In what can be considered as a ground breaking effort to stop religious hate crimes, ministers in the UK have planned to send out serving Muslim soldiers to several schools located across the country. In an attempt to counter what is popularly being called as ‘Islamaphobia’, the ministers believe that this act would get rid of several misconceptions about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims, and would bring down the crime rate associated with anti-Muslim crimes.
The religious hate crime rate shot up in the country after Lee Rigby was killed by nearly eight-fold, with the rate remaining at an alarming 36 each week even a month after the incident.
The Muslim soldiers visiting these schools in the UK would have either served in the army before, or would currently be serving. And along with them, the ministers have decided to send several Muslim servicemen to the schools too. The soldiers and servicemen would address the school assemblies along with other Christian colleagues.
Post the Woolwich incident, this proposal would most likely to shed some light on Muslims (almost 650 of them) as well as non-Muslim soldiers serving in the army, and how they tend to get along with each other in spite of differing in their faith and beliefs.
Officials also believe that the visit would put to a stop, rumors doing the rounds that it would be practically impossible to be a faithful Muslim and a loyal British soldier (or citizen) at the same time. With these plans, the government has decided to quash the common belief that the West is constantly at loggerheads with Islam.
Two proposals are being considered for these visits by the minister of Faith and Communities, SayeedaWarsi, who is reportedly in charge of organizing these visits. Accordingly, while one proposal is being brought forward by the Curzon Institute, the other is being put forward by the Army under the guidance of Imam Ali Omar, the new Civilian Chaplain to the Military. Both proposals would be funded by the local government and the Department of Communities.
The visits are scheduled as part of activities conducted in several schools across the country next year to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War. It is said that thousands of Muslim soldiers had fought for the country and died during the First World War, with many of them being of Indian and Pakistani origin. And government officials believe that these visits could deem to be crucial for the community, given the tensions today!