Faith and religious bullying

Sometimes people are bullied because of their religion. That's not okay and if it happens to you, it’s not your fault and you can get help. Your religious beliefs should always be respected.

What is religious bullying

You might feel like you're being treated differently because of your faith or religion. Faith and religious bullying are when people are mean or hurt you on purpose because of your faith or religion. This could be by classmates friends or relatives. It's wrong for anyone to hurt, tease, ignore, threaten, tell jokes or call you names. It's bullying and you don't have to cope on your own.

You might be bullied about your:

  • religion
  • religious practices, like not eating meat or drinking alcohol. This includes being pressured into doing things that people know are against your religion.
  •  clothes or symbols, like if you wear a headscarf, cross or kara
  • your name

5 things to try:

  • let friends and teachers know when you take part in religious events so they understand more about you and what you’re doing.
  • share photos or blogs about religious festivals so other people can see what these are like.
  • tell friends about the foods and drinks you’re not allowed in your religion so they don't offer you these.
  • ask friends why they wear religious items and how they feel about it.
  • ask friends if you can join in with their religious events. This can help you understand their religion and culture a bit more.



A stereotype is when someone makes an assumption about you based on your faith or religion, race, sexuality, gender or if you are deaf or have a disability.

It’s important to remember that we are all individuals and that stereotypes are not based on truth. Nobody has the right to judge you or assume things about you. You have the right to be treated as the person you are.

Being stereotyped may mean that you:

  • Feel like people don’t know the real you
  • Feel different
  • Feel lonely or isolated
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Are being bullied or left out
  • Experience discrimination or hate crime


Being treated differently because of your religion, lack of religion or your beliefs is discrimination. It's also wrong for someone to treat you unfairly because of your friend or family members' religion.

It's still discrimination if they make a wrong assumption about you. You can get advice on discrimination and your rights from the Equality Advisory Service.

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Hate Crime

A hate crime is any crime that is committed because of someone’s faith or religion, race, gender, sexuality or disability. A hate crime can also occur if someone isn’t a member of the targeted group but are perceived to be.

A hate crime can happen in person and online and includes:

  • Physical assault
  • Verbal abuse
  • Harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Theft
  • Hate mail
  • Online abuse
  • Graffiti

If you have experienced a hate crime or seen it happen to someone else you can report it to the police for them to take action.

Ways to get help

Being yourself

You have the right to be treated with respect and to practise or not practise a religion or your beliefs. Someone who is bullying you might judge you without getting to know you or your beliefs.

If you don’t feel respected and accepted for who you are, you might want to change who you spend time with. It can be hard to make new friends and you might worry about feeling lonely. Remember, you don’t have to change who you are to fit in with anyone else. 

Understanding others

The world would be a very boring place if everyone looked the same, spoke the same and did the same things. Having different people around is a really positive thing.

If you find new or different things scary you could find positive facts about a culture or religion to help you to see another perspective.

You could ask people questions about their beliefs and explain more about your faith, religion or values. This could be a way of learning about each other and about the things that make us who we are.

Celebrating our differences can sometimes help us meet new people, make friends or stop bullying from happening.



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