Human rights matter for us all
"Islamophobia is blighting the lives of many of our students. Anti-muslim statements by politicians and other opinion formers are dangerous for everyone in our society.
The growth of any one form of racism permits all other forms of racism to re-emerge. We must do all we can to ensure Islamophobia does not become ‘respectable’ racism but is tackled vigorously in all our schools and communities.” In order to challenge and end anti-Muslim prejudice and all forms of racism effectively, we all need to confront and condemn it where we see it and commit to raising awareness in others of its wider effects." - Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary
‘’Tackling Islamophobia and all forms of racism is not only the responsibility of Muslims or ethnic minorities, but nor is it only the government or the state that must show greater responsibility in tackling it. Employers, neighbours, teachers and fellow citizens must all work to raise awareness and to act to combat racism wherever and however it appears.” - (The Runnymede Trust 2017)
The National Education Union is concerned at the insidious ways in which Islamophobia is operating and intersecting at structural, community, cultural and interpersonal levels and is becoming part of the fabric of society. The normalisation of what is essentially antiMuslim racism must not be allowed to pervasively blight and affect the lives of Muslims, and everyone perceived to be Muslim. It undermines the concept of equal rights for all and as such undermines British democracy.
This statement also follows an NEU roundtable event with key Muslim-led NGOs, teachers and academics that explored the key factors which impact on high quality education for all. The statement is designed to be used alongside a range of materials for challenging Islamophobia in education - some of which are listed in Appendix 1 and some of which we will be adding to our website in the near future. The statement marks a new stage in the NEU’s work.
The amalgamation of the NUT and ATL has made the NEU the largest education union in Europe and this affords the opportunity to do more to influence educational initiatives to tackle Islamophobia and offer more support for those on the receiving end.
In November 2018 the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) published a Counter - Islamophobia toolkit with explanations of 10 key narratives and counter narratives of Islamophobia. They confirm that: “In effect, Islamophobia has become part of the fabric of a national story of what it means to be British.
Not only is Britishness navigated through a denial of Muslimness, it is also represented through the articulation of supremacism as a normal facet of law and nation. Therefore, for counter narratives to be effective they need to operate at every level of society, most crucially the state and media, and confront issues such as structural racism that are wider and more-deep rooted than Islamophobia per se.”
In the resources section (Appendix 1) there are links to the IHRC documents and their excellent toolkit for developing counter Islamophobic narratives.