This is an example of why work is needed with young people and we have raised this issue a number of times previously. The key is to ensure that young people understand that anti-Muslim hatred is just the same as other forms of prejudice, hate and intolerance and needs to be tackled.
This is the experience of a young Muslim female who reported into us today.
Khadija (whose name has been changed), was in a play park in Bournemouth on the 6th of August and she was playing with her siblings. She wears the Hijab.
A group of young people in the park saw her and started to wave and laugh at her and they were no more than 13-15 years of age, in her opinion. After about half an hour, they approached Khadija and started to ask her a range of questions in a sarcastic manner. One of the girls stated, “I love your head-dress, where can you get it from, I want one,” as other laughed in the background.
Khadija ignored the young girl who was asking her questions and she decided to sit down. As she did so, the young girl sat next to her and stared at her whilst comments were made by the group of girls in the background. One of the girls rightly commented back to the group and seemed to stand up against their comments that were targeted at the faith of Khadijah. This young girl stated, “you can’t say that, it’s her religion.”
It was at this point that the young girl sitting next to Khadija grabbed her Hijab and pulled it off. She ran off with the Hijab and with the group laughing as they did so.
Khadija has reported in the incident and to the young person who pulled Khadija’s Hijab, what you committed was a crime. If anyone saw the incident, can you contact the police on 101 and ask for Dorset Police. The information will be matched up since the victim has reported this in and the information would have been crime referenced. Information on this can also be sent to us.
Finally, it is clear that a lot of work has to be done in educating and informing young people about anti-Muslim hatred. We will continue to raise this issue with the Department for Education.