"We've seen the underachievement of young black males. We've heard about the inner-city white working class boys who aren't making the grades. Well now its Muslim boys raising a cause for concern, at least in the London Borough of Redbridge.
Of course 'Muslim boys' is as homogenous a group as 'black males' was/is. Encompassing all our young men whether Sunni or Shi'a, Turkish or Saudi, Pakistani or Bangladeshi. And yet, what do they have in common? A religion and a demonisation of specifically Muslim males which was at its height in the aftermath of 9/11 and continues to permeate society. Islamophobia is ever-present and for British-born Muslims, society emits a array of mixed messages. For some of them, their families tell them they are not Muslim enough, not Pakistani enough, while the media warns against becoming overly-islamised and tells us that places like Pakistani are the breeding ground of Jihadists and the Taliban. British-born, British-raised Muslims, sometimes who have never even visited their country of family origin face these images and perceptions every day.
Muslim boys are constantly, whether it being a serious term of offence or simply a joke, labeled as 'terrorists'. Simply possessing an Islamic name makes them target of increased suspicion, checks and interrogation by police, immigration, customs and other security services.
For most people in this country, Islamophobia means nothing. There are no Muslims in the Northamptonshire village from which I hail. But for the sake of our Muslim boys, who are decent, innocent young souls, lay off the demonisation, lets give them something to be proud about, welcome them as part of our community and lets work with theirs and not against it."