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Anti-Bullying Campaign: A Call for Self Reflection

Bullying is a playground problem, a problem prevalent only amongst the youth, right? Wrong!  Beyond the school setting, bullying is often common without such awareness of its existence. Last year, Anti-Bullying Week was extended beyond its usual one week, to run throughout the month of November. The campaign raised awareness for people across all walks of life, from teaching children of the wrongs of bullying, to informing adults of the ease of slipping into bullish behaviour and its dangerous consequences.

Bullying is a word which carries within it profound undertones and many negative behavioural qualities. Such qualities, as Muslims, we know to be wrong on both a humane and religious level. Allah has made our deen two-fold. Many of us are aware of the Rights of our Lord over us, but often overlook the rights owed to creation. Through reflecting on our own conduct with those around us, we can become aware of bad habits we may have fallen into. Assessing and breaking one’s bullying tendencies, however mild, is something that must be taken to task, for hurting the heart of another is a serious matter and a matter for which we will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement.

Allah’s words of guidance assist us in reflecting on our behaviour. The Qur’an sets forth the parameters in interpersonal dealings so as to allow us to have wholesome relationships, free of hurt.  Surat’l-Hujurat warns against inappropriate behaviour, telling us not to mock, slander nor backbite each other, not to give offensive nicknames and to avoid suspicion.

These verses clearly bring to light behavioural tendencies which are to be struck out. We may enjoy the benefits that stem from the collective right of freedom of speech, however, without due attention to what we say, we can easily fall into negative habits. These habits can also add to the culture of bullying. Having due regard that our conversation and humour does not contain such ills is important. Like what, you might ask? Let’s look closer at our somewhat questionable humorous habits: shrugging off mockery of our colleagues as merely ‘banter’, nicknaming our younger sibling without knowing whether it is appreciated or deemed offensive, cracking jokes about a friend’s bad life choices with another friend – the list could indeed go on. Not only are these hurtful acts to the victims but sinful acts for the ‘comedian’ in question. While these acts may not be the typical playground bullying that we were taught was wrong, they do play a part in adding to an atmosphere of victimization and oppression. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Be on your guard against oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim) We are often quick to call out against oppression in larger world events, but what about maltreatment of others within our own relationships?

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy to mankind and he advocated very clearly for mercy to be shown to others. In one narration he said, “The one who doesn’t show mercy on others, will not be shown mercy (by Allah).” (Bukhari and Muslim)This hadith on mercy is one to take as a life motto. It bears truth to the saying “what goes around comes around.” Bad behaviour towards others will not only lower us in the eyes of the people, but will lower one in front of Allah as well. Bullying, however mild, is unmerciful and understanding the importance of mercy is the first step to realising the severe wrong of the opposite.

The annual advent of the Anti-Bullying Campaign is an opportunity not only for raising awareness of the playground bully but equally, if not more importantly, about reflecting on our own behaviour as adults and keeping check of our actions. Let us replace the bad with the good and keep constant in our reminder of the Prophet as the best of examples (peace be upon him) and his reminder to us when he said,

“The Most Merciful shows mercy to those who have mercy on others. Show mercy to those on earth, and the One above the heaven will show mercy to you.”

Notes: Anjum Kasmani writes on behalf of 1st Ethical Charitable Trust who empower Muslims to enrich communities through faith based campaigns. For more information, please visit www.1stethical.com  
Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

About Anjum Kasmani

2 comments

  1. Way of life – Islams Teaching
    The better Surah on the above topic is Surah Al Hujurat – 49
    Don’t laugh on others they may better than you
    Don’t back bite
    Don’t call/remember each other with bad/joking names
    Don’t spy in each other’s personal life
    Don’t trust on any news without proper investigation
    If don’t know the way then seek guidance from Quraan and then teachings of Muhammad (PBUH) and then if you not found solution then do IJTIHAD but it should not contradict with Quraan and Sunnah

    Oh Allah guide us towards peace and help us to help others who are in need to get your mercy here and hereafter – AAMEEEEN

  2. Iftikhar Ahmad

    Racism in British Schooling
    Endemic racism is infecting all walks of British society. It is a well known fact that British education is a home of institutional racism. The immigrant children are victims of bullying and racism. Muslim children suffer more than other children.

    British schooling is not only the home of institutional racism but also British teachers are chicken racist. This is one of the main reason why Muslims, Hindus and Sikh communities have been setting up their own schools with their own teachers. Even Black community is thinking of setting up its own schools with Black teachers.

    Nearly 88,000 racist incidents were recorded in Britain’s schools between 2007 and 2011, the BBC has found. Data from 90 areas shows 87,915 cases of racist bullying, which can include name calling and physical abuse.

    Racism is the biggest type of bullying at schools in Bradford accounting for 75 per cent of incidents during the last academic year, it has been revealed.

    A total of 344 bullying incidents were reported by schools in the district between September, 2010, and July, 2011, of which 260 were deemed to be racist, figures obtained by the Telegraph & Argus through a Freedom of Information request show.

    Last term, from September to December, racist incidents accounted for more than half of the 113 recorded bullying incidents.

    Other types of bullying reported by schools during this period include incidents relating to disability, family nationality or lifestyle, homophobia, gender and religion.

    It is absurd to say that institutional racism is dead. It is still alive in the form of Islamophobia. . One of the deepest expressions of institutional racism affecting immigrant communities, and one that has been long documented is the unequal treatment of their children by the education system. They are motivated, but knocked back by their experiences of the school system. They are often treated more harshly and viewed with lower teacher expectation on the basis of teachers’ assumptions about their motivation and ability.

    LAs are failing in their duty to combat racism in schools, according to OFSTED, Education system exhibits “aspects of racism”. A quarter of authorities are not doing enough to promote equal educational opportunities. A Brighton University study found that the Britain education system is institutionally racist, with pupils and teachers vulnerable to abuse by peers, teachers and management. I discovered the element of racism in early 70s. National Curriculum does not reflect cultural diversity and minority pupils are being held back by native teachers.
    London Borough of Newham was judged by OFSTED as unsatisfactory in tackling racism. There are big issues about racism in schools needed to be tackled but could not understand that Bilingual Muslim pupils need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. It is a crime against humanity to deprive a child of his mother tongue but in the name of integration everything is fair. Independent schools are also racist in nature. The parents of a Pakistani boy who was racially abused by his classmates and teachers are suing St. Christopher School.

    Education report by Birmingham Advisory Service recommends that school lessons should take into account cultural differences in order to improve pupils’ performance. It calls for teaching “the need for mutual respect and understanding”. Minority pupils are underachieving at school because the curriculum is racist. The study found lessons often failed to motivate or interest pupils because curriculum did not provide enough positive role models. The curriculum needs to be more balanced and less Eurocentric. Pupils grow up thinking there is no other playwright than Shakespeare. An ethnicity “Tsar” should be appointed to reform British schooling. Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country’s 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structural guidance. Muslim school is responsible for the development of the whole child. Muslim schools give Muslim children “pride, identity and a sense of culture and languages.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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