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Children Faith and Marginalisation


Children's Perspectives on Belonging to a Faith Community ... of some prayer, scripture reading or ritual was common across the faith groups ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Children Faith and Marginalisation

Children Faith and Marginalisation
  • Work in Progress
  • Greg Smith
  • University of East London
  • For Joseph Rowntree Foundation

  • Childrens Perspectives on Belonging to a Faith
  • Known as the Friends, Food and Faith research
  • Working in 3 multicultural schools, 1 in London,
    2 in a Northern City
  • Studying nearly 100 Year 5 and 6 children, ages
  • Looking at social cohesion and social capital
  • Using mainly qualitative methods, observation
    and in depth interviews

  • Paper based mainly on one school in the North
  • A Roman Catholic School, serving a multi-faith
  • Fieldwork in school over half a term, present
    roughly half each school week
  • Year 6 class about to leave for secondary school
  • Questionnaires, worksheets, diaries, copies of
    school work, participant observation, taped
    interviews and discussions
  • Usually with pairs of children, some individuals
    and small groups

Family or self belong to any religion(s) by
Gender? Boy Girl
Total Christian 4 9 13 30.8
69.2 100.0 Muslim 7 1
8 87.5 12.5 100.0 Hindu 1 1
2 50.0 50.0
100.0 mixed 1
1 100.0
100.0 Total 13 11
24 54.2 45.8 100.0
Watch Blue Peter? often sometimes No
Total Christian 1 7 5 13 7.7 53.8 38.5
100.0 Muslim 1 7 8 12.5 87.5 100.0
Hindu 1 1 2 50.0 50.0 100.0
  • Similar patterns of religious attendance
    (everyone had at least occasionally) been to
    public worship, a festival or rite of passage.
  • Practice in the home (privately or with family
    members) of some prayer, scripture reading or
    ritual was common across the faith groups but not
  • Attendance at religious classes was common, but
    for Christians it was occasional, or weekly, for
    most Muslims it was 3 hours daily.

(No Transcript)
  • In School Time
  • Everyone did RE with a multi-faith syllabus
  • Christians and Hindus took part in Mass, though
    only initiated Catholics took communion.
  • Muslims (and a few Pentecostals) went to do work
    in another hall
  • In regular assemblies all were present but
    Muslims did not generally sing
  • At lunch separate vegetarian and halal tables
    but many Muslims had packed lunch
  • Most Muslims missed the field trip

  • Together as a Team
  • The class play… Romeo and Juliet
  • Reminiscence Therapy for leavers
  • Collective social control… stopping Tarj getting
    a yellow card
  • Valuing diversity..

Playground Life
  • Main Playground Groupings
  • The Lads (included 2 Muslims, 2 Hindus, , 3
    white Christians…sporty and fit)
  • The Mosque boys.. (6, overtly Islamic, attend
    the Jumma mosque, some were kin)
  • The girls (all white, Christian / RC, working
    class.. Link to boys through cute Andrew)
  • The inseparable pair, (Pushpa (Hindu) Lily
    (RC) both middle class)
  • The isolates.. Charles (fat boy), Val
    (excludable) Taj..(Hindu, joker)
  • Best friend pairs, (Andrew/Taj, Robina/Harriet)

  • Are there any other gangs that go around together
    in the class to spend a lot of time together…
  • the lads..
  • Which lads?(in chorus)
  • Javed, Jayraj, Andrew, David, Hanif,Parvin,
  • Javed, Jayraj, Andrew, David, Hanif,Parvin,
  • Mainly all the boys really
  • I think that figures with what they've told me…
    but what about some of the other boys? You
    haven't mentioned people like Usman, Zaffir
  • They like hang around with each other because
    they are trying to learn the whole of the Quran..
    So they just hang around with each other and
    help each other out.. We don't hang around with
  • We hang around with all the girls and sometimes
    with all the boys… and go to town with them
  • (2 White RC girls)

  • Why don't you play with the rest (mosque boys)?
  • …..Because they don't want to play with us?
  • ….I asked . but .they just start…
  • …..They tell us to ??? off…
  • Why do think they do that?
  • I think it is to do with colour… racism
  • They don't like white people …..
  • But Javed and Hanif and people like that mix with
  • Yes
  • It's just the others .. Out in the yard
    when they think we are going to get the ball
    only..Ahmed said a "black b..." that's going to
    be racism isn't it?
  • Ahmed is a good friend… and Zaffir is a good
    friend out of them lot… but the others are not
    our friends.
  • I don't argue with them because we'd soon get
    into a fight and get detention…
  • (2 white RC boys)

  • Muslim Children Outside School
  • Time is constrained.. 15 hours in mosque school
    each week
  • Friendship and play often restricted to kin
    (cousin-brothers), who live locally and go to
    same mosque
  • Neighbourhood segregation and racism/
    communalism also constrains links across
  • Food regulations, and other cultural norms makes
    visiting non-muslims, birthday parties, mixing
    with girls etc. difficult.
  • Religious restrictions on TV viewing?

Why do you think that gang of boys are all
friends.. You know how it is .. it's just us
Muslim boys? Muslim boys? Yes Is that important
for you? We've known each other for ages
like…and.. we are even at mosque in the evenings
together.. Other friends? Zafar.. H.. he is in
high school.. he is from here and he goes to the
same mosque.. and he is in my same class.. so I
play with him in F.. street where I live.. Any
more? His cousin… he is the same .. I play with
him… he comes to the same mosque as well.. and
then my cousin Adam.. he comes here as
well. (two Muslim boys)
  • Secondary Schools
  • Most children are going to the default local
    comprehensive, which is an RC high school.
  • For most it preference is about where friends
    and relatives go, where there is no reputation
    for bullying or trouble
  • Most children see positive values in having a
    mixed faith intake
  • Some Muslim children, (and one Christian) are
    expecting to be sent to a faith school, but have
    some anxieties about it.
  • Children dont see much different about church

Did you put down any other schools Yes Br………. I
didn't want to go there anyway as none of my
mates go there… ---------(default high school and
her first choice) is another Catholic school
isn't it Yes but it still got Muslims What do you
think you like the idea of a church school? It's
better mixed ...because you get taught about
their religion And there are fit boys Do you
think it would be a good idea if, say Muslims
have their own schools and Christians No.. ….. It
wouldn't be right… it's like if they just
separated boys from girls.. That wouldn't be
right…I don (Two White RC Girls)
  • Conclusions?
  • In this case study there is some evidence that
    Muslim children are marginalised.
  • This may be reinforced by certain school
  • But it is not the case that all Muslim children
    are marginalised
  • It is perceived by other children that the
    mosque boys exclude others, and are taught to
    keep separate.
  • The mosque boys themselves have a strong and
    articulate Islamic identity.

  • PS We were going to call this paper
  • Kids, Faiths and
  • Panda
  • Monium