Monday, April 16, 2007
Don’t stare at Muslims says advice to schools
PUPILS and teachers have been told by an official body not to stare at Muslims for fear of causing offence.
A document intended to educate against religious intolerance and sectarianism urges teachers to “make pupils aware of the various forms of Islamophobia, ie stares, verbal abuse, physical abuse”.
But Learning Teaching Scotland (LTS), which issued the advice to schools north of the border, has been criticised by politicians and Muslim leaders for going “over the top”.
The document states: “Some Muslims may choose to wear clothing or display their faith in a way that makes them visible. For example, women may be wearing a headscarf, and men might be wearing a skullcap. Staring or looking is a form of discrimination as it makes the other person feel uncomfortable, or as though they are not normal.”
Osama Saeed, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, accused officials of going too far. “There are far more serious elements of Islamophobia. People look at all sorts of things — that can just be a glance. A glance and a stare are two different things — glances happen naturally when all sorts of things catch your eye whereas a stare is probably gawking at something.
“Personally I have not encountered much of a problem with people staring. I don’t know how you legislate for that.”
Read it here if you can stand it.