November marks the beginning of Islamophobia Awareness Month.
This month, we are campaigning for the government and higher education institutions to #AdoptTheDefinition of Islamophobia to ensure that we are creating safe and accessible environments for Muslim students.
Current statistics demonstrate that British Muslims suffer disproportionately when it comes to their experiences of social mobility and educational attainment. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, only 18% of British Muslims achieved First-Class degrees at the undergraduate level compared to 30% of their non-faith counterparts,with similar research by Dan and Probert (2011) highlighting that only 4% of Muslims attended Russell Group universities. Research conducted by the NUS also shows that 1 in 3 Muslims felt negatively affected by Prevent, with 43% feeling unable to express their political views.
As part of our commitment to eradicating Islamophobia, not only have we funded over 350 British Muslims and invested over £4.9m in increasing access to postgraduate education, but through our Preferred Partners model, we are ensuring that structural and institutional changes are taking place by only working with universities that commit to the following:
- Adopting the definition of Islamophobia to ensure higher education institutions are safer and accessible spaces for British Muslim students
- Providing specific support and developing widening participation programmes to effectively support British Muslim students, who are disproportionately affected by the awarding gap, especially in Russell Group universities.
- Commiting to providing financial aid or incentives at the postgraduate level for British Muslim students
This month, we shall be engaging with our partners and other higher education stakeholders to ensure that more institutions can commit to the fight against Islamophobia. We shall also be showcasing our scholars to demonstrate the incredible impact made as a result of funding those with potential, whose achievements and capabilities are often missed in mainstream narratives.