Students are being urged to make sure their Muslim parents don’t feel threatened at university campuses.
In a recent column for The Conversation, a student advocacy group, Islamic Education and Research Society, (IIERS) described how Muslim students are being told that their faith is not relevant at university and that they are unwelcome.
“They are told that it is not fair to expect Muslims to contribute to the culture, language and traditions of their society,” the group said.
“This is an insult to the very concept of belonging and it is deeply concerning.”
The Islamic Education & Research Society has published a series of advice on how to handle Muslim parents.
The first piece discusses how to deal “in a safe and respectful manner” with the parents of Muslim students.
In response to concerns about Islamophobia at university, the article advises Muslim students not to speak to or contact their parents.
The organisation also urges students to be respectful and to be “committed to learning and learning from others”.
“Instead of focusing on your own needs and concerns, focus on the needs and issues of the students around you,” the article states.
This is not the first time that Muslim parents have complained to the University of New South Wales about the way their students are treated.
Last year, Muslim students at the University in Sydney claimed that students were being “shamed and intimidated” at the university.
A year earlier, Muslim student Omar Jibrani told the ABC that he was verbally abused at the campus by a Muslim student at the time.
But university administrators were not able to find any evidence that Muslim students had complained about Muslim students being subjected to discrimination at university.
“In recent years, there has been a rise in Islamophobia, which is a term that is often used by some students to describe the feeling that they have been treated differently because of their religion or race,” the University says in its submission to the Government’s submission.
“[It is] a real concern to many Muslims that students who feel uncomfortable speaking to their parents or their community might feel they are being treated differently in the workplace, or that their views might be held less seriously than those of their Muslim peers.”
Islamic Education & Recruitment Association president Anwar Ali says Muslim students should not feel “uncomfortable” being “compelled to speak about their faith or to speak their minds”.
“If we are being asked to participate in a religious institution, then that’s a religious act,” Mr Ali said.
He said the university had also been told that Muslim members were “uninvited” to campus because they are not part of the Muslim student community.
Mr Ali said Muslims should not be afraid of expressing their religious views on campus, as it would only reinforce their views about their religion.
“They need to be reassured that if they do speak their mind, their opinions and their values are valued and respected,” he said.
“And the university has to be careful to ensure that their campus is welcoming of all students regardless of their faith.”
University of New England (UNE) student, Ali Abdirahman, said the issue of Muslim and non-Muslim students at universities was a complex one.
“The idea that one can’t have a debate on this topic is completely absurd,” he told the National Post.
Students have also expressed concerns about a lack of diversity on campus.
Professor of Islamic studies, Zainab Ali, said diversity was an important part of a university’s academic experience.
She said diversity included diversity in religion, race and ethnic origin.
Ms Ali said the Islamic Education Society’s submission did not address the issue.
“It’s a very important issue and I’m sure it’s going to be discussed in the submission,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, it is very important to remember that we are all students.
We have different experiences and we all have our own experiences.”
If people feel uncomfortable sharing their personal experiences and their beliefs and their views, then they are free to do so.
It is important that we not take this issue lightly.” Read more: