LONDON – A third of Muslim students studying in the UK report abuse or hate crimes they believe to be motivated by Islamophobia, a new survey has found.
“We are deeply concerned about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment within the education sector and society as a whole,” said Hareem Ghani, the National Union of Students (NUS) women’s officer, The Guardian reported.
“Action must be taken immediately by institutions and students’ unions to safeguard Muslim students – especially women – against racism in or around campus.”
According to the survey, NUS found that a third of Muslim students have experienced abuse at their place of study.
NUS added that 79 per cent of those facing attacks believe it was motivated by prejudice relating to their Muslim identity.
A third of the respondents said they were “fairly or very worried” about experiencing verbal abuse, physical attacks, vandalism, property damage or theft at their place of study, relating to their religion or belief.
Hijabi women respondents who wear a religious Islamic garment were more likely to be very worried.
Moreover, those students reported that Prevent, the government’s counter terrorism strategy, was adding to their problems, forcing them to be disengaged from political debate due to concerns around being reported under its terms.
As a result, 43 per cent of those who reported being affected by Prevent felt unable to express their views or be themselves.
The survey found only 38 per cent of respondents agreed that their students’ union understands their needs as a Muslim student, while 39 per cent of respondents felt able to participate in their union’s sports activities only rarely or never.
As for accommodating their religious needs, 90 per cent of respondents said they had a prayer space or mosque on or near campus, while 68 per cent had halal food.
The absence of Muslim chaplain or imam was apparent as only twenty-eight per cent had a Muslim chaplain or scholar at their educational institution, while 24 per cent were sure that theirs had a Muslim imam.