Every student deserves the freedom to learn, without fear for their safety or well-being. But for too long, Muslims in America, and those perceived to be Muslim, have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks, bullying, and harassment. Islamophobia – and related forms of bias that target Arab, Middle Eastern, Sikh, and South Asian communities – hamper students’ opportunities to equally access an education.
On November 1, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the development of the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia in the United States. The Administration looks forward to continuing its work with community leaders, advocates, members of Congress, and more to develop the strategy – which will be a joint effort led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council – and counter the scourge of Islamophobia and hate in all its forms.
As Vice President Kamala Harris said when announcing the National Strategy: “In America, no one should be made to fight hate alone. And in this moment, let us clearly say that a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us.”
The following resources are aimed at helping students, educators, and communities ensure that all students, including Muslim students, have safe and supportive learning environments:
- Actions Undertaken by the U.S. Department of Education Since the October 7, 2023 Hamas Attacks in Israel | Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships: This page documents actions, and related resources, provided by the U.S. Department of Education following the Hamas attacks in Israel and subsequent Israel-Hamas conflict.
- Resources Related to Combatting Antisemitism and Islamophobia While Promoting Religious Inclusion in Schools | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE): The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), a technical assistance center funded by the US Department of Education, is dedicated to providing schools with the necessary resources to confront and counteract antisemitism and Islamophobia, while also embracing a broader spectrum of religious diversity and discrimination issues. Their resources aim to enlighten, foster unity, and promote an inclusive educational environment where all students, irrespective of their background, are treated with respect and dignity.
- CFBNP’s Freedom of Religion Page: This page houses resources for students, families, educators, and communities on religious freedom, as well as related news and accomplishments by the Biden-Harris Administration.
- Free to Learn Call to Action: The US Department of Education is carrying out its United We Stand commitments under the new initiative “Free to Learn.” Together with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), they are coordinating to support states and territories, school districts, tribal nations, and public health agencies to prevent, address, and ameliorate the effects of bullying, violence, and hate while also supporting school safety, school-based mental health, and positive school climate so all students are free to learn.
- Spotlights on Educational Institutions Engaged in Strategies for Inclusion of Students for All Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities
Resources from the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
- FACT SHEET: Protecting Students from Discrimination Based on Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics: This fact sheet describes ways this protection covers students who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, or of another religious group.
- Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics: The civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) protect all students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age.
- Office for Civil Rights Complaint Process: Provides information on how to file a complaint if an individual experiences or sees racial discrimination in education.
- Dear Colleague Letter Reminding Schools of Their Legal Obligation to Address Discrimination, Including Harassment
Additional Resources for Supporting Muslim Students
The links below represent just a few examples of the numerous publicly available resources on this topic. The resources were identified by technical assistance centers which receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The listing of these resources below should not be construed or interpreted as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any private organization or business listed herein. To recommend additional resources, email email@example.com.
- Helping Educators and Counselors Prevent Bullying of America’s Muslim Youth | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE): Presents a webinar that aims to inform educators and counselors on what Islam is and the vulnerabilities that American Muslims face in the nation’s schools and communities. The webinar also includes strategies and best practices for preventing bullying and Islamophobia in schools.
- Supporting Students, Staff, Families, and Communities Impacted by Anti-Islamic Hate | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE): Lists websites and free resources aimed at helping support youth, families, schools, and communities impacted by anti-Islamic hate.
- Dismantling Islamophobia: Provides six tips on how to combat anti-Muslim bullying in schools.
- Guide to Supporting Muslim Students: Provides resources on celebrating and uplifting Muslim students as well as countering Islamophobia in schools.
- Talking with your Children about Islamophobia and Hate-Based Violence: Discusses Islamophobia and hate-based violence against Muslims with children. This fact sheet highlights, for parents and caregivers, strategies that can be used to facilitate effective conversations, age-specific guidelines, and actions families and communities can take before an event occurs.
- StopBullying.gov: StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
- How to Talk to Your Child About the News | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) (ed.gov): Describes how youth exposure to upsetting events in the news (e.g., terrorist attacks, mass shootings) can increase worries about personal and family safety and shares various ways parents can talk with kids to allay fears.
- Preventing Youth Hate Crimes & Identity-Based Bullying Initiative Webinar Series: Introduction to Youth Hate Crimes and Hate Groups (recording): The first in a 12-webinar series as part of The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Preventing Youth Hate Crimes & Identity-Based Bullying Initiative. Webinar presenters provided an understanding of hate crimes and hate groups (signs and symbols of hate groups, recruitment, definitions); identified the differences between bullying, harassment, and hate crimes; discussed how to identify and report hate crimes in school; and highlighted restorative justice solutions and prevention efforts.
- Muslim group releases bullying survey, gives recommendations: AP News, May 2021: More than 60% of Muslim youths surveyed in Massachusetts reported being mocked, verbally harassed or physically abused because of their Islamic faith, the state’s chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a report.
- Protecting Our Muslim Youth from Bullying: the Role of the Educator: Important anti-bias and bullying prevention strategies that teachers can use to address anti-Muslim sentiment.
Note: The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships’ website contains links to other websites and news articles. These links represent just a few examples of the numerous reference materials currently available to the public. The opinions expressed in any articles or webpages do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The inclusion of resources should not be construed or interpreted as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education or the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships of any private organization or business listed herein.