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Muslim children face an identity crisis

BEING a Muslim in a British school can be very confusing, says Ibrahim Lawson, head of the 110-pupil private Nottingham Islamia school.

"If you are British-born with Iraqi parents, and Muslim, holding all those identities together is quite difficult, he said. "Muslim children really have three identities: their British identity, their religious identity and an identity which stems from their ethnic roots. At times like this their religious identity comes to the fore and in some cases provides a peg on which to hang adolescent behaviour and to express individuality."

He was one of around 20 Muslim heads and heads of schools with largely Muslim pupils who met at the National College for School Leadership to discuss the impact of the war on students and staff.

Mr Lawson, one of the event's facilitators, said Muslim pupils felt alienated in schools because non-Muslim peers and teachers did not understand how important their faith was to them. Opinion, 25 www.ncsl.org.uk

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