Each and every time I activate the news and see an additional Islamist terrorist attack being reported, I worry for my students. Not for his or her actual physical basic safety but for his or her sense of id and belonging as British schoolchildren. Like numerous schools in east London, the vast majority of my students are Muslim. The school is home to numerous different cultures and religions, and students unconsciously demonstrate a stage of tolerance that rivals any adult organization I realize of. Yet this really is set in danger as a result of the intolerant values held by some parts of culture and spread by certain factors in the media.
Using the rise of Islamic State above the past couple of years, the word terrorism is becoming virtually synonymous with Islam for a few individuals. Which has presented a real existential difficulty for a number of our students. Within the one hand they determine as getting British – they have been born right here, as have been their mother and father; they’ve got British passports; they speak English as their initial language; they go through Harry Potter; they view superhero motion pictures and play soccer on the weekends.
However, they recognize as being Muslim – they attend mosque over a Friday; they visit Islamic school inside the evenings; they are able to recite verses of the Qur’an; they wear headscarves; and so they visit the prayer area throughout lunchtime. They live fortunately in harmony using these two identities, until the following terrorist assault. And suddenly, yet once again, they see component in their identity thrust negatively in to the media spotlight.
It is perplexing for them. Teens have, traditionally, always struggled to locate their place in culture, to carve out an identity for on their own. They crave the feeling of belonging. So what occurs when they see their faith getting hijacked by terrorists and represented in a way that’s unrecognisable to them? It’s as much as us, as educators, to help them truly feel confident inside their id and their feeling of belonging.
What does that look like actually? In my school, we are taught how you can have direct and difficult discussions with students – Muslim and non-Muslim – around the spiritual and political elements of terrorist attacks. After each main terrorist attack in the UK, the safeguarding officer at our school fulfills with safeguarding leaders on the other local schools along with the police and local religious leaders. They then short us on the information of the attack and speak us throughout the key messages that we have been to share with the students. Specifically: how the attacks are, really, un-Islamic, occasionally with certain reference to parts in the Qur’an to show how the attackers have straight contravened the peaceful concept of Islam. It’s crucial that students obtain this option message.