Since 9/11: Educating Against Hate

Molly Napier, BA Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice, University of Sussex


On Friday 27th of January 2017 the Since 9/11 was launched at an inspirational conference with incredible guest speakers including Sara Khan (co-director of Inspire), Admiral Lord West (former Undersecretary of State for Security and now chancellor of Southampton Solent University) and Fiyaz Mughal, OBE (founder of Tell Mama and Faith Matters). This is an amazing programme which sets out to teach the events of 9/11 and its lasting and ongoing consequences. This programme has numerous aims, including tackling extremism, challenging misconceptions and stereotypes and reducing Islamic hate crime. To successfully achieve these aims, the programme believes it is essential to teach young people in the UK these sensitive and controversial issues through well researched and cohesive materials. The materials have been created by the UCL Institute of Education, with links to the national curriculum, through the subjects ‘History’, ‘Citizenship’, ‘RE’, ‘English and Drama’ and ‘Art and Design’.

I feel it is essential to teach the events on 9/11 in schools, as the majority of students currently in school were not even alive when the tragedy happened. As an event that substantially changed the course of world history and has led to further terrorist attacks and hate crimes in the UK and abroad, we need to redress the balance of the curriculum to modernise and engage in these contemporary issues. How can we expect the young people of our society to even know about our major political, social and cultural events, yet understand them? By not educating our younger generations we limit the progress possible in creating an equal, fair society, ignoring the real issues and teaching them history which to them has less immediate relevance.

Much of the conference focused on hate crime in the UK and the utterly terrifying statistics which highlighted quite how much of a need for change there is. By teaching the events of 9/11, I believe we can begin to make this change. The majority of information young people receive today about 9/11 and more recent terrorist attacks is from the media, much of which scares them with no real context. This then hugely increases our hate crime, with far right groups using and manipulating fear of terrorism with racist intentions. If we can get young people debating and discussing questions such as; ‘What is a terrorist?’, ‘Why do terrorist attacks happen?’, ‘When did terrorism ‘begin’?’ then we can begin to tackle much wider issues in our society and start to break down stereotypical views. Much of the hate crime in our society stems from fear and ignorance of ‘the other’. This programme aims to eradicate these misunderstandings by highlighting common values and beliefs that run through every religion.

As someone who lost their father in 9/11 and is now studying on the BA Childhood and Youth at University of Sussex, I am so passionate about how essential Since 9/11 is, and making it known and taught in the UK. At a time when we find the President of the United States banning entry to residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries , now more than ever, we need to address these issues and education is the right place to start. For more information please visit the Since 9/11 website to discover the materials available and information on the individual speakers at the conference.

Molly Napier, BA Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice, University of Sussex

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