Fighting Islamophobia: Groups join forces to help Muslim children, Syrian refugees

Guide will help teachers deal with Islamophobia in classrooms

By Janice Dickson
iPolitics | August 25, 2016

Newly welcomed Syrian refugees and Muslim children are on the receiving end of Islamophobia in Canadian schools across the country, say the human rights groups that want to put and end to it.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), The Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) and the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), launched a new educator’s guide at a press conference on Parliament Hill Thursday morning, which is intended for teachers to help students deal with trauma related to Islamaphobia.

Currently, the guide is available for free online, and the groups hope that eventually a hard copy will make its way into elementary, high school and university classrooms across the country.

NCCM’s executive director, Ihsaan Gardee, said Canadian Muslims along with newly arrived refugee and immigrant youth are suffering in different ways.

“Whether it’s being afraid to speak about their Muslim identity or whether it’s the shame of being a refugee or dealing with post-war trauma many young people are hurting,” said Gardee.

Families have told NCCM that they hope and expect their childrens’ classrooms to be safe and teachers have told NCCM they need tools to provide support to Muslims in their classrooms. Many have said they feel let down.

“We have heard too many stories of Islamophobia in our schools. We’ve heard about school teachers making hurtful comments in the classroom or on social media about refugees and about Muslims and Islamic practices. We’ve heard about children being afraid to raise their voice to explain their beliefs to their peers,” Gardee continued.

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