Muslim students feel unsafe on campus and feel negatively affected by government’s Prevent strategy, NUS report finds

Muslim students feel unsafe on campus, with as many as one in three having reported some type of abuse or crime at their university, according to new figures from National Union of Students (NUS).

The report from the NUS and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies also found only 38 per cent of respondents agreed that their students’ unions understand their needs as Muslim students.

NUS Black Students’ Officer Ilyas Nagdee said: “This report lends itself to challenging truths about NUS and the student movement – now steps must be made and a commitment shown to remove Islamophobia from our learning and democratic spaces”.

The number of reported hate crimes on campus has gone up by 60 per cent over the past two years. The figure could be much larger but many universities, such as City University, do not keep specific records of the numbers of hate crimes on their campuses.

The report also found that one in three Muslim students feel negatively affected by Prevent, the government’s counter-terrorism strategy designed to support those at risk of joining extremist groups.

Earlier this month judges found the Prevent duty guidance for universities unlawful. The guidelines around inviting controversial speakers were described as ineffective, and risked alienating and radicalizing Muslim students.

The report recommends that students’ unions should improve ways students can report hate crimes and Islamophobic incidents. It also calls on those campaigning against Prevent to recognise how the strategy impedes Muslim students’ trust in their universities.

NUS Women’s Officer Hareem Ghani said: “The results were heavily gendered; women who wear a traditional Islamic garment were significantly more likely to be very worried about being abused or attacked.

“Action must be taken immediately by institutions and students’ unions to safeguard Muslim students – especially women – against racism in or around campus.”

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