Study reveals Muslim children are routinely ridiculed for their beliefs and attacked verbally
By Megan Stacey
London Free Press | December 27, 2017
Racial uglinesss and hatred, like the kind that’s repeatedly thrust London under a harsh spotlight in recent years, takes a toll.
Just ask the local Muslim kids who were studied to see how that hostility plays out in their everyday lives.
The fallout is so severe, some of the children say they’re even afraid to go to their mosques.
That’s just one disturbing finding from a study done by Siham Elkassem, a child and family therapist at Vanier Children’s Centre in London.
“A lot of the kids talked about how it’s a really scary time to be Muslim,” said Elkassem.
She interviewed 25 Muslim pupils in Grades 6, 7 and 8 at a local elementary school.
“They feel unsafe because they’re Muslim,” she said.
The study was jointly supported by Vanier Children’s Services, the school of social work at King’s University College and the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration.
Fear of being targeted was one of the most prevalent themes in Elkassem’s research.
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A host of stereotypes is associated with Islam and its followers. They are often perpetuated by those who don’t understand the religion, said Mihad Fahmy, a London lawyer. Fahmy chairs the human rights committee for the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
“They assume (Muslim children) come from sexist families, and that may be furthest from the truth,” she said.
But such prejudices have fallout for Muslim kids and teens, Fahmy added.
“It makes them question a little bit who they are, because they know these assumptions are swirling around in peoples’ heads.”