A survey published in November to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week revealed that almost a quarter of young people have been bullied because of their religion. Beatbullying, a government-funded project to prevent bullying in schools, said it had encountered a disturbing level of religious intolerance among the children it had studied.
Chief executive Emma-Jane Cross said that schools were cultivating ‘at best a lack of understanding and at worst a lack of tolerance of other faiths’. The survey was based on 800 under-18s who visited the charity’s web site.
23% said they had been bullied because of their faith, while 9% said they had been singled out for wearing religious symbols. This bullying took the form of racial abuse and physical attacks, as well as being spat at, mugged, and even stabbed.
About one-fifth (19%) of those who participated in the study said they chose to mix largely with friends of the same religion. A small minority (6%) said their families did not approve of them having friends from other religions.