Islamic schools in the UK against or with?
Debatewise Islamic schools debate
Yesterday in BBC 1 panorama program http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/default.stm , the topic was about Islamic schools in Britain and how those extremist Muslims who teach there are encouraging segregation by teaching books of Saudi ministry of education which represent extremist Muslims . Those books encourage hatred for others and some other aggressive ways of dealing with “the others” mainly non Muslims. Some are arguing that Britain is a secular country which freedom of expression is the base of it and as a result, people are free to do and believe in what they want. However, others might argue that such schools are encouraging people, especially Muslims, not to mix and interact with the British society which might threaten the solidarity of the community. What do you think? Should such schools be shut down or its part of freedom of expression? What is the effect of such schools on the British community in the future?
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Religious schools never make it to the top of the list when it comes to quality education
[[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/parentpower/schools_of_the_year.php]] [[http://www.muslimahnews.com/education/mp-condemns-plan-to-build-a-muslim-eton-for-girls/]] Neither Catholic nor Islamic nor Jewish schools have ever been able to compete with standards set by schools that like Britain's government are secular.
[Pendle MP Gordon Prentice] ‘The last thing we need is single-sex, single faith schools for girls,’ he told the Times Educational Supplement.
‘It pulls against community cohesion. It makes me weep to think so much time, energy and effort has gone into the community to get people to mix together. [This] goes against all public policy.’[/quote]
6 out of 20 of Britain's best schools are faith schools. To claim that all faith( in this instance:Islamic schools) teach hateful rubbish, in light of this fact; is erroneous.
"ENGLAND’S Islamic schools are once again giving the best-added value to their pupils and, arguably, making the case for their inclusion in the state system. This year, six independent faith schools dominate the top 20 schools in helping to improve the prospects of their students.
The top state school, Selly Park Technology College for Girls, also has an overwhelming Pakistani/Asian intake.
The top fee-paying school is Islamiyah, in Blackburn, which opened five years ago. On average, the school has helped each pupil to improve by two grades more than would have been expected when they entered."-
I think the main points of this argument have been brought up in the original post. The whole point of a society is that every person works as a community and that means that every person has to work in diverse society. Working as a community should be the most prominent of ideologies to a communal environment. If Islamic schools become a figure in education, the pupils integration into to society will teach them that their differences are a matter of importance which could further divide a country that is based on a mixed culture. I fully understand that their are already major divides within our society - the biggest disparity is between rich and poor - though, as a society that wishes to improve and function on a relative basis we should be discouraging this behaviour rather than promoting it. I believe that the rich and poor divide is far more important than this further divide in religious beliefs.
Most statistics reveal that forcing communities to integrate increases violence and tolerance against them.[[http://debatewise.org/debates/2335-social-housing-should-be-assigned-in-a-way-which-engineers-mixed-race-communities]]
The reason societies are divided is because integration is difficult for minorities. It is better for minorities to have their own communities prosper and then interact with majorities on an equal level rather than infiltrate existing communities where the majority will not be very welcoming and will be resentful; as it has been in the past.
If the blacks and Jews of America did not move into largely black or Jewish estates nor run their own largely race exclusive businesses and law firms; they would forever be second class citizens rather than the corporate media giants they are today.
United you rise; divided you fall. In this case integrating with major-ly Anglo-saxon will increase the race demarcation. Integration can only be successful when the races arrive at an equal economic footing as is evident from successes in Islamic schools for children who did not perform nearly that well in secular more culturally diverse schools. [[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/school_league_tables/article792866.ece]]
Shutting down schools that have elements of bigotry in their curriculum is extreme and counterproductive
If certain schools in Britain have a teaching staff that preaches resentment against larger Britain; then shutting these schools down will only give these people the affirmation of being sidelined or second-classed.
The curriculum of all schools in Britain needs to be looked into and checked for standard and quality; textbooks that preach hate cannot be used in schools, irrespective of whether they are Islamic or not; it is the responsibility of the British ministry of education or education bureau to ensure that what British schools are teaching will make students happy,productive and civilized members of British society rather than street thugs or fundamentalists. [[http://www.ehow.com/how_5125304_implement-antibias-curriculum-preschool-programs.html]]
Shutting down schools that teach self-hatred serves as an example for anyone and everyone who even thinks of preaching hate in British schools. It could potentially be a warning and a deterrent against any entity attempting to turn schools into recruiting grounds for gangs or terrorists. This goes beyond certain Islamic schools to include certain catholic schools that preach white supremacy.
The problem is not with all schools of a certain category but schools in all categories; that freely nurture the ills of society
and must face an ultimatum.
Islamic Schools in the Uk Against or With
John Ware is encouraging Islamophobe and an Islam bashing by singling out Islam as the only religion where such so-called teachings are given.
The documentary contained many close-up images of hijab-clad girls set to sinister music, as well as slow-motion shots of supposedly radical preachers and Muslim men praying in mosques. The message was that Muslim communities are isolating themselves from mainstream society. It gave the impression that Muslim parents who send their children to faith schools are exercising ‘voluntary apartheid’, as one Oldham primary school teacher of South African origin put it.
The Panorama show was a confused and sensationalist piece of filmaking. The Islamic Schools in the documentary were all rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, confirmed by their own presenter. To be honest, I didn’t find much weight in their arguments against the schools at all. Oldham Academy is a non religious school. The BBC appear to have deliberately targeted the school using false pretences to show Bengali majorities and pass it off as a “Islamic School” with non white majorities. Nothing to do with Islam, Muslims. Oldham Academy have reported this to Ofsted and Ofcom”
Churchill is regarded as a hero and inspirational god-like figure, when it's the same Churchill who left millions of Bengali Indians to starve to death, called for gas attacks on "uncivilised tribes" in Iraq and likened Islam to a human form of rabies
No one is advocating the establishing of Shariah law in an non Muslim country . But should not Muslims like Jewish people be able to have their own religious weddings and divorces according to their own beliefs. It was Muslims in their own lands who first allowed non Muslims to be able to practice their own laws and this was enshrined in Islamic law nearly 1400 years ago . It was Muslims who gave shelter to the jews when they were thrown out of Europe during the inquistion and during pogroms. Muslims never burnt people alive or tortured them for their beliefs. Islam is not associated with denial of human rights - actually historically Islam provided documentation for human rights.
It is understandable that there is some worry and fear among other religions when dealing with Islam because Islam is a very sucessful and is the fastest growing religion in the world.[This may or may not be true depending how it is measured [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claims_to_be_the_fastest-growing_religion]] and of course much of that growth is due to people being born into the religion as almost all the fastest growing populations are islamic countries - whereas say christianity relies on conversion for growth]
This growth and the fear of it has lead to a campaign to demonise Islam and to turn everuone against them. As everything is filtered through the media they often do not understand what Islam really is.
Culture and race is always a factor in a child's life. To deny the importance of race and culture is not only insulting to Muslim children, it also risks causing unnecessary confusion and distress. Cultural Identity is particuluraly significant for a child. Little attention is paid to the child' cultural background. There is a social and economic pressure on bilingual Muslim children that they must speak English, adopt British values and ditch their religious beliefs, to assimilate into this country rather than maintain their cultural traditions and historical ties. Speaking English does not promote integration into British society and broadens opportunities. The result of such a policy is that British schooling is guilty of producing Muslim youths who are angry, frustrated and extremist. Majority of them leave schools with low grades. The number of Muslim youths is on the increase in prisons. Anti-social behaviour and drug addiction is on the increase. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Due to the inflexibility of British schooling.
Living togather requires quite simply, an acceptance of the others, of the way in which (the other) is dressed.
It is absurd to believe that msot Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. Muslims were already disproportionately being targeted by police with programmes such as the Prevent project. Focusing on Muslim schools for investigation would tell Muslim young people "you are different" and further alienate them. Singling out Muslim schools threatened to add to already "dangerous" levels of Islamophobia, which he compared to the amount of anti-semitism in the 1920s and 1930s.
It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing a similar cruelty in Palistine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.
Extremism, homophobia and anti-Semistism are nothing to do with Islamic teachings and beliefs. Islam does not teach that Jews and Christians are pigs and monkeys. The Policy Exchange Think-tank should concentrate on institutionally racist British schooling with chicken racist teachers. The government, Panorama and the Policy Exchange thinktank should concentrate more on the real problems in British education, such as the rising levels of attacks on teachers and the bullying of children; also the fact that society has rising levels of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease and antisocial behaviour. It is precisely for these reasons that Muslims seek to encourage their children to go to madrasahs and Muslim schools and learn Islamic values, so that they can be decent, productive people, who have respect and care for others – no matter where they are in the world. Muslim parents do not want their children with behaviour probems that include unprovoked aggression, promiscuity, violence, eating disorder, bullying and alcohal. According to ATL, teachers believe behaviour is worse than it was five years ago, with even five year olds being disrespectful, intimidating and violent. This is the true picture of British borken society and the Muslim community does not want to be integrated.
Some of the rhetoric on the right is pretty offensive; even to me.
Clarifying a few points:
The debate is not about Sexually transmitted diseases( By the way AIDS is prevalent in many Muslim African countries because of polygamy, forced marriages and female circumcisions which may not 'really' be Islamic but are attributed to Islam by the people who practice them; anyway [[http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm.htm]])
It is not about stifling opinions on both sides of the Palestine-Israel issue and humanitarianism. While both states possess Jewish and Muslim majorities respectively; they are not entirely Muslim/Jewish and those interested in ending the conflict are looking out for the interests of human beings be they Christian, Muslim or Jewish in the region.
What is the debate about?
The debate is about the best way to cool off existing tensions between a very prominent minority(Pakistanis are 1% of the total population; South-Asians/desis (Bangladeshis,Indians,Pakistanis,Sri-lankans etc) make up a total of less than 8% of the British people) and the rest of Britain: A current issue because of the 7/7 terrorist plot and more recently 25 yr old Mr. Mohammed.
An MP feels if all schools are secular; a united Britain would not be a far-off prospect. United under a certain culture if not religion; a culture of secular tolerance and integration.
It is a free society
Though I do not endorse extremist action yet why should hundreds of thousands young Muslim children suffer because of the misguidance of others? We should endorse extremist action and crack down on yet we live in a society which exercises free speech as well as free action. Should we deny thousands these liberties which hundreds around the world still fight for today, it is not fair that the many need to suffer because of the fewer. In this case would we shut down Christian schools because there are some who believe that whites are superior? This would also mean shutting down all school of one race, school have an obligation to bond with their community, and if their community should be all Muslim or all Christian it should not matter, the needs of the community need to be met and faith schools meet those needs so I believe they should not be shut down.
Islamic schools in the UK against or with
Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.
Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.
The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.
There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.
None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
Iftikhar Ahmad http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
What do you think?