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Teachers: Citizenship: Globalisation Political

Last Updated: Monday September 04 2006 12:04 GMT

Group blame

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Globalisation - Political


The hostility towards Muslims in the West and the attacks on the World Trade Centre are both examples of group blame.

What does it feel like to be wrongly blamed and what are the consequences?

Learning aims

  • Misplaced blame

  • Group blame

  • Vicious cycle of violence


    What does it feel like to be blamed for something you didn't do?

    Read out this news story to the class.

    Muslim girls in hijab

    Ask students:

  • Six out of 10 of all kids interviewed agreed that life for Muslims had got harder since the 2001 terror attacks on New York. Why do you think this is?

  • Four out of every 10 Muslim children taking part in the Newsround survey thought the news showed Islam in a bad way. What do you think of the way Islam is presented in the news?

  • One in three Muslim kids interviewed said they had been bullied, and half of those believed it was because of their religion. Why do you think Muslim children might be bullied?

  • Seven out of 10 Muslim kids identified themselves as a Muslim rather than British. How do you identify yourself? According to your religion? Country? Parents' origin?

  • Nine out of 10 Muslim children think kids generally need to know more about Islam and almost half of all kids interviewed agreed they wanted to know more about Islam. Do you feel you know enough about Islam? What else would you like to know?

  • 18 per cent of the children interviewed said they associated Muslims with religion, eight per cent said clothes and seven per cent said headscarves. What do you associate with Muslims?

    Main activity

    In pairs, students take turns to interview each other about a time they got blamed for something they didn't do.

    Interview questions:

    • When did this happen?
    • What were you blamed for?
    • Who blamed you?
    • Why did they think it was you?
    • Did they have proof it was you?
    • How did you feel towards them?
    • Was the problem sorted out?
    Students feedback some of their interview findings to the class.

    Extension activities

    Girls having their hands painted for Eid celebrations

    Use these resources for a number of classroom activities.

    Group blame

    Make a poster or write a letter for kids in primary school. It should explain that it is wrong to blame a group of people for the actions of a few.

    Muslim bullied over 11 September attacks

    Read out the Press Pack "I'm Bullied because people blame me" to the class.

    Ask the group what they feel about Muniza's story?

    How could they help if something like this was happening at their school? Prompt: Explain facts to bullies, report bullying, back up the victim of group blame.

    Group blame and the vicious cycle of violence

    Who were the hijackers really attacking? Prompt: US Government.

    What did they hope to achieve? Prompt: Change the way governments act by attacking their people.

    How many people were killed? 20,000 people were near the twin towers on 11 September. There are 2,819 named victims of the attacks. The list is still not finalised.

    A survivor's story

    Students read about Eric Levine's escape from floor 64 of WTC.



    Discuss how the world has changed. Emphasise the spread of conflict.

    Who became part of this spreading conflict?

      Teachers' Background

      The first meaning of the word terrorism was recorded by the Académie Française in 1798. It was defined as 'system or rule of terror'.

      Terrorism is based on a belief that acts of violence will transform the political landscape in a beneficial way.

      Terrorism is increasingly involved in attacking innocent civilians to demonstrate that the state can not protect its own people.

      Terrorists generally underestimate the strong revulsion of ordinary people to acts of political violence. The population feels the anger associated with misplaced blame.

      For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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