Resources

Materials for education and training
Summary

To help mark the 20th anniversary of Runnymede’s landmark report on Islamophobia, published in 1997, a collection is being made in 2017 of relevant resources for educators and trainers.

The resources will be for all levels and sectors of education − primary, secondary, tertiary, youthwork, adult, community. They’ll be concerned with topics and issues such as:

  • the definition, nature and underlying causes of Islamophobia.
  • ways of reducing, resisting and removing Islamophobia.
  • counter-narratives concerned with citizenship, pluralism, cohesion and ‘British values’.

Comments, suggestions and advice on what should be included are warmly invited.

All contributions will be attributed.

Readings

There will be an annotated set of readings similar to, and inspired by, the Islamophobia is Racism collection compiled in the United States.

Some of the readings will be academic and intended for university-level courses, as are virtually all the items in the American collection.

Some, however, will be from journalism, blogs and personal narratives, and will be suitable for discussion in non-academic contexts.

In the “Issues” section of this website there are links to readings which could be used. The readings in the American collection are arranged under the following headings:

  • race, empire and Islam.
  • the production and reproduction of anti-Muslim racism.
  • the impact of anti-Muslim racism.
  • policing, security and anti-Muslim racism.
  • resisting anti-Muslim racism.
  • further reading and resources.
Videos

Links will be provided to videos of various kinds, including academic lectures; TED-type talks and lectures; opinion pieces; interviews; diaries and journals; documentaries; scenes from TV shows; performances of poetry, song and drama; and animations.

With each link there will be a few questions for reflection and discussion.

Examples of striking video material include:

Lesson Plans

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has devised a course of 12 lessons in schools to do with citizenship education.

The first eight are to do with Britishness, stereotypes, the media, the nature of racism, human rights, freedom of speech, and the concept of extremism. The last four lessons are concerned with the Prevent duty.

We could add to the Stockton course, or devise a broadly similar course focused more precisely on Islamophobia but using some of the same practical approaches and activities.

Activities and Exercises

Attention will be drawn to discussion exercises and activities which have been published in recent years, and further exercises will be devised. Materials already available free-of-charge online cover the following topics:

General Principles

For example, there are the general principles outlined in the international publication Countering Intolerance against Muslims through Education: addressing Islamophobia through education published in 2012 by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Warsaw.

The guidelines are jointly published by the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and UNESCO. They are available in English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. The English version can be accessed at http://www.osce.org/odihr/84495.

The OSCE principles are briefly summarised at http://www.insted.co.uk/countering-intolerance.pdf and an extract from this summary is reprinted below as an appendix.

APPENDIX: Principles and Practicalities

Notes based on Countering Intolerance against Muslims through Education: addressing Islamophobia through education published in 2012 by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Warsaw.

Principles

It is essential to bear in mind that anxiety connected with Muslims and Islam is frequently combined with other, unrelated fears and anxieties, for it has its roots not only in ignorance, misinformation, media distortions and political scaremongering about Islam but also in misunderstandings about ‘western’ cultural and national identity and history. Education about ‘us-and-them’, that is to say, must be about ‘us’ as well as about ‘them’. There is much more to challenging intolerance against Muslims than simply providing information about Muslims!

The combination of hostility towards Islam with other hostilities and anxieties was vividly seen in Norway in summer 2011. Anders Behring Breivik hated and feared, he said, Islam and Muslims. At the same time he hated non-Muslim political leaders who, in his view, had failed to stand up for what he considered to be historic European values, and who on the contrary had encouraged multiculturalism and political correctness, and what he called cultural Marxism.

Anxieties about the competence and reliability of non-Muslim leaders and authority figures, and about the increasing diversity of the modern world (‘multiculturalism’) and the declining influence of national governments in a multipolar world (‘globalisation’, ‘declinism’), have their origins in widespread social and economic change, not primarily or essentially in Islam. The attacks in America on 9/11, for example, were a vivid reminder that the governments of nation states – even of extremely powerful nation states – are no longer able to guarantee the security of their citizens. Also, governments cannot control, to the extent they did in the past, economic, financial, cultural and ecological borders. The resulting insecurities lead to scapegoating and moral panics, with Muslims and other minorities being convenient enemies and targets, though they are not – absolutely they are not – the principal causes.

Practicalities

Where does countering intolerance against Muslims fit into existing school curricula, and how does it relate to the concerns of international organisations such as UNESCO – concerns which have been conceptualised over the decades with phrases such as education for international understanding, human rights education, tolerance education, peace education, education for sustainable development, intercultural education, and global education.

Such concerns were valuably summarised by UNESCO in the 1990s as ‘learning to live together’ – learning for vivre ensemble. Such learning was seen as one of four pillars for all education throughout the world. The other three pillars were summarised as learning to know, learning to do and learning to be. (Learning: the treasure within, report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century, 1996.)

Learning for vivre ensemble takes place within the official taught curriculum in subjects such as history, civics and social studies, and through the study of literature and the other arts. Also it takes place in the ways a school is organised and run, and in how each individual classroom is organised and run. It is concerned with relationships and behaviour in everyday personal life, and also in local, national and international affairs. There are many ways in which intolerance against Muslims can be included, both directly and incidentally, within the wider context of learning to live together.

Practicalities vary from school to school, and from country to country. Also, of course, they vary according to pupils’ ages, and according to whether or not they are themselves of Muslim background. But in general terms, in all schools and in all countries, and with all pupils whatever their age and faith background, they are likely to include the following:

  • media literacy – critical thinking and open-mindedness are vital in relation to the media, including not only the press, radio and television but also advertising, computer games, websites and blogs.
  • real or simulated involvement in advocacy – including lobbying and campaigning and writing to newspapers and websites, and to elected representatives at local, national and international levels.
  • the arts – theatre, drama, puppets and role-play, visual imagery of many kinds, and music, fiction and poetry.
  • personal contacts – visits and exchanges, oral history and interviewing projects, and correspondence with young people in other countries or regions.
  • safe spaces – where pupils feel able to think aloud and express tentative ideas on topics that are sensitive or controversial.
  • voices, stories and experiences – particularly of those who are most directly affected and disadvantaged by intolerance.
  • recognition and affirmation of Muslim identities – particularly within western societies.
  • whole-school approaches – including policies and procedures for dealing with incidents of racist and religious bullying and abuse.