Prejudices and Islamophobia


While the recent Paris attacks have unnerved the entire world, there has been an unprecedented backlash against American and European Muslim students. An article by Edinburg News that my colleague Melanie also discusses here captures the plight of a student who has been constantly subjected to bullying because she is a Muslim. Due to severity of the humiliation, her mother was left with no option but to pull her out from school. While Melanie chose to look at the article from the perspective of a lack of teacher intervention, I want to focus on the specific ways how Muslim students are being attacked and humiliated.

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Are We Helping or Hindering Peace on Earth?

Çadır okul, Suriyeli öğrencilerin umudu oldu
Daily Sabah Turkey

The refugee crisis in Europe is getting more attention than ever…and having far-reaching effects around the world.

Germany, who was praised for their acceptance of a large number of refugees earlier this year (see my post on Germans welcoming refugees and providing higher education), has seen an increase in rallies against this motion, as can be seen in this Al Jazeera article. As if to back up the protesters’ claims, this video by Islam Crysis relays reports of ‘No-Go Zones’ by people claiming the police do not/cannot enter certain parts of cities due to increased violence caused by immigrant populations (it is in German with English sub-titles).   Fear is rising and politicians throughout the United States—in particular those identifying as Republicans—have taken a stand against accepting refugees from Syria. Here is part of a CNN interview with Ted Cruz (a Republican candidate and a senator of Texas—the state who infamously filed a complaint against the U.S. and the International Rescue Committee for planning to settle 8 Syrian refugees in Dallas; the CNN report is here) in which he claimed that bringing Syrian refugees to America is “nothing short of lunacy”(Schliefer 2015).  All of this has major implications for refugees around the world. The way these events play out in refugee students’ everyday lives can have a huge impact on their learning and development.

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Teachers Make a Difference

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Given the influx of migrant children in Europe and Middle East, the recent Huffington Post article stresses on having long term solutions for educational access over temporary programs. These programs may help in bridging the gap of the lost years of schooling but considering the Syrian crisis situation, displacement seems to be a “life long sentence”. Thus short term relevance of these programs are ineffective in providing the stable ambience for children to complete their education. Integrating refugee children in the national education system of the host countries should be the preferred choice.

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A Tale of Three Teachers

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Photograph: Alamy 

The Guardian recently profiled three teachers about their experience working with migrant students across the UK. Each teacher highlighted different issues and needs, as well as a different framework that their school took in welcoming new students. The first teacher desired more English language specialists to give in-depth help. She said it was difficult to plan lessons and had to think very carefully about how to get complex ideas across. The second teacher desired emotional and psychological support for students dealing with trauma from their pasts and attested to the fact that usually students act out for valid reasons. The third said though there was great diversity at his school there was no highlighting of students’ unique pasts and this brought people together better and helped incoming students more quickly learn language and content.

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Institutional Barriers to Educational Access


While talks about the world’s worst migration crisis is centered around Europe, the migration of the Rohingya at Myanmar is no less severe as apparent from the The Independent and The New York Times. Deprived of many fundamental rights Rohingya, a muslim minority  is  subjected to constrained movements with restricted access to employment, healthcare, food and education. A significant section of Rohingya have been living in shanty camps for months now after the communal violence that broke out in 2012 between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya. Lives of the Rohingya living in these internment camps as captured by Fortify Rights  are getting worse day by day due to the callous indifference of the Government. The recent post, Sea Slaves by my colleague, Rachel, captures the plight of the Rohingya leading them to take the perilous sea route to see refuge in neighboring countries.

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Taking Action One Step at a Time

Daniele Volpe for Al Jazeera America

My co-blogger Rachel has written a great post on providing academic consistency for students in migrant families in the United States. Meanwhile, this post will explore going beyond curriculum and addressing students’ emotional and physical needs.

Many school districts across America are struggling to keep up with the influx of migrant students. Meeting the needs of individual students is vital, but I admit, often it is a very multifaceted situation. Students can have language acquisition, familial, legal and emotional needs, among others. In this story published by Al Jazeera, Katya Cengel outlines the vast amount of problems for undocumented youth in the Los Angeles area. Not only do most encounter homelessness, but legal concerns are part of the complex puzzle—students sometimes need to attend court for immigration appointments. These migrant students report a multitude of harrowing, violent situations that caused them to flee to America for a better life in the first place and resulting issues include a wide range of emotional and mental states, including anxiety and PTSD. Finally, the fact that many students have to work to either support themselves or pay back smugglers is another a major issue. It certainly doesn’t seem to be a very hopeful situation.

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Finding Edugration


This is the second part of a two-part blog post.  Read the first part here

My previous post detailed how Rohingya often find themselves enslaved on fishing boats from a young age while trying to migrate to a better life.  In this post, I want to analyze the camps in western Burma in which they live and the education opportunities which are available there, concluding with an identification of the obstacles the Rohingya must overcome to obtain an education upon immigrating to Thailand from Rakhine state. 

Also, read my co-blogger Janice’s post about the emerging rights of Thai migrant workers here.

Finally, see this page to understand why we write about “edugration.”

The Rohingya, a stateless ethnically Muslim minority group, are fleeing Burma in waves due to institutionalized discrimination and probable genocide that includes “restrictions on marriage, family planning, employment, education, religious choice, and freedom of movement,” leaving them as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world according to the UN.

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Sea Slaves

This is the first of a two-part series about the impacts of migration on the Rohingya people.  The second part can be found here

My co-blogger Janice also wrote an excellent post about the emerging rights of Thai migrant workers.  Read it here.

The fishing industry in Thailand is rife with human trafficking.  CNN, the New York Times, and the Guardian each delivered an exposé into the life of the “sea slaves [working] in floating labor camps,” as the Times so succinctly phrased the quandary in which these workers find themselves.  These fishing slaves are lured into Thailand with the promise of work, money, and a better life, only to arrive to find themselves placed on unregistered boats in harsh and abusive conditions unbeknownst to the Thai government.  While this is horrific, I am even more disturbed by the fact that these reports do not dwell on the ages of these slaves, as pieces from Reuters, BBC, and Deutsche Welle, a German international broadcaster, do.

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Creating and Retaining India’s Talent

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If you meet a group young Indians in the States, it won’t be wrong to presume that they are either working in Silicon Valley or pursing their higher education in mathematical or physical sciences. A recent article in Hindustan times states the report by National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics which makes India the largest contributor in the field of science and technology in the US.  India has seen an 85% rise in emigrants to the US in the last 10 years. The article mentions this phenomenon as “brain drain,” to which R A Marshalkar, the former Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India has expressed his concerns about Indians leaving their country. He has suggested that India should have more avenues for innovation and research for young graduates in science, else “they will leave to become a part of other societies, which encourage innovation.”

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