Monday 26 February 2018

'Shut up, Allah' - Irish-Muslim schoolboy reveals abuse by teacher

A woman prays in a mosque
A woman prays in a mosque

David Kearns

A young Irish Muslim had a glass bottle flung at her as she waited for a bus, while another was told by his religion teacher to “Shut up, Allah”. These are just a handful of accounts included in a new study calling for tougher laws to tackle Islamophobia in Ireland.

Muslims living in this country continued to suffer both physical and verbally abuse, as well as widespread discrimination, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland, who have released a highlighting the experiences of Ireland’s 65,000 Muslim residents.

Among the more shocking examples of abuse included in the report is the account of Irish-born Rabia, who walking to the Luas stop on Abbey Street when a man shouted at her “Go back to your own country!! You muzzie!”

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The man then flung a glass bottle at her, which smashed directly in front of her.

“That is the worst experience I ever had... Thank God I wasn’t ahead ‘cos it would have hit me. I just kind of looked at him... I was so confused.”

Another Irish Muslim spoke of an attack shortly after September 11, 2001.

“I was in a car with friends, so one of them, the one who was driving, [has] long beard, he was originally from Algeria, and there were a group of youngsters aged between 18 and 20s and once they saw him on the front seat they shout ‘terrorist!!’ and they come bang  the car, smash the front screen and they run away.”

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He continued: “I was with friend of mine on public transport at the time when Bin Laden was killed they just basically attacked us for being Muslim and for wearing scarf.

“We were in hospital, myself and my friend that day [as a result of the assault]. I was there till about 4 am and my friend was there overnight because she had to be monitored, because she was really hurt, her head and stuff… [the perpetrators] said: ‘Are you upset because Bin Laden died? Was he your dad? Stuff like that. So it was, you know, clearly because who we were.”

The study on Islamophobia shows also includes evidence, says the Immigrant Council, of racism by teachers, Gardaí, and members of the media.

A young female student complained nothing was done after a classmate asked her: “Is it true your dad is a terrorist?”

Another pupil added: “Yeah, Muslim Arabs are terrorists.”

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In one school incident, a teacher told a female student wearing a hijab to “take that stupid thing off your head”, while at a different school a boy in sixth class was told to “Shut up, Allah” when he challenged his teacher over comments she was making about Islam during a religion class.

In one Dublin university a number of lecturers were reported as “blatantly racist” by Muslims students, with one allegedly that a lecturer repeatedly refused to correctly grade his paper because he was Muslim.

The report says that Ireland’s education system is effectively “segregationist” because of its “problematic” enrolment policy.

Other participants in the study said they faced great difficulties enrolling their children in school, given the Catholic patronage of most primary schools in Ireland.

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The report goes on to detail incidents of attacks on mosques, private property and individuals. 

The Immigrant Council of Ireland says the research highlighted the need for legislation to combat hate crimes and discrimination.

Chief Executive Brian Killoran said:“There are sections of this study which will be uncomfortable to read in terms of the experiences of hatred, discrimination and racism. 

"[Its] recommendations are wide-ranging and will require change in almost every area of official policy not just for lawmakers, but for schools, employers, the Gardaí and many others including civil society organisations such as the Immigrant Council.”

Online Editors

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