Socialist Worker

Racist Tory strategy takes aim at children

Issue No. 2473

Children at an event in 10 Downing Street in December last year. The governments Prevent strategy treats some children as a threat

Children at an event in 10 Downing Street in December last year. The government's Prevent strategy treats some children as a threat (Pic: Crown Copyright)


A 14 year old Muslim school student was questioned about Isis after using the term “ecoterrorism” in class earlier this year, it has been revealed. 

The incident shows how the Tories are using their Prevent strategy to ramp up Islamophobia.

They claim they are “protecting” young Muslims. But they are driving an Islamophobic agenda that is whipping up racism. 

The boy was taking part in a discussion on the environment in a French class in May.

He said that some people who protected forests drilled nails into trees to blunt chainsaws.

Speaking in French he said some called this “ecoterrorisme”. After saying he sounded like a “tree hugger” a teacher asked him if he was “affliliated” with the violent Islamic group Isis.

He was taken from his next French class to an “inclusion centre” in the Central Foundation boys school in north London. Here a child protection officer and another adult further questioned him.

He said later, “I didn’t know what was going on. They said there had been safety concerns raised.

“If you are taken out of French class and asked about Isis, it is quite scary. My heart skipped a beat.”

The school student said his class mates of all backgrounds have been very supportive and think he was targeted because of his religion.

Guilty 

His mother is sure. She said, “He was presumed guilty because he was Muslim.” 

The parents are taking legal action against the school.

In another case a Muslim teaching assistant was sacked after objecting to showing a graphic video of the 9/11 attacks to a class of 11 year olds on Monday of last week.

Suriyah Bi had been employed at Heartlands Academy in Birmingham for only a week when she raised concern about the suitability of the video. 

She said some children in the class had no idea what 9/11 was or what they were about to watch. 

The newly qualified graduate pointed out to the class teacher that the video was clearly flagged up as only suitable for over 18 year olds. She was sacked within 24 hours.

A Muslim student at Staffordshire university also spoke out about his treatment last week.

The university was forced to apologise to him after he was reported for reading a textbook titled Terrorism Studies in the university library. 

Mohammed Umar Farooq was part of the university’s “terrorism, crime and global security” master’s programme. 

He was grilled by a university official in the library about his views on homosexuality, Isis and al Qaeda. Mohammed has dropped the course and is taking legal advice. 

He said, “This could happen to any young Muslim lad. I had to fight back.”

A Students Not Suspects tour has been organised by the National Union of Students, Black Students Campaign and others. For more information go to bit.ly/1KJPVv7

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