Muslim students urge Hindu classmates to convert to Islam, study finds
The report’s author Charlotte Littlewood said her focus on schools emerged following the violence between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester
FILE PHOTO: Forensic officers work at the scene where two policemen were stabbed, near Leicester Square, in London, Britain September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson
A new report by a UK-based think-tank, the Henry Jackson Society, has highlighted incidents of anti-Hindu hate in schools in Britain.
The report, titled ‘Anti-Hindu Hate in Schools’ includes examples such as Hindu students being bullied to convert to Islam and others having beef thrown at them.
According to the report, 51 per cent of Hindu parents surveyed reported that their child has experienced anti-Hindu hate at school.
The study also found that some participants reported that teaching on Hinduism was fostering religious discrimination towards Hindu pupils.
“This report highlights the prevalence of discrimination against Hindus in British schools, with 51 per cent of Hindu parents surveyed reporting that their child has suffered anti-Hindu hate at school,” the report concludes.
“The findings underscore the urgent need for greater awareness and understanding of the Hindu experience in schools and further research into other lesser known types of prejudices that may be manifesting in Britain’s classrooms. It highlights the need for more specific and accurate reporting mechanisms to capture such incidents,” it notes.
Religious Education (RE) is compulsory in schools in England up to the age of 16, with the option to take it as an exam module under the GCSE curriculum. The report’s analysis is based on freedom of information (FOI) requests from 1,000 schools around the country, alongside survey results from 988 parents about the experience of schoolchildren.
“This report has shone a torch on an important issue. If we have children fearful of going to school, that is not acceptable – regardless of their faith,” said Baroness Sandip Verma, during a launch event for the report.
Charlotte Littlewood, the author of the report, said her focus on schools emerged over the course of her analysis of the violence that broke out between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester last year, in the wake of an India-Pakistan cricket match in the Asia Cup held in Dubai at the end of August.
“What we found was that teachers were playing into the problem, including covering reductive and in some places prejudiced views of Hinduism,” said Littlewood.
“If we are to be an equal Britain moving forward, we have to tackle all forms of hate in our classrooms,” she said.
Her report notes that some of the discrimination exhibited in the classroom showed similarities to the manifestations of hate witnessed during the unrest in Leicester between Hindus and Muslims.
“There were numerous instances of derogatory references made towards Hindus, such as mocking their vegetarianism and belittling their deities, which were also made by Islamist extremists rallying against the Hindu community in Leicester. Twenty mentions of Hindus being held responsible for politics and social issues in India is reminiscent of the treatment of Jews with regard to Israel and of Muslims in the post-9/11 climate,” the report notes.
It makes a series of recommendations for the government, including the need to record all types of hate-based bullying, reporting of such incidents, specialist demographic and faith-based training for schools, and greater engagement with the Hindu community.