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Racism in schools on the rise since attacks in London and Manchester

Children attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque following a van attack on pedestrians last month.
Children attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque following a van attack on pedestrians last month.

by Lauren Codling

‘More Muslim children abused since terror attack’

Children as young as nine are being branded terrorists following the spate of recent terror attacks across the UK, Childline has revealed.

The 24-hour counselling service, offered to young children in need, reported that children saying that the “bullying has [intensified]” following the most recent atrocities.

Muslim children said they endured name-calling from other children, who associate them with Daesh (Islamic State).

One girl, 15, said “the boys in my class [call] me a ‘terrorist’ but my teachers do nothing about it.”

There have been accusations of race-related violence, including young girls being targeted when they have worn traditional headscarves and hijabs.

Some youngsters said the constant abuse has made them contemplate self-harm, counsellors who work for the charity said.

There have been more than 2,500 counselling sessions in the past three years relating to racial and faith-based bullying, with some victims of abuse being as young as nine years old, Childline said.

A 12-year-old boy said “people make racist comments to me…[they] shouldn’t just assume that just because someone is Muslim they are a terrorist.”

Children of Jewish, Christian and Sikh backgrounds have also been affected by the abuse.

Since the Manchester terror attacks in May, Childline has held nearly 300 counselling sessions with children who have had concerns about terrorism.

And following terrorist attacks, such as the Westminster bridge attack in March and the Paris terror attack in 2015, the number of calls they received has significantly increased, the charity said.

Childline president and founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, said: “When these [terrorist] events happen, we adults are so often overwhelmed with horror, we sometimes forget about the children watching too. It’s crucial adults are aware of this issue and protect those who may be targeted.”

Linda Toft, a spokeswoman for the NSPCC, said bullying “can have devastating effects that last into adulthood. It can lead to mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. At worst, it can lead to self-harm or even suicide.”

The NSPCC has offered advice to parents, urging them to talk to their children about bullying as it can leave them feeling “withdrawn and isolated.”