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One in four children in the UK bullied as a result of religious faith, Beatbullying report shows

By Jackie O’Neal
11/18/08 LONDON, UK (ANS) — Beatbullying (www.beatbullying.org), a bullying prevention organization based in London, published a report indicating that one in four young persons in the UK from across all religious faiths are being bullied because of their beliefs

According to the Ekklesia News Agency (www.ekklesia.co.uk), the report said, “There is little or no support, few outlets and limited provision provided for young people to talk about their faith. Almost half of young people do not talk about religious or faith issues at all.”

The report went on to say, “Religion, faith or perceived faith background arguably mediates peer relationships and interactions. 1 in 5 young people report friendships with people largely from the same religious background, arguably indicating a level of segregation and religious intolerance.”

Beatbullying initiatives include government-funded Interfaith bullying prevention programs developed to help curtail the behavior of young persons using religious faith as a cause for bullying their peers.

The story went on to say that the initiatives have been proven to reduce incidences of faith based bullying by 45% in participating schools. In fact, 84% of young people who participated in the programs, and who were targets of bullies, report that they are no longer being bullied.

Emma-Jane Cross, Chief Executive of Beatbullying told Ekklesia: “The findings from our survey clearly indicate the lack of support and direction our young people have to openly discuss and understand faith based issues with their peers. Beatbullying worries that this lack of cohesion is cultivating at best a lack of understanding and at worst a lack of tolerance of other faiths.”

“Beatbullying’s work proves that by providing outlets for young people to discuss the issues that matter to them, we can effectively reduce anti-social and violent behaviors between young people. As a result, the Government must encourage and resource faith community organizations who are working with local, regional and central Government to promote social cohesion, tolerance and commonality.

“The Government must also undertake a comprehensive piece of research to map the extent and depth of faith based bullying between our young people, and publishes explicit guidelines sitting outside what has been written on race. These must then be disseminated to all schools in England and Wales if we are to see a significant change in behavior amongst our young people.”