ABSTRACT

Interethnic violence can be understood as a form of ‘identity-based bullying’; defined as bullying based on ‘identity-based characteristics such as race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity’ (Tippett et al. 2011: 1), a form of bullying which is usually associated with prejudiced or stereotyped views of particular social groups. It is therefore a social issue and, thus, we wanted to consider the impact of such discourses within the school environment and upon children and young people’s lives more generally. In light of the increasingly Islamophobic discourse within wider society, we opted to analyze interethnic violence in the school environment in England through the lens of Islamophobia, in relation to both children and young people’s own experiences as well as attitudes towards Muslims.1 Following world and home events over the past two decades, in particular the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 and the London bombings in July 2005, a wide body of literature evidences the increased hostility and prejudice towards Muslims in England and, indeed, Europe more generally (Poynting and Mason 2007; Crozier and Davies 2008; Suleiman 2009; Lambert and GithensMazar 2010; Allen 2010) as well as the rise of far-right movements across Europe that seek to exploit anti-Muslim sentiment, such as the English Defence League (EDL)2 (Fekete 2009; Allen 2011).