Local government uses children to ignite Islamophobia

By Hasnae May


British local government authority is accused of exacerbating islamaphobia by parents whose children are the subjects of an integration programme.

Funded by the European Commission, the Building Resilience through Integration Trust programme targets primary school aged children in questionnaire-based research.

Waltham Forest Council requested the completion of questionnaires deemed Islamophobic and racist to children between nine-years-old and 11.

The questionnaire includes opinions on statements such as “I would do what a grown-up told me to do even if it seemed odd to me” and “I would mind if a family of a different race or religion moved next door”.

Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (ICHRC) highlighted concerns over the implications of such a study. “They’re obviously targeting Muslim children and trying to pick their brains and thoughts and effectively profile them”, he said.

Muslim parents have also expressed concern for their children who they believe are put at risk of being labelled as extreme by manufactured findings from a questionnaire designed to produce homogeneous findings.

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Kathleen Wheeler, Buxton Primary School executive head teacher, wrote a letter to parents explaining the project had been misunderstood.

In the letter she writes: ‘The school takes extremely seriously its responsibility to develop pupils’ understanding of the world we live [in] and our duty to create a community that is respectful of all religions, faiths and beliefs.’

If you have school aged children and have experienced Islamophobia share your story with us at Hasnae@manydifferentmuslims.com