nothing about it. I’ve started to cut myself to numb the pain”.
The organisation revealed that more 2,500 counselling sessions had been held over the past three years on racially or religiously motivated bullying.
This article was originally published here.