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Yousif Zubair writing in the Independent, ‘ A few days ago, a German school announced that it had banned Muslim students from using prayer mats in order to stop them from displaying their religion “in a provocative manner”. I read this with a sad sense of familiarity: it reminds me of the sense of fear and anxiety that I myself feel as a young British Muslim in 2017.

 

On a day-to-day basis, I am hyperconscious about where I am sitting in a café or a park, when I do my daily Quran reading — who around me might see the Arabic writing on my laptop screen or mobile phone app and feel threatened or incensed? Might they even call the police or refer me to a Prevent channel, as has happened to others? If I was doing my French homework, I know I would hardly be noticed, but I worry terribly about the piercing eyes around me when reading Arabic, especially the Quran . . .

I study A Level Religious Studies at a well-behaved, high-achieving and religiously diverse grammar school, and one of our units is called Religious Fundamentalism. My teacher even encouraged the Muslim students in the class to exercise extreme caution when revising and searching for material for homework online. My fellow Muslim classmates and I consciously use pre-prepared books and worksheets to avoid having to search for “the Taliban” or “Isis” on the internet, and risk being monitored or erroneously flagged up to suspicious authorities.

This demonisation of Muslims is especially damaging when it is in schools, as in Germany right now, because it generates disillusionment and isolation from an educational system which should be a unifier and a driver toward social good. Furthermore, scaremongering among children creates further intolerant generations and entrenches our existing problems.’  click here.

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