Race Matters

Understanding Muslim students

NUS Women’s Officer, Hareem Ghani, writes about the research she’s leading to understand the experiences of Muslim students across the UK.

The National Union of Students (NUS) have launched a piece of research looking into the experiences of Muslim students in further and higher education.  

The survey, commissioned by the NUS Women’s Campaign and the NUS Black Students’ Campaign, aims to explore the day-to-day realities of being a Muslim student on campus.

The recent Social Mobility Challenges Faced by Young Muslims study concluded that retention rates and degree attainment for Muslim students in Higher Education was significantly lower than their white counterparts.

This, coupled with the Employment Opportunities for Muslims in the UK report provided a damning indictment of the British education system. 

However, the Muslim Students Survey will not restrict itself to academic experiences alone. Rather, it will seek to explore the contributions made by Muslim students to wider university and college communities. Additionally, it will aim to highlight the institutional barriers they may face, as well as the effect of the Prevent duty on Islamic and Muslim-majority societies. 

Every year, Islamic societies raise tens of thousands of pounds for a number of charities. In 2017, this reached over £1m – money that went towards supporting orphans and children living in poverty. Yet, far too often student Islamic societies and Muslims are treated as a suspect community and find themselves at the centre of university and college surveillance. 

Similarly, the past year saw a record-breaking number of Muslim students elected as full-time sabbatical officers (as well as an ever-increasing number of Muslim students participating in student democracy). At the same time, the right-wing media (as well as student media groups) have made concerted efforts to target and scrutinise black and/or Muslim activists in the press - often holding them to impossible standards. 

The Muslim students survey will focus on a whole subset of issues facing Muslim students today. The findings of the survey will help to inform policy recommendations for students’ unions, and higher and further education institutes. You can support the research by sharing it with your networks. 
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