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'Islamophobia' - time to teach tolerance

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Nick - Web Team Nick - Web Team | 07:58 UK time, Wednesday, 5 July 2006

The fact that such an emotive word has been brought into usage shows we are living in worrying times. And you maybe even more surprised to know that it was used to explain the attitude of children in one community in Flintshire.

www.ypnmagazine.com, the magazine for those working with young people, coined the phrase when spotlighting the positive work of Lyn Wakefield in Greenfield, near Holywell.

According to the magazine, Lyn, coordinator of voluntary organisation Youth Action Flintshire, noticed an increase in anti-Muslim sentiments so she organised for young people to attend a four-day course in London where they visited London Central Mosque, met the chair of Greenwich Race Equality Council and analysed media coverage of Muslim issues.

Lyn told the magazine: "The aim was to show young people that there are extremist factions within most religions but the average Muslim is law-abiding and peaceful, sharing our outrage at the terrorism we see on the news. We wanted young people to understand it is vital for people of all religions to join together to challenge hate and embrace peace."

Lyn's programme worked. Sarah, 16, from Greenfield, said: "It changed my whole opinion on people from different races. I will look at Muslims differently now on as I've learned about their background and religion."

Only this morning, BBC Radio Wales's Good Morning Wales programme was debating the issue of immigrants after a survey of 2000 people by YouGov found that three quarters felt Britain's traditional identity and culture was changing. Is that actually a bad thing?

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