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Pushing Back against Bullying:
INGYouth Workshops & School Presentations
Following up on our last note that addressed the roots of Islamophobia, an extended version of which was published in Duke University’s online news, we now turn our attention to how ING is responding and for whom.
Schoolchildren, both Muslim children and children of other faiths, are Islamophobia’s most vulnerable victims.
For Muslim children:
Fifty percent of Muslim students in California – one of the most liberal states in the country – report having been bullied on account of their faith. Bullying does lasting damage; according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, children who are bullied may suffer depression, anxiety, headaches, problems adjusting to school, and long-term damage to self-esteem.
ING is equipping Muslim youth to push back against bullying through INGYouth workshops, which are designed to increase Islamic literacy and understanding of Islam in today’s world, so that Muslim young people can educate their peers about their faith and answer the questions about it that are frequently raised. This also gives them the knowledge and the confidence to stand up to teasing and bullying.
Evaluations by the youth who have taken part in the workshops show that they work. After a workshop:
- The number of students who stated they would alert a superior or a friend if they were bullied rose by 82%, while the number who stated they would ignore the incident dropped by 60%;
- The number of students who stated they would report bullying against them to an Islamic organization rose by 100%, while those who said they would alert a parent rose by 55%;
- The number of students who viewed education as one of the ways to promote a more positive view of Islam and Muslims at school rose by 45%;
- Students reported, using a scale of 1 to 5, a 19% increase in their knowledge and comfort level answering difficult questions about Islam and a 22% increase in confidence in their ability to give a classroom presentation about Islam if asked to do so.
These workshops are empowering youth to stand up for their faith and educate their community about it, breaking down prejudice one encounter at a time.
For all children:
You may not know it, but all 50 states require teaching about Islam in the context of world history and social studies. Teachers often have little knowledge of Islam themselves—and some share the anti-Muslim prejudices that are all too prevalent in our country today. ING’s Islamic Speakers Bureau remedies this problem by providing certified speakers who can provide education about Muslims and their faith while abiding by First Amendment Center guidelines of objectivity in teaching about religion. Face-to-face encounters with a Muslim break down prejudices and stereotypes more effectively than anything else. For areas with no local ING affiliate, ING makes available online curriculum that can be downloaded free of charge by classroom teachers.
Surveys of attitudes toward Islam and Muslims taken before and after ISB presentations prove their effectiveness:
- The percentage believing that Muslims “view women as inferior” drops by 83%.
- The percentage affirming that “Islam promotes peace” rises by 35%.
- The percentage understanding the Muslims “have long been a part of the history of this country” rises by 74%.
- The percentage seeing Muslims as “Americans like myself” rises by 41%.
Support Our Work Today
Help us continue both programs that directly address Islamophobia by giving as much as you can afford. We ask that you please make a donation based on the schedule below that encourages support from the broader community while ensuring that any donation is not a hardship. You are of course welcome to donate more here. Consider giving at the following level:
- $100 for students
- $250 if your income is less than $50,000/year
- $500 if your income is between $50,000 and $100,000/year
- $1,000 if your income is between $100,000 and $200,000/year
- $1,500 if your income is between $200,000 and $500,000 /year
- $5,000 if your income is over $500,000/year