Religious education and the potential for mitigating xenophobia

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This paper arises from our concerns regarding the documented increases in xenophobia in the UK and more widely around the world. This is evidenced by a rise in religiously motivated hate crimes, especially against Muslims and Jews. Our enquiry is into the potential religious education has to mitigate xenophobia and educational justification for it to do so. We suggest that a religious education seeking to mitigate xenophobia will need teachers who take plurality seriously. Such teachers will need courage as well as the capacity to navigate complexity of lives lived with a religious orientation, with open mindedness. This means not only appreciating there is a great deal to know in terms of history and the lived human religious experience but also that religious life has an existential dimension which cannot be reduced to beliefs and practices. We ask what it is that the public sphere needs educationally from religious education at this point in history. This paper concludes by making the point that religious education is uniquely placed, to bring humanity to the heart of education and in so doing mitigate xenophobia, in light of its close connection to human experience. Finally, we alert the religious education community to the significance of doing this at this time, and the danger of ignoring it, for the continued well-being of the public sphere itself.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Religious Education