Muslims facing problems in UK: Iranian student

Iranian student leader believed that it was up to the Muslims to exercise their democratic rights.

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2011, 13:06 PM IST

London: Muslim students in British university campuses suffer from many problems because of issues associated with "Islamophobia", an Iranian woman student leader has said.

Alaa` al-Samarrai, vice president for student affairs of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), told Iran`s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that lecturers were suffering from pressure to spy on Muslim students and Islamic societies, and a by-product of the pressure was that "by default students are assumed to be the cause of the problem".

"One of the biggest challenges faced by Muslim students on campuses today are the implications of the extremism agenda, and the impact it is having on universities and the pressure on them to act and scrutinise their students," she said.

There are an estimated 250,000 Muslim students in Britain.

"Muslims in general, face problems to practice their religion openly on campus because of the type of (religious) speakers they bring into the campuses," she said.

She said there were numerous examples of "Islamophobic attacks", both physical and verbal, including a recent case of three Muslim male students being stabbed on campus.

"Sisters wearing hijabs were attacked because they were visibly Muslims," she said.

The student leader believed that it was up to the Muslims to speak out and exercise their democratic rights by becoming involved with their universities and student unions.

There were also "irrational fears" about the "Islamification" of Europe, and like those linking immigration with economic problems.