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Understanding Islam

Islam strap 3

Understanding Islam: Challenging Islamophobia is a project  run by RISC in partnership with the Centre for World Education (CMO) in Nijmegen, Netherlands. 

In 2010 the Exploring Islam Foundation commissioned YouGov to survey public perceptions of Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad. A majority (60%) of the 2152 respondents said they didn’t know very much about Islam and obtained most of their information about Islam from the TV news (57%) or newspapers (41%) rather than directly from Muslim organisations. Perceptions were generally negative:

•    50% associate Islam with terrorism

•    13% associate Islam with peace and 6% with justice

•    16% think that Islam promotes fairness and equality

•    41% disagree or strongly disagree that Muslims have a positive impact on British society

•    69% believe that Islam encourages the repression of women.

Many organisations are trying  to challenge these misconceptions by raising awareness of the belief, practice, history and cultures of Islam, and highlighting the contribution of Muslims to society.

RISC has created a portal for teachers and facilitators who want to challenge Islamophobia. The materials are suitable for Key Stage 3-4+ as well as youth and community groups.

It brings together resources that offer innovative and creative approaches for dealing with controversial issues that will engage young people. It shows how every area of the curriculum offers possibilities to explore alternative perspectives on the role of Islam in Britain and the wider world.

I increasingly feel that ignorance of both Muslim culture and the faith of Islam is in danger of radicalising many sections of society. Ignorance is reinforced by a general lack of interaction between mono-ethnic communities that often results in many children growing up in parallel societies. Prejudice, rather than informed understanding, is then shaping many attitudes.

Muhammad Imran, Islamic Relief


logo_EUThe Understanding Islam:Challenging Islamophobia project has received funding from the European Union's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme, although the views expressed within do not necessarily reflect its official policy.