New guide encourages teachers to visit mosques, “dispel misinformation about Islam”
Working in collaboration, the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA), the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has launched a new guide that “will help Canadian teachers better understand and provide support to students living with the effects of geopolitical violence and Islamophobia” and to “create safer and more inclusive spaces for Canadian Muslim students.”
“The Canadian Human Rights Commission is following with growing concern, the impact of Islamophobia on the most vulnerable in our communities— our children and youth,” CHRC’s official statement reads.
“This is not a Muslim issue—this is a Canadian issue,” said Chief Commissioner, Marie-Claude Landry. “It is the responsibility of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and of every Canadian citizen, to help counter these negative messages, images and stereotypes. By working together we can help achieve full inclusion for every Muslim person in Canada.”
The guide, entitled Helping Students Deal with Trauma Related to Geopolitical Violence and Islamophobia,was funded with the financial help of The Canadian Red Cross.
Excepts from the guide “Helping Students Deal with Trauma Related to Geopolitical Violence and Islamophobia”
Muslims are victims of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.
“Mass media” portrays Muslims in a negative manner.
More than others, Canadian Muslim youth are expected to prove loyalty to Canada.
- Islamophobia is “a form of self-imposed censorship on freedom of expression concerning geopolitical issues.”
Teachers are advised to:
- Respect Muslim students’ social, religious and/or moral values.
- Help Muslim students share their faith and culture with their peers.
- Provide space for Muslim students to speak to their peers about their faith.
Conduct field trips and to have conversations that help dispel stereotypes and misinformation about Islam.
- Review suggested lesson plans and/or materials before assigning to students in order to avoid negative impact on Muslim students.
“Discrimination can be complex. Canadian Muslim youth are diverse and may face discrimination based on more than one personal characteristic. For example, a young Muslim man whose family is from Syria may face discrimination based on his race, colour, national or ethnic origin, gender, age, and religion — all at once. This combination of multiple grounds of discrimination is sometimes known as intersectional discrimination or compound discrimination.”
“…The core values and central tenants of Islam are immutable and are the best counter-narrative to the terrorist ideology of hate.
“It is also egregious to assign a faith or a religion to terrorism. Terrorism is based on its own ideology and may use religious or political language that is strategic and not definitive or diagnostic.”
“…For Muslims, being marginalized and categorized as ‘the other’ in this context [secondary trauma] can be traumatic.”
“FINAL TIPS: HOW EDUCATORS & COUNSELORS CAN HELP
“…PROVIDE SPACE for Muslim students to speak to their peers about their faith and about their feelings on world events that impact them. For your entire student body, bring-in speakers who can help them understand the challenges that refugees will face and how racism impacts their Muslim peers…
“CONDUCT field trips and other activities outside the school for students to learn about various places of worship and have conversations that help dispel stereotypes and misinformation about Islam.
“REVIEW suggested lesson plans and/or materials before assigning to students. Sometimes a passage in a book, or a set of comprehension questions about world events, is framed in a negative way and may impact on how students understand or perceive a culture or religion. Ensure that adequate context is provided. When in doubt, consult with parents and/or staff and colleagues, or a diversity expert.”
“…The ongoing conflicts and terrorism inflicted by those claiming to be acting in the name of Islam, has meant that Islam — and its sincere adherents — are often negatively portrayed in the mass media, and regarded pejoratively by wider society. This has led to a distinct rise in anti-Muslim incidents and Islamophobic attitudes.
“Consequently, Canadian Muslim youth have been forced into defensive positions — apologizing for things they had no influence over, and feeling ostracized owing to their religion or culture. Indeed,
“Canadian Muslim youth are often expected to prove their loyalty to Canada: a burden not placed upon their Canadian counterparts. Often, loyalty is demonstrated by remaining silent in the face of Islamophobia, which is a form of self-imposed censorship on freedom of expression concerning geopolitical issues.
“To constantly feel under attack, to have to defend one’s faith, and to be continuously called upon to condemn the actions of criminals and terrorists is emotionally traumatic and can have a significant impact on one’s mental health…”
WHAT CANADIAN-MUSLIM YOUTH NEED
“…In particular, educators
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