A new booklet for German-speaking schools is being distributed to Swiss teachers to educate them on how to deal with Muslim pupils.

The handbook, which is partly funded by the Swiss federal government, advises teachers on how to foster religious tolerance in classroom. It also includes information about the Islamic headscarf, or Hijab, as well as how to make Muslim children feel included.

The manual also offers methods of improving inter-cultural dialogue while respecting Western laws and customs.

"It is important that all children have the same opportunities," ,” says Nina Hössli, the editor of the handbook editor.

“There is no such thing as a 'standard' class: even in classes where there are no Muslims, each pupil has his or her unique background and personality.

"It is true that a minority group cannot be given special treatment, but it is important that Muslims be judged with respect, using a common yardstick, not on the basis of prejudice. For example: she wears a veil, she must be repressed, her parents must be fundamentalists, and so on."

The advice contained in the book comes from teachers and educators familiar with Islam and the problems of integration in German-speaking countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

"We have had very positive feedback from teachers, who appreciate the handbook's easily consultable format," says Hössli.

Source: swissinfo