When I was at school I was a science geek and very proud of my religious and cultural heritage. I’d talk about it in class at every opportunity. I must have bored the pants off the other children. If I went to school today, I’d probably be on some Government watch list.
Last month Ahmed Mohamed made a clock to impress his teacher and took it to school. They arrested him and made him feel like a criminal and a terrorist. That memory is never going to leave him. He may forget what people said, but he will never forget how they made him feel.
Here in England, a 14-year-old Muslim boy was questioned about Islamic state after a classroom discussion about environmental activism. Left scared and nervous he is now reluctant to take part in school discussions
Government legislation allows for the spying on of Muslim children and it is creating an environment of fear in classrooms, one that stunts debate and discussion. Educators are labelling Muslim pupils as potential terrorists and we are in danger of damaging these children and their prospects for good.
Are we now supposed to start telling our children to play dumb just to keep them safe? Whilst other children are encouraged to be forthright and follow their passions, are little Muslim children supposed to play small, not raise issues, not discuss or debate ideas about science, religion or philosophy? By labelling our babies as terrorists is the world not creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Academics have long debated Labelling Theory and its effects. The theory states that how we describe someone influences their behaviour. Every parent knows this. I don’t use negative labels when speaking with my son because I want him to believe in himself and I want him to achieve his potential. But I’m afraid that my hard work will be undone by a teacher who labels him based on his parents’ faith and in doing so hinders his progress.
This must stop now. Its time the Government looked again at the laws it has put in place to keep British citizens safe. The debate needs to be reopened, because this seriously flawed legislation has the potential to deliver our children into the hands of the very people it is supposed to be protecting them from.