A UK-based think-tank has released a new report on Wednesday, highlighting the prevalence of anti-Hindu hate in British schools, reports PTI.
The report cites several incidents, including the bullying of Hindu students to convert to Islam and the throwing of beef at them.
A study conducted by the counter-terrorism think-tank, Henry Jackson Society, titled 'Anti-Hindu Hate in Schools,' revealed that over half (51 per cent) of surveyed Hindu parents reported their children experiencing anti-Hindu hate at school.
Additionally, some participants pointed out that teaching on Hinduism resulted in religious discrimination against Hindu children.
"This report highlights the prevalence of discrimination against Hindus in British schools, with 51 per cent of Hindu parents surveyed reporting that their child has suffered anti-Hindu hate at school," the report said.
"The findings underscore the urgent need for greater awareness and understanding of the Hindu experience in schools and further research into other lesser-known types of prejudices that may be manifesting in Britain's classrooms. It highlights the need for more specific and accurate reporting mechanisms to capture such incidents," it noted.
In England, Religious Education (RE) is mandatory in schools up to age 16, and can be taken as an exam module within the GCSE curriculum. To evaluate the experience of schoolchildren, a report analysed 1,000 schools' freedom of information (FOI) requests and surveyed 988 parents.
"This report has shone a torch on an important issue. If we have children fearful of going to school, that is not acceptable - regardless of their faith," said Baroness Sandip Verma, during a launch event for the report.
The author of the report, Charlotte Littlewood, shifted her focus to schools after analysing the violent clash that occurred between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester last year. This happened following the India-Pakistan cricket match in the Asia Cup held in Dubai in August.
"What we found was that teachers were playing into the problem, including covering reductive and in some places prejudiced views of Hinduism," said Littlewood.
"If we are to be an equal Britain moving forward, we have to tackle all forms of hate in our classrooms," she said.
According to the report, some instances of discrimination observed in classrooms share similarities with the hate witnessed during the unrest between Hindus and Muslims in Leicester.
"There were numerous instances of derogatory references made towards Hindus, such as mocking their vegetarianism and belittling their deities, which were also made by Islamist extremists rallying against the Hindu community in Leicester.
"Twenty mentions of Hindus being held responsible for politics and social issues in India is reminiscent of the treatment of Jews with regard to Israel and of Muslims in the post-9/11 climate," the report notes.
The recommendations for the government in the report are diverse, ranging from documenting hate-based bullying to providing specialised training for schools with demographic and faith-based considerations, as well as increasing involvement with the Hindu community.
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