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Teachers: Citizenship: Conflict resolution

Last Updated: Monday July 11 2005 17:03 GMT

Misplaced blame

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


Razan, 15, from London is worried that British Muslims will be blamed for the London bombings. She hopes that everyone in her community will unite against the people responsible, no matter what their religion.

The targeting of civilians on the London transport network and any potential hostility to Muslims in the UK 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 the Press Pack report:

    Or the Press Pack report

    Working 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 can feedback some of their interview findings to the class.

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

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

    Main activity

    Group blame and the vicious cycle of violence.

    The bombers
    What do they know about any possible motivation for the bombers? It may help to look at these questions.

    • Why did they do it? Prompt: We don't really know, but their anger was probably fuelled by earlier violence elsewhere in the world (vicious cycle).
    • Who were they really attacking? Prompt: Political leaders
    • What did they hope to achieve? Prompt: Change the way governments act by attacking their people.
    Victims on the day
    Forty-nine people died and 700 people were injured at four blast sites. Millions of people were caught up in the disruption to varying degrees.

    Discuss how people not directly involved will have their lives changed. e.g. More bomb scares, anxiety and inconvenience for the public

    Who are the wider group of victims?

    • Those who died
    • Traumatised survivors
    • Families of those who died
    • All residents of London

    Extension activity

    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.


    Are we all victims of the London bomb attacks?

    We all watched the aftermath of a mass murder on TV. How do students feel they were changed by what they saw?

    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.

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