After the recent terror attacks in the United Kingdom, a UK-based child helpline that provides counseling services to children has revealed that incidents of children being branded as terrorists have increased after the recent terror attacks in Britain.
The helpline in question, Childline, has said that children as young as nine have been the victims of such labeling. According to a report in the Independent, the helpline has registered an increase in the number of children contacting them with regards to race and faith-based bullying.
Childline has also disclosed that the number of cases whereby children have contacted them with regards to such bullying almost doubled after the Westminster attack that killed four people and injured more than 50.
The helpline registered a further increase in these cases after the bombing at Ariana Grande s concert in Manchester in May. Childline reportedly held 300 sessions with children concerned about terrorism following the attack.
According to the report, those children who contacted Childline about racial and faith-based bullying included Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Black, and Sikh children. Moreover, the helpline has conducted 2, 500 such sessions in the past three years. Their experiences include constant name-calling, accusations of being associated with the Islamic State, victimisation of hijab or headscarf wearing girls and even threats of violence.
Furthermore, children who had contacted the helpline had reported that the abuse had led them to harm themselves and also express the desire that they could change who they are. Some said that they became so isolated that they skipped school to escape the constant bullying.
The founder and president of Childline, Dame Esther Rantzen, has called for an increased awareness among adults about the effect that such incidents can have on children and the way they treat each other. Rantzen stressed on the fact that potential victims must be protected.
Britain has reportedly seen an increase in racial and faith-based attacks after the recent incidents of terrorism that have occurred in the country. Last week, a van had struck pedestrians outside the Finsbury Park mosque in London. The attacker had reportedlyshouted: "I want to kill all Muslims" as he came out of the van. British media had cited Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick as saying, "This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting."
The recent attacks in Britain have created an atmosphere of fear for the Muslim community as not only do they have be vigilant about acts of terrorism, they also have to be wary of hate crimes from their own countrymen who associate Islam with terrorism.