Islamaphobia in class

by kimfsp on October 21, 2015 - 12:51pm

In the BBC article "Daily torment of racism in the classroom" published on May 23rd, 2012, Divya Talwar discusses the racial discrimination a year 9 student, Khadeja Fahat, has had to face at school in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Certain of her classmates have verbally and physically attacked her. She has been labeled as a Terrorist or a Taliban, associated with the 9/11 attack and has been punched once in the ribs by a pupil all due to her appearance. The author also adds on that these discriminatory abuses greatly impacted Khadeja's mental health and academic performance. She was constantly worried about what would happen to her at school and lost a lot of weight due to her lack of hunger. This abuse used up all of her energy and she was not able to perform well at school which got her behind the other students of her year. Unfortunately, the school was not able to deal with this torment and pushed Khadeja's mother to take other measures and move her daughter in another school. Talwar mentions Sarah Soyei's thoughts about young peoples racist behavior. Soyei, who works for an anti-racism charity, believes that these behaviors were influenced by parents and friends and also the rise in Islamophobia in England . Khadeja is trying to rebuild her confidence but is not as a happy person as she used to be.  



Reading this article, I felt extremely frustrated by how kids approached  Khadeja due to her headscarf. It is unfortunate to see that these children could not distinguish an individual of a certain culture from the racist comments of the culture.  Khadeja was not valued as an individual but as a small group of terrorist. I was also disappointed that the school were not able to do anything about this act and did not make an effort to stop racism. As Winkler mentions in his article "Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race" many parents do not know how to approach racism to their children. Most parents, think that their children are too young to learn about racism and seem to avoid the subject with them. Unfortunately, these kids do start shaping their perception of people of different color and make their own assumption about them according to how people behave with them. The best way to initiate racism to kids is to talk openly about it and explain the reality of it when questions are asked.  The classmates who degraded  Khadeja were probably exposed to racist views towards Islamist and were never taught how to deal with racism.   


Talwar, D. (2012, May 23). Daily torment of racism in the classroom. BBC. Retrieved from:




I was drawn to respond to this article because a classroom of all places should be a safe, racist-free zone for students of all ethnicities. I shared your frustration while reading about the article, and I also agree that the students were most likely exposed to racist views towards Islamist and were never taught how to deal with racism. In my opinion, the worst part of the whole situation was that Khadeja was the one facing the ultimate consequence in the end and was recommended to switch schools. Racism is a part of our society, we must accept that, and I think this particular situation demonstrated a lack of training and responsibility of the teachers and principle. As Winkler says in her article "Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race" it is important for caregivers to stop hushing and shutting down the conversation of race. It would be more effective to engage in an open age-appropriate conversation about race. To just tell a child their actions and words are hurtful and wrong is not enough. Instead, the school chose to avoid the problem all together, and suggest Khadeja to transfer schools and although this would stop the bullying against Khadeja for now, what would happen when the next Islamic student comes around? Avoiding the problem only makes things worse, I think the most effective thing would've been to educate the students on racism, and watch the positive impact it would have on the respect shown towards Khadeja.

To begin, scrolling through these articles, not a single one caught my attention. Luckily, I stumbled upon one entitled
‘’ Islamaphobia in class.’’ Due to the fact that I am a Muslim girl and knowing how much religion can play an important factor in how others treat you, I knew this article would be captivating. Also, since the terrorist attacks in Paris, Islamophobia and the perception of Islam have been a very controversial and talked about topic. Thus, being an important and relevant subject, I felt obligated to click on it. After reading the article summary and your critique, I definitely agree with your point of view. However, I do not agree with the decision taken by the school. First, it does not happen to me often, but after reading the article summary, I was extremely shocked and hurt. Just to know that one of my Muslim sisters was physically and emotionally hurt, really touched my heart. I still do not understand how kids can be so cruel. It is even more upsetting that 9 year old Khadeja Fahat, was solely mistreated because she was a Muslim girl wearing the hijab. In my opinion, no child, whether it is a girl or a boy, a Christian or a Muslim, should be mistreated or attacked. Childhood should be a period where kids are able to have fun, learn and create unforgettable memories. Children should not have to live with fear and anxiety like Khadeja Fahat. I completely agree with your point of view, parents have the duty to educate their children about the racial and cultural differences between individuals. It is very important to mention that all humans do not posses the same personalities/characteristics, but that does not allow anyone to mistreat another. In fact, everyone has unquestionably one trait in common: a heart. Therefore, every word and every action has the ability to physically or emotionally deeply hurt an individual. Children are not colorblind, hence, it is important to teach them about racial differences in order to avoid events like this. Additionally, being a Muslim myself, an individual once told me
‘’ Your father is Osama bin Laden right? How does it feel to be a terrorist?’’ Being a mature 18 year old, I know that his opinion did not matter and he was just an uneducated immature being. However, most kids do not know that and are extremely gullible. Additionally, the school being responsible for everything that happens within the institutions walls, I do not believe the right steps were taken to defend Khadeja. The school pushed her mother to place Khadeja in a different school. I feel that this is extremely wrong because it shows students that they are able mistreat other students without facing consequences. Also, entering a new school, Khadeja might always remain a target. The school should have tried harder to remove this target placed on her. I believe it was necessary to expel the children that bullied her. By switching her schools, it is just avoiding the problem. To conclude, do you believe that if another Muslim girl wearing a headscarf enrols in this learning institution and gets bullied, the school will regret their decision to have told Khadija to change schools?

This really draws me in, because it hits close to home. I am not Islamic, but I do have family members who are extremely single-minded and are what you can call racist. It sad to see that poor little young girl Khadeja Fahat, had to be tormented every day by her classmates because of the way she dressed, and what she believes in. Today children should be thought at a young age different types of nationality, and what great things that have to do with it, and not the negative things. It is not only she but there are so many stories that have to do with the discriminating of Muslims. The more terrorist attack that will happen, the more nationalities will be divided, this is why we should educate not only the children but their parents as well. If you think about it, children are not born racist, but it is the parents who make their kids believe in these ridiculous ideologies. This is even worse for female Muslim students, have you noticed most of the articles about discrimination of Islamic people have to do greatly with women. Already today in our society if you believe in Islam, it is already bad, but add being a female to the list. Just like Malala Yousafzai female activist voices her opinion on how females should be taken more seriously, get an education, and not be afraid of whom they are just because society tells them to. This is what we should be telling the world, and especially our younger female peers. Another story was that a mother of four, and her husband were on a Delta flight, and one woman in the airplane yells out, “ THIS IS AMERICA.” For no apparent reason, and stories like this happen so many times. People are Islamaphobic, and we as a team have to help fix this problem.

I am shocked by this article, since I believe that racism cannot exist at school because I think school taught us to not be racism. However, being in a class which talks about sexism, this article drives me to a question, what if Khadeja Fahat is not a young girl, but a young boy. Will she receive the same discrimination that she has? First, Male Islam does not need to wear a headscarf; people may not recognize the male as an Islam. Furthermore, the school does not do anything to stop the racism. I think the biggest reason is because they just do not want to care about this Islam girl. Since all the people works in the school are white males, why do they spend times on this little Islam girl? If she is a boy, I think maybe the school will take a little effort on stopping the racism. However, the female are consider being the object of the man, it is even unnecessary to care about this Islam’s life. What I want to say is, this little girl does not only face the racism, but also faces the sexism. Maybe, I said maybe, maybe she faces more sexism than racism.


I like your article because it is something that jumped at me. As a Muslim also, I was also faced with discrimination on my old school I went to. Some people called me a terrorist, or “your uncle is Osama Bin Laden”, and that changed my views of the world. I used to humanity as something beautiful and fascinating, now I have no faith in humanity. It makes me feel disgusted a lot when this school that Khadija was bullied at is inadequate in the response to the bullies. Luckily, my school scolded the bullies, but that left me scarred forever. I am sick and tired when people asked me why women wear the hijab, it’s like an obsession.

Of course, discrimination comes in different kinds, but the one thing I would include is transphobia. What I mean is fear of transgendered people: those who self-identify as not conforming to men and female gender characteristics. So a transgender person may be a man in sex, but female in identity. There is discrimination across the US, and these Trans people are not able to get specific service because they’re defined by gender, and even a lot of them cannot even apply to homeless shelters.

I chose to respond to this post for the simple reason that the way Muslims have been treated since the Paris attacks is astonishing to me. Even though only the 9/11 issue is mentioned in this comment, I feel like this relates strongly to the recent events. Such as mentioned in this post, it is completely unjustified and cruel to treat individuals in such demeaning and racist ways for the simple fact that those terrorists are also Muslim. If a group of Canadians did the same, this in no way whatsoever makes all other Canadians affiliates to these terrorists. Being a minority group in Canada is no excuse to being treated in such a terrible way due to the poisonous acts of others. Those people who are committing these attacks don’t share values, beliefs and even culture with Muslims; they have created their own set of twisted values, have completely deformed what Islam is truly about, and are consumed by this “poison” that they feed each other. As mentioned so often in Race and Racism class, parents truly need to inform their children not only about race, but about the current events that are taking place around the world. Everyone; children, adults and the elderly, must understand that Muslims are not to blame for this issue, and treating them badly in schools, establishments, and communities is worsening the issue and making all those involved a form of poison to this world. The principles of this school should have expelled all children involved in the bullying, as they are being pioneers to this growing issue by not doing anything about it. I strongly believe that after what has happened recently, all mistreatment and discrimination towards Muslims should be treated as serious criminal offences. They are not to blame, and they are just as afraid as we are of what those people can or might do. It’s like those kids in the metro station said, “Love over Fear”, and treating innocent people badly on the basis of race only shows how all humans have some degree of “poison” within them.

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