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Islam and British Schools - What’s going on?
Islam and British Schools - What’s going on?
Written by Anne Marie Waters
Published by: Sharia Watch UK Ltd
The Muslim Council of Britain
The National Curriculum
National Union of Teachers
‘Lessons in Hate and Violence’
‘British Schools, Islamic Rules’
Freedom of Information Requests
“I taught jihadis” – an anonymous teacher shares his story
Special addition: ‘Our children Must be Free’ by Shazia Hobbs
What are we to learn from the above? If we are wise, it will be this:
There are individuals and organisations in Britain who seek much greater accommodation of, and adherence to, Islamic norms in our society
Efforts to subversively introduce Islamic norms and practices to British schools have already been undertaken, and been successful
The accommodation of Islamic norms etc. in British society will inevitably mean a loss of democratic free speech and an erosion of the rights and protections of women and girls
The British public sector is shaped by state demands for tolerance, inclusion, multiculturalism and diversity. These are of the utmost importance in the mind of the state
Many British teachers, including the profession’s largest union, have expressed anti-Western and anti-British sentiment and openly support the concept of multiculturalism
Activist groups who seek the Islamisation of British schools, use the language of multiculturalism and diversity to advance their arguments and in doing so, successfully sanitise and legitimise notions that are wholly in opposition to the values of British society
The fact of the matter is that there is an ideological aim to Islamise Britain and the British state is lending a helping hand. In its consistent prioritising of “diversity”, the Government has ignored the detail and has little understanding of what this idea means in every day life. The British Government has effectively decided that religion is good, regardless of what it teaches.
If this problem is to be fixed, a complete political and cultural shift is required in Britain. Schools must return to teaching literacy, numeracy, the sciences, as priority, and teachers’ political leanings should have no bearing in the classroom. It is right that pupils learn about religion, but in the interests of truth, it cannot be that they learn a sanitised or moderated version that can be constructed and approved by those with their own agenda.
Teachers should be required to teach the values of Britain to children (to which we need to add equal rights between genders as a matter of urgency), regardless of their feelings, and to teach accurate history and current affairs. If Israel-Palestine is discussed, then the charter of Hamas should be included, as well as the genocidal intent of global jihadis against the Jewish state.
Furthermore, children should be reminded that they are British, and all of the positive things that this entails.
Most importantly, Government must move away from the notion that all religions are a force for good, and look instead at what is actually being taught. Government must be honest and open and when it sees problems developing, look at the facts without colouring them with multicultural dogma.
Parents have a right to know the culture in which their children are being schooled, and we all have a right to know how the minds of future generations are being formed. At present, they are being schooled in multiculturalism, unquestioning respect for all minority groups irrespective of their practices, and something close to disdain for their own history, identity and heritage.
British schools have numerous problems, but their utilisation as an advancement of jihadi ideology is a problem for us all.
‘Give me the child and I’ll give you the man’. The source of that quote is unclear but its message is of paramount importance. Young children are sponges, soaking up information from all around them. What they see and hear will shape how they think, feel, and their attitudes towards the wider world. A child’s schooling therefore has an immeasurable impact on their character, and indeed on their political viewpoints.
Those who advocate for Islam-sharia in the UK will no doubt be alert to this, and sneaking Islam-sharia apologism in to schools is an obvious enormously powerful weapon. Sneaking Islam-sharia in to schools is of course exactly what is happening in the UK.
This report does not focus solely on the Islamist plots to sanitise Islam-sharia in schools, instead we look at the wider schooling culture that allows such Islamist plots to succeed.
As you will see, across the board, schools receive a message from the state that all teaching must effectively promote multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion. You will also see that Islamists, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, use just this language to shoehorn Islam in to all of our schools.
Islamists are making successful attempts to frame Islam-sharia as ‘just another part of the rich tapestry of multiculturalism’ and exploiting a Government-sponsored culture of ‘diversity’ to bring Islam in to British schools. They do this while at least one teachers’ union objects to being asked to teach fundamental British values, and invariably express anti-Western and even anti-British sentiment.
Sharia Watch has merely gathered together the documents issued by the Government on how schools should be run, and how the Government continues to insist that all religious beliefs are similar, and a force for good by definition. What a specific religion might actually teach is not addressed at any point.
Islamists play a long-term game. Their aim is the Islamisation of British society and schooling is a tool for this. Islamism exploits equal rights to oppose them in the long term. As you will see, the British Government is once again aiding and abetting this Islamisation.
The Muslim Council of Britain
The Muslim Council of Britain describes itself as “a national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools”.1 While its credibility has lessened in recent years, it is still known to raise objections when governments attempt to deal with problems arising within Muslim communities in Britain. For example, when then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wrote2 to 1,000 imams across the UK to ask for help in tackling apparent Islamic radicialism, the Muslim Council of Britain protested. Harun Khan, deputy secretary general of the council, asked “Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?”.3
In 2016, when a poll of Muslims in Britain revealed that 52%4 of them believe homosexuality should be a criminal offence, the Muslim Council of Britain’s reply included: “Many British Muslims will find it bemusing that commentators and the media have constantly tried and failed to paint a picture of British Muslims at odds with the rest of the country”.5
The MCB has also criticsed the government’s Prevent Strategy (set up in 2011 to deal with Islamic extremism6) and annouced that it was setting up its own.7 Of great significance was how the Guardian reported the MCB’s plans:
Instead of trying to liberalise British Islam, the new scheme will focus solely on a message that violence can never be used. A source familiar with the plans said: “If we can get these voices more heard, they are anti-government and therefore more credible in saying do not turn to violence.”
The message is becoming clearer. In order to have credibility among Muslims, one should be “anti-government”. Secondly, it isn’t seeking sharia that is the problem, we’re told, but whether or not it is done violently. Therefore, seeking sharia by non-violent means such as political activism, is deemed acceptable.
Sharia Watch UK contends that it is sharia itself that is the problem and that the method one seeks to establish it is irrelevant; it is sharia law that must be opposed.
In response to then Home Secretary Theresa May’s inquiry in to the use of sharia councils in the UK, the MCB replied that “Sharia councils or panels should be given support to build capacity, thereby allowing them to offer a service to resolve disputes referred to them by parties in a manner that accords with other similar institutions. Whilst we have no issue with the government investigating Sharia councils, we do wonder why Muslim institutions are being singled out for scrutiny only”.8
Sharia Watch believes that the above reveals an intent for the legitimization of sharia of Britain:
Contend that only violent means to establish sharia should be tackled;
Contend that only Muslims should tackle the use of violent means;
Contend that Muslims are the victims of discrimination or ‘racism’ if 1 and 2 are not adhered to;
Contend that Muslims are, after all, no different to the rest of society and are being consciously alienated and marginalized from the mainstream.
The above pattern allows sharia-activism to sanitise sharia itself, take control of the matter away from government, use discrimination allegations in the face of objection, and alienate and marginalize Muslims to separate them from society and escape scrutiny.
Given that the MCB requests that Muslims not be singled out, and insists that they are not a separate and distinct part of Britain, one wonders why it then insists on Muslims being treated differently to the rest of society
It is our belief that Islamist groups, in seeking sharia, aim to bring it through the front door by demanding that to do otherwise would marginalize Muslims. In other words, Islamist groups want wider society to more closely reflect Islam, in order to end the alienation of Muslims.
The Orwellian demand that Muslims be treated as part of society by treating them completely differently can nowhere better be demonstrated than in the Muslim Council of Britain’s document ‘Meeting the needs of Muslim pupils in state schools’.9
Released in 2007, the document was described by the Daily Express as calling for a “ban on un-Islamic activities in schools”10 and that is arguably what it amounts to.
Two things are clear within it:
The Muslim Council of Britain objects to mainstream British society and its reflection in our schools;
Mainstream British society, as reflected in our schools, must change in order to make Muslims feel more included. The idea that Muslims should change to be more like the mainstream is not entertained. The Daily Express summed this up wonderfully by stating “The MCB says special treatment and opt-outs are necessary because otherwise Muslim pupils will feel excluded from school activities and lessons.”
Let us look at the MCB schools guidance in detail.
The foreward presents the document as a positive and progressive move towards inclusion. It contends that there is a “negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims” in society and that this “requires that this [negative portrayal] be given greater priority and impetus to ensure that Muslim pupils are appropriately accommodated for and become an integral part of mainstream school life”. Here we immediately see Muslims portrayed as victims in society, and that the remedy for this is the accommodation of Islam. Furthermore, it calls for a “greater understanding of the faith”. The foreward is signed by Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari and Tahir Alam, the (then) secretary general and education committee chair of the MCB respectively.
Muhammad Abdul Bari is involved with several extremist Islamic organisations including the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) and East London Mosque. The IFE seeks to change the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam”.11
Tahir Alam was banned from having “any involvement with schools” in 2015 when the Department for Education (DfE) accused him of undermining “fundamental British values”.12 In late 2016, the Birmingham Mail reported that Alam had returned to teaching “informal classes” in the city despite this ban.13
The MCB’s guide to schools (“the guide”) claimed that it had also made training available to teachers and governors entitled “Islam and Muslim Cultural Awareness Training”. Here is what the MCB considers to be important “Islam and Muslim Cultural Awareness Training”:
A Muslim Inclusive Approach
“The faith of Muslim pupils should be seen as an asset to addressing constructively many of the issues that young people face today, including educational failure, disaffection, crime and sexually-transmitted diseases”.
“Some community schools adopt a policy where the religion and faith of their pupils is strictly regarded as a matter of private and personal concern for each pupil and is therefore not appropriately addressed within the school. This approach makes it more difficult for schools to appreciate and respond positively to meeting some of the distinctive spiritual, moral, social and cultural needs of Muslim children”.
“Where participation of Muslim pupils in activities or aspects of the curriculum conflicts with religious beliefs and values, problems can and should be resolved with mutual recognition, understanding, and flexibility”.
The MCB thus argues that Islam has the answer to the problems of young people, it objects to secularism in schools and wants to see more Islam, and contends that it believes that conflicts should be solved through compromise – something that is not overwhelmingly reflected in the remainder of the document.
Dress Code in Schools
“The concept of ‘haya’ which is defined as ‘to encompass notions of modesty, humility, decency and dignity’ is a central value in Islam”.
“Schools should therefore have the expectation that Muslim pupils will endeavor to observe the principle of haya in all aspects of their conduct”.
“One important aspect of modesty in Islam relates to the covering of the body. In principle the dress for both boys and girls should be modest and neither tight-fitting nor transparent and not accentuate the body shape. In practice this means that a wide variety of styles are acceptable. In public boys should always be covered between the navel and knee and girls should be covered except for their hands and faces, a concept known as ‘hijab’”.
It cannot be avoided therefore that the MCB does not believe that mainstream British society is one of ‘modesty, humility, decency and dignity’ and that the way to achieve this is by covering girls from head to toe. The implications for this on gender equality, and indeed on women’s rights, should be obvious.
“Halal refers to meat from animals that has been slaughtered in accordance with the prescribed Islamic manner, similar to kosher meat in Judaism. For meat to be halal it must be slaughtered by a Muslim and God’s name must be pronounced at the beginning of the slaughtering process.”
“In Islam the flesh of swine is not permissible for consumption. Food containing ingredients derived from pig, non-herbivores and animals that are not slaughtered in the prescribed Islamic manner is also forbidden. By the same token, food cooked in any fat or lard from these animals is forbidden.”
“Care needs to be exercised by supervisory staff at celebrations and parties where it is difficult to ensure the same degree of differentiation. During such events in school, sweets and cakes are normally shared amongst children. It is important to be aware that sweets, chocolates and cakes that contain alcohol or meat derivatives (for example, animal gelatine) are not permissible for consumption by Muslims. In all cases it is important that schools ensure that all served items are clearly labeled as to whether they are ‘halal’ or ‘vegetarian’”.
“All kitchen staff [should] receive guidance and training in the handling, preparation and serving of halal food”.
“Schools [should] ensure that the meat supplied is from a reputable halal supplier.”
These demands are clearly difficult, in terms of time and resources, for schools to meet. In terms of food provision, separate suppliers of meat for separate will be cumbersome and likely more expensive. The inevitable result therefore is halal to the exclusion of non-halal. In other words, all pupils will eat halal in order to meet the needs of Muslims. This indeed has been the effect (see ‘Halal’ below). Rather than ensure that any shared sweets do not breach Islamic rules, it is more likely that shared sweets will not be permitted at all (etc).
5. Provision for Prayers
“prayer becomes obligatory upon all males and females at the age of puberty”.
“schools need to allow pupils to use an appropriate classroom or area for the purpose of prayer. Care should be taken to avoid allocating rooms that may have displays with distracting imagery, such as posters of the human body in a science laboratory. Schools should be aware that some pupils may request separate prayer facilities for boys and girls, as they may feel more comfortable praying in a single-gender group”.
“The Friday prayer has a special significance and importance. It has to be performed in congregation and replaces the Zuhr prayer. It is obligatory for males and optional or recommended for females. It is different from the normal prayer in that it is shortened and has to be preceded by a sermon (Khutbah). The Friday prayer can be led by a suitable external visitor, a teacher or an older pupil. In its entirety the Friday prayer (ablution, sermon and prayer) should take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete depending on, pupil numbers and availability of washing facilities”.
Once again, this list of demands will be difficult to meet in terms of resources. Rooms to be set side for both boys and for girls, and the requirements within the room (no “distracting imagery” for example) effectively mean that these rooms are likely to end up permanent prayer rooms. So in essence, each school must have two Islamic prayer rooms. It is also required that lessons are disrupted regularly in order to accommodate Muslim pupils.
“School has a written policy for the requirements and implications of Ramadan for their Muslim pupils”.
“School offers it’s staff Ramadan awareness training about factors affecting pupils during Ramadan”.
“School recognises and celebrates the spirit and values of Ramadan through collective worship or assembly themes and communal Iftar (collective breaking of the fast)”.
“School is aware of the likely increase in the number of pupils offering prayer during the month of Ramadan and facilities are provided accordingly, for example a larger area for daily prayers”.
“Adequate arrangements are in place to supervise fasting children, during the lunch hour. These arrangements are well publicised amongst pupils and parents”.
“School takes account of Ramadan when planning internal examinations and tries to avoid scheduling them during the month of Ramadan”.
“School avoids scheduling sex and relationship education and swimming during Ramadan”.
“School teachers are considerate and mindful that fasting children avoid engaging in over-demanding exercises during physical education lessons that may result in dehydration”.
“If possible, school avoids holding parents’ meetings and other school social events in the evening during the month of Ramadan”.
“School gives the option for those Muslim pupils who are entitled to free school meals to take packed lunches home, should they wish to do so”.
This is arguably the most difficult list of requirements to meet, and its accommodation would involve real disruption for all other pupils. Not only will there be greater lesson disruption to accommodate prayers, but teachers are expected to learn about Ramadam – as according to Islamists no doubt. The requirement to reschedule exams is particularly galling, as is the demand that the school rearrange any swimming or sex education and parents’ meeting. Greater supervision for fasting pupils would also prove cumbersome in a potentially over-stretched school.
7. Islamic Festivals
“The school includes possible dates for the two Eid festivals in their yearly calendar”.
“The school grants Eid holidays as authorised absences for the observance of the special Eid prayers and celebrations for the two Eid festivals”.
“The school recognises and celebrates the two Eids and other Islamic festivals in collective worship or assembly themes”.
“The school celebrates Eid by sharing sweets amongst their children to mark the event. In addition, the school may make the normal school meal a special Eid meal for their pupils”.
Once again, we see demands for the special accommodation of Islam in what will certainly include secular schools. What continues to be obvious is that the MCB not only want children from Muslim families to celebrate Eid, but for all pupils to do so.
8. Physical education
“In the vast majority of primary schools, when changing for PE, both boys and girls have no choice but to change in mixed group environments for sports activities. Muslim children are likely to exhibit resistance to this sort of compromising and immodest exposure, but are often pressurised to conform to institutional norms which do not take account of their own or their parents’ beliefs and values”.
“Schools need to take account of, and be more responsive and sensitive to, the moral values of the children and communities they serve. In primary schools where there are no separate changing facilities, schools can use portable partitions to allow girls and boys to change in single-gender groups within the classrooms. Teachers also need to be sensitive to gender separation in this context”.
“As a permanent solution, schools could consider providing separate changing facilities that include individual changing cubicles, particularly in schools that have significant or large Muslim pupil populations”.
“In secondary schools, changing facilities are always gender specific but almost always communal. Communal changing compromises the Islamic modesty requirements and having to change down to their undergarments in the presence of their peers and teachers can be a source of embarrassment or even be undignifying for many pupils”.
“Some sports involve physical contact with other team players, for example basketball and football. Most Muslim parents would find it objectionable for boys and girls to play such sports in mixed-gender groups. Schools can respond positively to this concern by making sure that contact sports are always in single-gender groups”.
“Some schools may have policies for children to shower at school after sports activities. These arrangements sometimes take the form of naked communal showering, which involves profound indignity. The practice of allowing Muslim children to shower in bathing costumes or shorts does not solve the problem if other pupils are naked in the same communal shower area. Islam forbids nakedness in front of others or being among others who are naked”.
“Muslim children should not be expected to participate in communal showering. Sensitivity and understanding by school and staff in these matters will be much appreciated both by Muslim pupils and by their parents. One practical solution in a school environment would be the installation of individual shower cubicles. In the absence of separate cubicles for changing and showering, Muslim children should be allowed to delay showering until they reach home”.
“The practice of boys and girls swimming in mixed-group sessions or being exposed to complete nakedness of others, when changing, is unacceptable for reasons of modesty and decency to Muslim parents, as well as to many non-Muslim parents”.
“Dance is one of the activity areas of the national curriculum for physical education. Muslims consider that most dance activities, as practised in the curriculum, are not consistent with the Islamic requirements for modesty as they may involve sexual connotations and messages when performed within mixed-gender groups or if performed in front of mixed audiences. Most primary and secondary schools hold dance in mixed-gender classes and may include popular dance styles, in which movements of the body are seen as sexually expressive and seductive in nature”.
“However, most Muslim parents will find little or no educational merit or value in dance or dancing after early childhood and may even find it objectionable on moral and religious grounds once children have become sexually mature (puberty)”.
“Schools are asked to respect these views and principles, which are held sincerely on the grounds of conscience, and to honour parents’ wishes by not placing pupils in situations of religious and moral compromise”.
This section, arguably more than any other, demonstrates a rejection of mainstream British society and norms. The language is downright insulting and reveals, in our opinion, something close to contempt for wider British society. Once again, a requirement for permanent separate changing facilities will be cumbersome and expensive and will instill notions of gender segregation as ‘moral’ behaviour. The repeated use of the word “immodest” is very telling; does the MCB considers British society “immodest”, thus immoral? Dancing for example is declared to be “immodest”, but a song and dance are well-loved parts of British culture. Furthermore, the requirements announces puberty to constitute sexually maturity, whereas wider British society does not consider an 11 or 12 year old girl to be sexually mature. Gender segregation is repeatedly requested; once again, gender segregation is not practiced in British society, and it always leads to disadvantage for girls.
9. Religious Education
“It is also important, in schools where there are no Muslims, for all pupils to learn about Islam. This is particularly important given the need to develop an accurate understanding of Islam and Muslims in Britain in a climate of fear and suspicion brought about by negative and inaccurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims”.
“Muslims believe that God should not and cannot be represented in any form, whether two-dimensional or three-dimensional. It would therefore be inappropriate to ask Muslim pupils to draw pictures or make models of God in any incarnate form of the Divine, from any religious traditions. Similarly, all of the prophets (peace be upon them) are afforded great reverence and respect and therefore drawing pictures or role-playing them is considered equally inappropriate”.
“Muslim pupils are allowed to take part in educational visits to all places of worship, including churches, synagogues and temples. Some parents may object to this, but if they are made aware of the objectives and the purpose of the trip, namely that it is for educational purposes and not for worship, this should usually be sufficient to allay their concerns”.
“It is not permissible for Muslims to actively participate in non-Islamic acts of worship. Within the context of collective worship in schools, this would include the saying of non-Islamic prayers or the singing of hymns or religious songs from other faith traditions or bowing their heads. In situations where Muslim pupils are merely observing non-Islamic acts of worship, it should be made clear that they are not to participate in the act of worship. Muslim pupils should also not be expected to play roles which involve the enactment of the Divine or Prophets”.
Part a) of this list is interesting; all pupils should “learn about Islam”. Learn what about Islam? Learn about the horrific punishments of sharia law? Learn that a woman is worth less than a man? It is possibly more likely that ‘learn about Islam’ will mean learning a sanitized version of Islam and one that has been approved by groups such as the MCB (in order to avoid “negativity” and “inaccuracy”). It also hampers any integration by insisting that Muslims for example not be expected to take part in a nativity play (which contrasts somewhat with earlier requirements that non-Muslim pupils take part in Eid).
10. Sex and relationships
“Islam provides a great deal of guidance about sexual behaviour and the way in which men and women should relate to each other, both within and outside of marriage. As with some other faiths, Islam considers marriage as the only channel for experiencing a sexual relationship, with family life being the foundation of a stable society. Pre-marital and extra-marital sexual relations are considered unacceptable contexts for fulfilling ones natural sexual desires. Therefore, girlfriend/boyfriend as well as homosexual relationships are not acceptable practices according to Islamic teachings”.
“The concern most Muslim parents have in this area is not whether sex education is taught or not, but rather they are wary of the moral framework or context in terms of methodology and content, and the implicit and explicit messages and assumptions that underpin the teaching of it”.
“Often schools will invite external agencies, nurses or health professionals to teach aspects of SRE to their pupils. In such cases schools should ensure the material is acceptable, and gives appropriate consideration and reflection of Islamic perspectives, moral values and conduct with regard to Muslim pupils”.
This is quite astonishing. Sex education should take account of the moral values of Islam. Wider British society does not however hold that homosexuality or pre-marital sex are unacceptable, so how does one teach a moral framework on sex to include the views of wider British society as well as that of Muslim society? It cannot, because they are entirely at odds. To give “consideration and reflection of Islamic perspectives” would arguably be to oppose the perspective of wider British society.
11. Music and Drama
“All forms of music that may include the use of obscene and blasphemous language, encourage or promote immoral behaviour, arouse lustful feelings, encourage the consumption of intoxicants and drugs or contain unethical and un-Islamic lyrics would be considered objectionable. For this reason some Muslim parents may express concerns in the way music is taught in school and the extent to which their children may participate in it. Some Muslims may hold a very conservative attitude towards music and may seek to avoid it altogether, not wishing their children to participate in school music lessons. In such cases the school can show great understanding by providing alternative musical learning opportunities.
“Muslim pupils should not be expected to participate in drama or musical presentations associated with celebrating aspects of other religions, such as nativity plays or Diwali, as some of these are likely to involve playing roles which are considered to be inconsistent with Islamic beliefs and teachings”.
“The school avoids studying forms of music and drama that may raise religious or moral concerns for Muslim pupils and parents”.
“Particularly in schools with a large number of Muslim pupils, the music curriculum provides opportunities for cultural inclusion. For example, there are opportunities to explore or study the art of Qur’anic recitation and composing and singing of nasheeds”.
Once again, throughout this list, wider British society and popular culture is dismissed as immoral. Once again, schools are required to make cumbersome alterations to accommodate Muslim pupils who, it argues, should not be expected to participate in activities deemed the norm in British society. Once again, we see that Muslim pupils should not be expected to participate in non-Muslim religious events, whereas throughout the document, non-Muslim pupils are required to celebrate and participate in Islamic festivals. It asks that the school “avoid” music that “may raise religious or moral concerns for Muslim pupils and parents”. So the school is to avoid altogether anything deemed ‘immoral’ by Muslims.
The Muslim Council of Britain’s school guidance document is highly informative as it provides an insight in to the vision that some Islamists have for British schools; it amounts to no less than Islamic supremacy. Repeated are the demands that pupils celebrate and “learn about Islam”, whereas there is little reciprocity. Schools are expected to provide separate facilities for Muslims and extra staff duties, regardless of expense or disruption to other pupils. Most importantly however, the guidance reflects a complete rejection of wider British culture, which is largely viewed as ‘immodest’. Sharia Watch contends that British children are already subjected to enough anti-British, anti-Western rhetoric without having it consistently repeated to them in schools.
While this guidance is not known to have had any significant impact, the terms within it are increasingly being accommodated in the name of multiculturalism. Indeed, current legislation, that favours multiculturalism, is aiding and abetting this Islamisation of British schools.
The Muslim Council of Britain utilizes several pieces of legislation and government guidance to put forward its arguments, much of which we believe to be misguided. A similar error as is made in the national curriculum (see below) in that it assumes religions to be similar to each other, and essentially a force for good. It does not take account of what any specific religion actually teaches.
The MCB provides statistics from the Department for Education14 and claims that “a significant number of pupils specifically from Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Turkish and Somali backgrounds are among those who experience the highest levels of academic underachievement”. There are many reasons why this may be the case, including what is taught in Islamic schools themselves (as we can see from examples throughout this report).
However, the MCB raises “socio-economic deprivation, low expectations, Islamophobia or racism” as potential reasons for academic underachievement. Instantly, this plays in to the politically dominant narrative that underachievement in a specific group is the fault of wider society and as such, ‘leaders’ within that specific group should be given more authority in order to redress the balance. Empowering Islamists to teach children, instead of improving education overall, has been the response.
The Muslim Council of Britain also refers to the Education Act 1944, section 76, in its report. This reads:
76. Pupils to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents
In the exercise and performance of all powers and duties conferred and imposed on them by this Act the Minister and local education authorities shall have regard to the general principle that, so far as is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
While it is difficult to argue against the notion that parents should have a say in their children’s education in a free society, we must not and cannot ignore or shy away from problems this may raise for wider society. What if the wishes of a parent include that their children be taught the ‘evils’ of wider Western society and encouraged to stay away from it? What possible good can result from this in terms of community cohesion? Once again, these profoundly important matters appear not to be considered. The problem of course is the number of parents who will encourage their child to break away from mainstream society. If those numbers are high, cohesion will break down.
In reference to uniform, which is particularly onerous for girls, the MCB states:
“The DfES guidance on school uniform requires schools to be sensitive and considerate towards the culture, race and religion of all their pupils and ‘expects schools to accommodate these needs within a general uniform policy, for example, allowing Muslim girls to wear appropriate dress and Sikh boys to wear traditional head dress.The DfES does not consider it appropriate that any pupil should be disciplined for non-compliance with a school uniform policy, which results from them having to adhere to a particular cultural, race or religious dress code’.15
The link provided is no longer active, so we checked the latest Government guidance16 on school uniform which states:
Some religions and beliefs require their adherents to conform to a particular dress code, or to otherwise outwardly manifest their belief. This could include wearing or carrying specific religious artefacts, not cutting their hair, dressing modestly, or covering their head. Pupils have the right to manifest a religion or belief, but not necessarily at all times, places or in a particular manner.
Where a school has good reason for restricting an individual’s freedoms, for example, the promotion of cohesion and good order in the school, or genuine health and safety or security considerations, the restriction of an individual’s rights to manifest their religion or belief may be justified. The school must balance the rights of individual pupils against the best interests of the school community as a whole. Nevertheless, it should be possible for most religious requirements to be met within a school uniform policy and a governing body should act reasonably through consultation and dialogue in accommodating these.
In formulating its school uniform policy, a school will need to consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully. For example, it is not expected that the cost of girls’ uniform is significantly more expensive than boys or vice-versa as this may constitute unlawful sex discrimination. A school should also bear in mind the concept of “indirect” discrimination. This involves the application of a requirement, which, although applied equally to everyone, puts certain people at a particular disadvantage because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief or gender reassignment. Such a requirement will need to be justified as a
proportionate way of achieving a reasonable objective if it is to be lawful, and the policy will need to be flexible enough to allow for necessary exceptions.
Immediately, there exists a conflict in terms of the uniform requirements of girls and gender equality considerations. The guidance states that the individual’s religious manifestation is subject to gender equality and other laws, however, as we have seen, only girls are required to cover themselves (often to an extraordinary extent) but boys are not.
Furthermore, the guidance states that religious manifestation is subject to “the promotion of cohesion”. How can it be that covering a girl from top to bottom, effectively refusing contact with those around her, can be good for the promotion of cohesion? This, as so much else, is left unanswered.
The Muslim council of Britain also uses section 46 of the Education Act 1986 to advance its arguments. This states:
The local education authority by whom any county, voluntary or special school is maintained, and the governing body and headteacher of the school, shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that where sex education is given to any registered pupils at the school it is given in such a manner as to encourage those pupils to have due regard to moral considerations and the value of family life.
At first glance, this does not seem overly concerning. But what happens when “moral considerations” differ greatly from that of the mainstream? What if a religion considers it “moral” for a man to use violence against his wife, as condoned in the Koran?
The Koran states:
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
What impact may teachings like this have on the “value of family life”.
The error made here is identical to the error being made by political leaders across the board. It presumes that religion per se is a positive influence, and does not question what the religion’s scriptures actually say. Political leaders and government departments continue to make this assumption despite the growing evidence that children in Muslim schools are exposed to teachings the threaten both cohesion and the rights of women and girls.
In March 2014, the BBC reported an apparent plot to Islamise schools in the city of Birmingham in England. A letter from one Islamist to another emerged, giving details of “Operation Trojan Horse” and discussing how parents could be used to overthrow school head-teachers and replace them with people more strictly adherent to Islam.17
The BBC report states:
The letter implies these methods have already been put into action and urges the recipient to use Ofsted reports to identify schools in predominantly Muslim areas which are struggling.
It adds ''Operation 'Trojan Horse' has been very carefully thought through and is tried and tested within Birmingham, implementing it in Bradford will not be difficult for you."
It says that Salafi parents should be enlisted to help, because they are regarded as a more orthodox branch of Islam and would be more likely to be willing to help.
It was sent to the city council in 2013 and has led to a number of investigations. Part of the inquiry will focus on whether the plot is genuine or fake.
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson confirmed the letters had been received and that an investigation was ongoing.
Some in the mainstream media soon began to dismiss the letter as a hoax. The Guardian, a left-wing paper, matter-of-factly claimed the letter was “widely thought to be a fake” and that there was “not much evidence of anything”.18 The Independent, also on the left, made a similar claim but confusingly stated “It is widely seen as a fake - but thought to come from someone who had an inkling of what was going on and wanted to draw attention of it.”19
Despite the efforts of left-wing media to downplay it, Sir Mike Tomlinson, Birmingham’s education commissioner, said the letter was no hoax and that the plans contained within it were being put in to practice in Birmingham “without a shadow of a doubt”.20
The letter stated that the following tactics should be used to Islamise schools across the country:
Parents should make false allegations about school governors
Parents should complain about sex education, Christian prayer, and mixed sports
This should be done in schools in areas with a high Muslim population
Schools should then attain academy status, meaning they could have a curriculum independent of the Local Education Authority
The publication of the Trojan horse letter was followed by more than 200 complaints about 25 schools in Birmingham. Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said that staff there had spoken to authorities in Manchester and Bradford and said there were "certainly issues in Bradford which have similarities with the issues being spoken about in Birmingham".21
The Educational Funding Authority, Ofsted and Birmingham City Council decided to investigate the letter, and Michael Gove, the Educational Secretary, appointed Peter Clarke, a former senior Metropolitan Police officer and ex-head of the Counter Terrorism Command to lead the investigation.
In July 2014, the government issued its report on the matter. It details the Trojan Horse letter’s demands as being:
identify your schools;
select a group of Salafi parents;
put our own governor in;
identify key staff to disrupt the school from within; and anonymous letter and PR campaign.
‘all these things will work towards wearing the head down, removing his/her resolve and weakening their mind-set so they eventually just give up’.
Finally, the letter claims that the above tactics had been successful in four Birmingham schools to date. These are detailed in full in the report at appendix 22.22
In its overview, the Government report states:
The behaviours described in the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter have taken place at a number of schools in East Birmingham. The destabilisation of headteachers by aggressive governing bodies can be seen as far back as 20 years ago in 1993-94, but has accelerated in recent years. None of the schools investigated has been designated as a faith school.
In other words, this plan to Islamise state schools is not new and has been put in to effect, un-noticed, for some years. The person believed to be at the heart of it was Tahir Alam, author of the Muslim Council of Britain’s document detailed above. Alam resigned as chairman of the Park View Educational Trust in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal.23 A Government report in to Park View Educational Trust24 found that “the Trust has not taken into account the guidance issued by the Secretary of State in relation to sex and relationship education. Some elements of the curriculum, including the social, moral, spiritual and cultural provision at Park View School, Golden Hillock School and Nansen Primary School are restricted to a conservative Islamic perspective.” The following claims are also included:
There is insufficient evidence that Park View School is welcoming to all faiths and none. It is not faith designated, but has an apparent Islamic focus and collective acts of worship are delivered at Park View School and Golden Hillock School that are not in keeping with the requirements of the funding agreement. There are also examples of non-compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and the Independent School Standards, for example the practice of segregating girls and boys in some classes in a manner which could constitute less favourable treatment of girls. There is evidence of an inappropriate external speaker being invited into Park View School to speak to children.
There are a number of examples of poor practice across the Trust. Staffing structures are unclear and there are a number of staff in acting positions, including each of the headteachers of the schools in the Trust. In addition, staff are appointed to some posts with little experience. There is no external validation of staff appointed as references from sources outside of the Trust are not taken up. The complaints policy is compliant but the implementation of it is not, because it is poorly administered and there is no log of complaints.
The Trojan Horse plot in action can be seen in the example of a Muslim head-mistress, fired from her job in one of the schools identified as a target in the notorious letter. She believes she was targeted because she was “too moderate”. This occurred way back in 1994. She claimed: ‘I was the victim of a pernicious, well-orchestrated smear campaign I have never been able to recover from.
‘People need to know this is a dangerous, well-organised and sinister group who have the capacity to destroy. They are producing fear in society and playing on paranoia. They are extremely powerful.’25
The Muslim Council of Britain claimed that its document, detailed in this report, “was always aimed at being advisory in nature, helping schools engage with Muslim parents. It was prepared with contributions from well-respected educationalists and was launched publicly. The recommendations were not prescriptive, and schools were not obliged to take them on.”26
The MCB’s response to the Government’s Trojan Horse report was to warn education authorities "not to be sidetracked by culture wars initiated by divisive commentators". It also said that it was “patently absurd” that it was involved in a plot to Islamise schools.27
In April 2013, parents in Chingford in Essex received a letter from Larkswood Primary School informing them that in the future, all meat served to pupils would be slaughtered according to the rituals of Islam. In other words, all meat would be halal. This would be the case regardless of the views of the parents, or indeed the pupils.
A subsequent report by local newspaper the East London & West Essex Guardian revealed that three quarters of schools in the London Borough of Waltham Forest were serving only halal meat to children. These schools are under the control of the local authority. The newspaper claimed “a total of 46 schools and academies supported by the local authority order only Halal meat from Waltham Forest Catering, their supplier. Just one school serves both Halal and non-Halal meat and 15 serve meat from animals slaughtered using ‘standard’ methods”.28
So to clarify, the vast majority of local authority controlled schools serve halal exclusively, only one offers a choice, and fifteen use the method of slaughter brought about to reduce animal suffering in the UK.
A year later, the Daily Mail reported that “Hundreds of schools have banned pork – sausages and bacon – and switched to halal only meat for meals even where Muslims are in the minority. Many families of other faiths and none have been angered and upset by the move which has often been done by schools and councils with little or no consultation.”29 The article went on to claim that the driving force behind such decisions is cost, as it is not ecomomically viable to accommodate every belief. Clearly, we know which belief is prioritized in such situations. A representative of the Sikh Council UK, who according to the report will not eat halal meat on religious grounds, expressed concerns about this and argued “Public sector bodies have a duty to the entire community and should be accommodating for all needs without fear or favour.”
In the town of Rotherham, a town that exploded in to public consciousness when it was revealed that at least 1,400 of its daughters had been brutally and repeatedly raped by Muslim gangs, parents were told that one of its schools had made “minor adjustments” to its lunch menu. That ‘minor adjustment’ would be the prohibition of pork products. Once again, Islamic requirements would be placed above the beliefs of others. This was the case despite the fact that the majority of the school’s pupils were non-Muslim. One mother objected on the grounds of animal cruelty, but she did want to give her name, as she feared being branded a racist.
Throughout 2015, further schools added their names to the list of those with Islamised lunch menus, regardless of the ethnic make-up of their pupils. In Islington in North London, the Labour-run governing council said it would no longer serve pork in any of its schools because "Monitoring each child, every day ensuring they are avoiding pork, is an unnecessary cost at a time of tight budgets."30 A local butcher summed up the situation quite succinctly when he said "I feel quite strongly about this. I don't really feel we should pander too much to other religions. It's not a bad thing to show consideration, but that shouldn't restrict the choice of everyone else."
Also in 2015, parents of pupils at Portland Primary Academy in Bilborough, Nottinghamshire, received a letter to inform them that all food at their children’s school was to be halal.31 One mother with two children at the school said “It's disgusting. There should be a choice and we should have been consulted over it in the first place. When I saw what it said on the letter, I sat down and explained to my children what halal meat was, and how the animal was killed, and they said they didn't want to eat it any more. The school have left it up to us to have a horrible conversation with our children to describe what halal meat is. That is not a conversation a parent should have to have with their young children. A friend of mine rang up to ask and the school said they can't do anything about it because they've changed suppliers. Vegetarians have the choice so why don't children who eat meat have the ability to make choices too”. That choice however has been removed as schools and local councils continue to accommodate Islamic practices and beliefs at the expense of others.
In addition to the above, school staff have been fired from their jobs for accidentally serving non-halal, and schools have issued apologies for similar errors. For example, a woman who had worked as a dinner-lady in a school in Staffordshire for 11 years was sacked in the summer of 2013 for accidentally (she claimed) almost serving pork to a “Muslim child.”32
A further example from Leicester:33 A company, based in Doncaster, was supplying Leicester schools with meat. A burger emanating from this company was found to have contained pork. Leicester City Council deemed to be “unacceptable” and ceased to do business with the supplier. A spokeswoman said “The council's view is that whether it's [the level of “contamination”] 1% or 99%, it's still impure and unacceptable”. Impure?
Suleman Nagdi, from the Federation of Muslim Organisations, said: "For people, this is touching at the very tenet of their faith, the very heart of their faith. There needs to be a criminal procedure against the company”.
It isn’t enough that a company lose a major contract, the belief is that they should be prosecuted too.
The National Curriculum
The Department for Children, Schools and Families provides guidance to state schools on the provision of religious education.34
It is aimed at:
local authorities (LAs), standing advisory councils on religious education (SACREs) and agreed syllabus conferences (ASCs)
governors, headteachers, curriculum planners, teachers and trainee teachers of RE and others in maintained schools
educational agencies, advisers, inspectors and consultants
providers of initial teacher training (ITT) and continuing professional development (CPD), trainers and mentors
representatives of religion and belief groups locally and nationally
RE professional bodies, national and local.
It provides the following context:
The UK has a rich heritage of culture and diversity. This is continuing today in an era of globalisation and an increasingly interdependent world. Religion and belief for many people forms a crucial part of their culture and identity.
Immediately, school governors and others are implicitly told to respect “diversity”, particularly in terms of religion, and that Britain has always been a country of various faiths.
The following claims are made in the initial pages of the guidance:
Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. RE is an important subject in itself, developing an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society.
RE also contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society.
This of course sounds reasonable, but it is theory-based and takes no account of reality. Indeed religions are reflected in the way we behave, but what if a religion commands people to behave in a way that goes against the law of the land? What if a specific religion considers ‘mutual respect and tolerance’ to be against its own teachings? What if a religion demands supremacy and rejects mutual respect and tolerance? Once again, authorities make the mistake of believing all religions are essentially alike and teach similar things, they do not.
The guidance on religious education takes no account of this.
RE plays an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It helps children and young people become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. It gives them the knowledge, skills and understanding to discern and value truth and goodness, strengthening their capacity for making moral judgements and for evaluating different types of commitment to make positive and healthy choices.
What an extraordinary statement to make. Once again, there is an underlying assumption that all religions are essentially good. Islamic scripture however teaches the violent subordination of women and girls, that Muslims should wage war against unbelievers, and compares Jews to apes and pigs. This is a matter of observable fact. How then can it be assumed by authorities that Islam helps children to value goodness?
On community cohesion, the Government’s guidance on religious education states:
RE makes an important contribution to a school’s duty to promote community cohesion. It provides a key context to develop young people’s understanding and appreciation of diversity, to promote shared values and to challenge racism and discrimination.
This is an important and revealing paragraph. Of course it makes the same error and concludes that religion (even supremacist religion) somehow promotes cohesion, but the inclusion of “challenge racism and discrimination” is key. One could argue, and we do, that this is modern-day parlance for ‘prevent the robust analysis of what a specific religion really teaches’. When one is expected to ‘challenge racism’, one will avoid asking awkward questions about minority faiths. In other words, the fantasy of unity and cohesion must be promoted over and above the truth.
Much of the document focuses on how different types of schools are governed, which is beyond the scope of this report. However, some assumptions are repeatedly made throughout: all religions are similar and essentially good so there is no need to examine what any given religion teaches, that all religions must be respected, and that “racism” must be challenged.
Statutory guidance on the teaching of citizenship in schools is issued by the Department for Education.35 It provides details on what pupils ought to learn about the United Kingdom and how to be a good citizen. It describes the purpose of study as:
A high-quality citizenship education helps to provide pupils with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. In particular, citizenship education should foster pupils’ keen awareness and understanding of democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Teaching should equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments. It should also prepare pupils to take their place in society as responsible citizens, manage their money well and make sound financial decisions.
“Teaching should equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically” seems positive. It suggests that all issues should be up for honest debate and criticism. However, key stage 4 requires that pupils be taught about “diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding”. How can pupils explore political and social issues, such as religion, critically if they are required to show mutual respect and understanding? What if a pupil does not respect the religion of another because of its teachings? Will that pupil be able to explore this critically and honestly, or will “respect” for religion over-ride that?
The curriculum on religious education and citizenship is both vague and at times contradictory. It offers no assistance at all in debating difficult issues surrounding religious teachings, it does not acknowledge or take account of the fact that religions are different and teach different things, it takes no account of what happens when religious teachings themselves do not respect “diversity”, and it offers no solutions as to the problems of division and hatred if they stem from religious teachings.
The Department for Education issued ‘The Prevent Duty – Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers’ in June 2015.36 It was intended to provide advice for “Governing bodies, school leaders and school staff among others and is intended to clarify the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on the “need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. The duty applies to a wide range of public bodies, though for our purposes we will focus only on schools.
It states: “Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of schools’ and childcare providers’ wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other harms”. It requires schools to promote fundamental British values and enable pupils to challenge extremist views. The definition of extremism offered is as follows:
“Extremism” is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas. Terrorist groups very often draw on extremist ideas developed by extremist organisations.
Teachers are asked to “identify children who may be at risk of radicalisation”. School staff, it says, “should use their professional judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act appropriately”. Preventing radicalisation is placed among the general duties schools have to act to safeguard children from harm. The details of full safeguarding duties are beyond the scope of this report but can be read in full at appendix https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2
Here is some of the advice offered:
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) can be an effective way of providing pupils with time to explore sensitive or controversial issues, and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to understand and manage difficult situations. The subject can be used to teach pupils to recognise and manage risk, make safer choices, and recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety and wellbeing. They can also develop effective ways of resisting pressures, including knowing when, where and how to get help. Schools can encourage pupils to develop positive character traits through PSHE, such as resilience, determination, self-esteem, and confidence.
Schools can build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by providing a safe environment for debating controversial issues and helping them to understand how they can influence and participate in decision-making. Schools are already expected to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and, within this, fundamental British values (see below).
Citizenship helps to provide pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. It should equip pupils to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, to debate, and to make reasoned arguments. In Citizenship, pupils learn about democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Pupils are also taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.
The statutory guidance makes clear the need for schools to ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in schools. Schools should ensure that suitable filtering is in place. More generally, schools have an important role to play in equipping children and young people to stay safe online, both in school and outside.
Local authorities are vital to all aspects of Prevent work. In some priority local authority areas, Home Office fund dedicated Prevent co-ordinators to work with communities and organisations, including schools. Other partners, in particular the police and also civil society organisations, may be able to provide advice and support to schools on implementing the duty.
Effective engagement with parents / the family is also important as they are in a key position to spot signs of radicalisation. It is important to assist and advise families who raise concerns and be able to point them to the right support mechanisms.
As you can see, the advice is vague across the board with many vital questions left unanswered such as:
What is the difference between extremism and devout religious belief?
Does “extremism” cover the ill-treatment of, or a desire for the ill-treatment of, women and girls?
What happens when devout religious belief comes in to opposition with fundamental British values?
In cases where a teacher does identify concerning signs (whatever they may be) the local authority has a duty to provide a contact for them to inform. It also advises that schools/teachers may contact the police or the Department for Education’s dedicated helpline.
Once again, we are left exactly without clarity as to exactly what reasons may prompt a school or teacher to contact the police. The judgement on this is left to the school or teacher, but if the National Union of Teachers (see below) is indicative, it may be that teachers themselves could object to categorising certain beliefs as extreme, or to the Prevent duty overall, and thus the entire purpose of Prevent in schools may be rendered invalid.
Fundamental British Values
The documents in appendix provides several links which readers may wish to access for further reading on this issue. For our purposes, we will focus on one link provided, that which aims to clarify what is meant by ‘fundamental British values’ that schools have a duty to promote.
The Department for Education has issued the following advice on promoting fundamental British values:37
Examples of the understanding and knowledge pupils are expected to learn include:
an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
an understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
an acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination
Examples of actions schools can take to promote British values are to:
include in suitable parts of the curriculum - as appropriate for the age of pupils - material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries
ensure all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the pupils
use opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view
consider the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by pupils, in promoting fundamental British values
Once again, Sharia Watch believes that the above advice is simply too broad-ranging, too vague, and gives too much power and autonomy to schools and teachers. The emphasis on respect for the faith (or lack of faith) of others is obviously welcome but what is glaringly absent, in all descriptions of fundamental British values we can find, is any promotion of respect for the rights and equality of women and girls. This is despite what we know about the treatment of girls in some schools and indeed what is taught about women. Therefore, one would think that the promotion of the equal rights of women and girls would be a priority, but it seems to receive no attention at all. Sharia Watch believes the reason for this to be that the promotion of the rights of women will in fact conflict with much of the core of the Islamic faith and would simply be ‘a step too far’. The fundamental rights of half of humanity are therefore effectively brushed under the carpet.
Given the autonomy enjoyed by schools and teachers in determining when and why to alert authorities to the ‘risk of radicalisation’ among pupils, it is vital to understand what attitudes teachers and teachers’ groups demonstrate towards both extremism and the Prevent duty. It may assist therefore to look to the largest teachers’ union in the country, the National Union of Teachers.
National Union of Teachers
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is the largest teachers’ union in the UK. Like many unions in Britain, it is enormously politically active (as opposed to merely representative of workers) and like many unions in Britain, leans very much towards the ‘new Left’ i.e. is strongly pro multiculturalism and takes clear positions on issues involving Islam. Let us take some examples.
On the campaign section of its website,38 it protests against “Israel’s occupation”. It asks people to sign a letter39 criticising G4S, a security company, for providing its services in Israel and thus, according to the letter, being “complicit in violations of international law”. How such a campaign involves teaching is not clear, what is clear however is the way in which the NUT leans politically.
As with most anti-Israel campaigning in the Western left-wing, there is no mention on the website (or in the recommended letter) of the fact that Palestinian territories are governed largely by anti-Semitic groups who openly call for the complete destruction of Israel and its people. Hamas for example, which rules Gaza, is a group with a founding charter calling for the annihilation of all Jews and of course the destruction of the Jewish state.
The Hamas Charter is a religious document and it states40:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a movement that, according to the campaign group Stand With Us41, believes “western democracy is corrupt, unrealistic, and false”. Stand With Us also claim “the Brotherhood calls for jihad against “the Muslim’s real enemies, not only Israel but also the United States. Waging jihad against both of these infidels is a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded.”
The Hamas Charter furthermore quotes the Islamic prophet Mohammed as saying:
The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).
The question is why would the NUT align itself with a cause (Palestinian) without mentioning these highly relevant factors? It is of course a union’s right to campaign on whatever they wish, it must however raise concerns as to the kind of teaching children could receive when discussing matters such as the Middle East conflict, or indeed international politics as a whole.
The NUT has published a document42 regarding the Middle East conflict. It states:
It is part of a teacher’s duty not to promote partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in schools.
One could argue however that this is inconsistent with the NUT’s support for a letter that so obviously leans in favour of the Palestinians and so obviously against Israel.
The NUT document goes on to say “where political or controversial issues are brought to pupils’ attention, they are offered a balanced presentation of conflicting views “. Once again, this is largely inconsistent with the Palestinian-sympathetic letter that does not mention the religiously-motivated war against the Jews being waged by Hamas.
In a section entitled “What should teachers do”, the guidance advises the following:
Antisemitism and Islamophobia are issues for all schools. Schools have a crucial role to play in helping dispel myths about Jewish and Muslim communities:
find out facts and figures about Muslim and Jewish communities in Britain today and the history of these communities in the Middle East;
examine the connections, similarities and differences between Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the context of religious education;
understand that there is no link between Islam and terrorism;
The last point is key. That “there is no link between Islam and terrorism” is merely a matter of opinion, one which many people would disagree with. For example, if an Islamic terror group utilises Islamic scripture as justification for a terror attack, as is frequently the case, it is clear that there is at least scope to argue that there is a link between Islam and terrorism, yet the NUT matter-of-factly states that there is not. This is particularly interesting given that earlier in the same document, the NUT states that teachers should not “present opinion as if they are facts”.
Later in the document, advice is provided to teachers to “challenge Islamophobia and antisemitic lies within the broader framework of antiracism, equality, fairness, human rights and social justice”. What lies? What if a pupil correctly pointed out the Islamic scriptural justification for attacks on Israel? Will this be deemed “lies”, and exactly who decides what does or does not constitute “lies”?
It further advises teachers to “help pupils understand that there are often many and conflicting narratives, all of which may be equally valid”. Here again we see a concerning attitude towards truth. “All of which may be equally valid” is frankly an absurd position that denies objectivity. It is the truth that Hamas seeks the death of Jews, it is not simply a “narrative”, and denials of this objective truth are not “equally valid”.
Whilst this document certainly does call for respect and tolerance among all communities, and denounces anti-Semitism clearly, other campaigns of the NUT lean clearly in favour of the Palestinian cause, promote the concept of “Islamophobia”, and present opinions on Islamic terror as matters of fact. This, we contend, threatens objective truth and subliminally inserts pro-Islam propaganda in to the classroom.
Perhaps even more worrying than the above is the clear rejection by the NUT of British values. Following the Trojan Horse affair (see above), schools in Britain were required to teach children fundamental British values. These were: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs or those without faith. (Interestingly, the equal rights of men and women are not mentioned).
In March 2016, the NUT voted to ‘replace the concept with one that includes “international rights”’.43 According to the Telegraph, “teachers argue "fundamental British values" are "inherent cultural supremacism, particularly in the context of multicultural schools and the wider picture of migration"”. Furthermore, the motion passed at the NUT conference called for “a campaign promote "policies that welcome migrants and refugees into Britain" and called on members to "gather and collate materials on migrants and refugees" to be used in schools”.
The Telegraph article continues:
Christopher Denson, a teacher from Coventry, said he had reservations about using the term "fundamental British values" in schools because many of his students had ancestry in countries which had been at the mercy British colonialism.
He said: "The inherent cultural supremacism in that term is both unnecessary and unacceptable. And seen with the Prevent agenda, it belies the most thinly veiled racism and a conscious effort to divide communities."
Once again, we see an alarmingly anti-British attitude displayed; “at the mercy of British colonialism” is hardly a dispassionate and objective view of history, and arguably it does, as apparently claimed by some, make “children feel guilty about being British”.
Given the views of the National Union of Teachers, questions must be raised as to the potential for anti-Western bias among many teachers and how this will transfer to the teaching of citizenship in British schools.
Even more seriously, claims were made in January 2016 that NUT leaders were “colluding with Islamic extremists to undermine policies aimed at preventing terror attacks”. The sensational claim was again published in the Telegraph.44 The report reads as follows:
Private emails leaked to the Telegraph show that Rob Ferguson, a senior National Union of Teachers (NUT) activist in heavily-Muslim Newham, east London, is working with Mend, an extremist front group, and Cage, the notorious organisation which backed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) killer known as “Jihadi John”.
Mr Ferguson is orchestrating a campaign with Mend to discredit Prevent, the Government initiative which aims to spot signs of radicalisation in young people. A member of the NUT’s ruling national executive, Alex Kenny, and Ian Hale, the NUT’s assistant secretary in Newham, are also involved.
The emails show he worked with Mend’s chair in Newham, Tahir Talati, to organise an anti-Prevent statement, signed by Mr Hale and local imams. It claimed, falsely, that Prevent attacked “normal Muslim religious practice” with young Muslims targeted “for the views they hold on issues such as government foreign policy”.
The statement also claimed that Prevent was behind moves to “ban Friday prayers” and Islamic dress in two Newham schools. School officials said this was also untrue.
The mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, condemned the statement, saying: “It is the task of professionals to protect their pupils from extremism and it is not acceptable to walk away.”
Mend’s director of engagement, Azad Ali, has supported the killing of British troops and said “democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the Sharia, of course no-one agrees with that”. Mend has organised many events with extremist, bigoted and anti-democratic speakers and has called for British Muslims to be allowed to fight in Syria.
The other figure closely involved in the campaign, Yusuf Patel, is a former member of the extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir who now runs SREIslamic, a campaign for the “unacceptability of homosexuality” and the prevention of sex and relationship lessons for Muslim pupils.
In one email, dated 7 Dec, Mr Patel writes of his “congratulations on some excellent work, especially from Rob and Tahir…there is a real desire to replicate this sort of statement against Prevent [elsewhere] so your work is also inspiring many others.” In other emails, Mr Ferguson urges Muslim leaders to sign up to the statement.
Also at the conference mentioned above (when the NUT objected to teaching British values) members voted to “reject the government’s Prevent strategy, designed to tackle extremism, over concerns that it causes “suspicion in the classroom and confusion in the staffroom””.45
The situation is therefore that the NUT has clearly nailed its political colours to the mast; it opposes Government attempts to tackle Islamic extremism, promotes mass migration, and labels the teaching of British values as ‘cultural supremacism’. One can only imagine then what children might be learning about being British, about international affairs, and course, about Islam.
Worrying attitudes among teachers isn’t only found in the activities of the NUT. Further examples of clear political bias and propaganda are not difficult to find. In early 2016, a school in Hampshire called the police when a 15 year old student accessed the website of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a legal and widely supported political party in Britain. The Independent reported the matter as follows46:
15-year-old Joe Taylor says he viewed the political party’s website following a classroom discussion on immigration. He says he was subsequently reported to the police by teaching staff who raised concerns that he was viewing “politically incorrect websites”, indicating “extremist views”.
The incident allegedly happened at Wildern School in Hedge End, Southampton. The boy’s father, Mick, has told The Daily Express that his son was taken out of class and interviewed by Hampshire police.
In another astonishing example, a Derbyshire teacher reportedly “compared UKIP to Nazis before the Holocaust”.47 The Derby Telegraph reported this incident as follows:
A TEACHER is alleged to have compared UKIP to “the Nazis before the Holocaust” during a lesson.
Mike Dawson, who is a member of the party, took to Twitter to voice his disgust at the comments, said to have been made by an English teacher at Pingle School during a lesson where his son was present.
He complained to the school, in Swadlincote, and it launched an investigation.
The Coronation Street school has denied that any comparison was made between the anti-EU party and the Nazis, though the teacher has been warned to choose his words more carefully in the future.
Head teacher Viv Sharples said the Nazis were being discussed during the lesson in which UKIP was also a topic of conversation but that what was said had been ‘misconstrued’.
She said:: “It was a speaking and listening class and they were discussing how the Nazis used propaganda.
“UKIP was part of the same discussion but there was definitely not a direct comparison between the two.
“The parent was concerned and we apologised for any offence that was caused.”
Mrs Sharples said the matter had now been dealt with and that the complainant was ‘satisfied’ with the outcome.
She said: “Discussions can be broad ranging and I have explained to the member of staff when having discussions about politics, things can be misconstrued”.
Miscontrued? Perhaps. But it isn’t it interesting that a teacher chose to speak about UKIP, as opposed to say the Labour Party, when discussing political propaganda and the Nazis? Whether direct or not, a message is passed to pupils: one that reinforces the view that a party opposing mass and uncontrolled immigration is comparable to the Nazis.
There is little doubt, given the above, that the political bias of teachers and teachers’ unions is making its way in to the classroom. The bias leans overwhelmingly to the Left i.e. is pro mass migration, pro multiculturalism, anti-British. This will inevitably result in pupils being force-fed a wholly positive view of minority cultures and religions. The results of this should be obvious; pupils will learn a wholly positive view of Islam, and thus will not protest to increasing Islamisation.
Lessons in Hate and Violence
In the last decade, two major undercover investigations in to Muslim schools have been undertaken in the UK. One produced for Channel 4 and the other for the BBC. These were ‘Lessons in Hate and Violence’ (Channel 4) and ‘British Schools, Islamic Rules’ (BBC). We will look at these in detail.
A Channel 4 documentary in 201148 entitled ‘Lessons in Hate and Violence’ revealed what happens inside some Muslim faith schools in the UK. The documentary showed shocking images of children being beaten while learning the Koran. Furthermore, it showed children being taught that disbelievers are “the worst of all creatures” and that a person who “has less than a fistful of beard, then you should stay away from him”. Children were also told that Hindus “drink the piss of a cow”.
The documentary tells us that there are (or were at that time) at least 2,000 Muslim faith schools in Britain. It also describes the teachings as a “hardline, intolerant, and deeply anti-social brand of Islam”. However, what is not mentioned is that the notion that the disbeliever is the worst of all creatures for example, comes directly from Islamic scripture:
Koran 98:649 - Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the worst of creatures.
Darul Uloom, Birmingham
This is described as a full-time independent secondary school and is located in the city of Birmingham. It is “inspected by government approved teams” and is required to teach tolerance and respect for other religions. An undercover reporter left a hidden camera in a room where Islamic studies were taught. In a lesson for pupils aged 11 and over, here is what the hidden camera recorded:
Who worships the cows? It’s the Hindus, isn’t it? It’s the Hindus that worship the cows. If we choose to worship such ridiculous things. A cow. Now, how can anyone worship a cow? The first thing he does is he rides on the cow, he sits on a cow, he sits on his God, and at times he needs to clean for his God. At times, the God steps over him, at times his God goes to sleep, at times he eats while he pees, yeah apparently, and funny enough they drink the piss of a cow. The Hindus do, yeah they drink the piss of a cow, but I’ve told you this before.
In 2009, Government inspectors had praised this school for its inter-faith teachings and stated: “Pupils learn about the beliefs and practices of other faiths and are taught to show respect to other world religions”.
The speakers goes on to ask pupils whether Hindus have any intellect. He answers “No”.
When pupils return from summer holidays, they have their hair inspected and children deemed to have “non-Muslim haircuts” are sent to stand at the wall. A senior teacher told50 pupils that looking like “kuffar” is forbidden. He tells the children “you need to free yourself from the influence of the shaytan [Satan] and of society. The kuffaar have brought so many new things out and you need to free yourself from slavery. What’s the slavery I am talking about? Mind control, praise be to God. They’re controlling your minds, you’re doing what they want. Ask yourself, are you part of that slavery as well? This mind control? Are you part of those who prefer this way of life. The way of the kuffaar over the way of the Prophet? You are not like the non-Muslim out there, and all that evil you see on the streets, people not wearing hijab properly, people smoking, people walking like they’ve got something stuck in their pants. This kind of danger, yeah you should hate it, you should hate walking down that street.”
According to the documentary, the school is a “prestigious” one that has been “visited by the Lord Mayor, the Chief Constable, MPs, and dignatories”.
Further teachings caught on camera include:
“All of you are Muslims, don’t emulate any of these Jews, these Christians or these atheists. I don’t want you lot to copy anything of these people out there”.
“Never look at your friends outside, put them away, forget them, think about your religion”.
“Allah is describing the disbelievers as the worst of all people. However we see madrassa students, we want to imitate them, we like to copy them in their practice. However, Allah has classed them as the worst of all people but instead you still want to follow them”.
“This prophet of Allah is saying that a time will come that you’ll see Muslim men and women, they will be listening to music and dancing. Muslim men will shave off their beards, you tell me, hasn’t this time come? The day of judgement will not come until Muslim women, they will take their scarves off, you tell me, hasn’t this time come? As for the people around you who are committing sin, you know when the angel of death comes and he rips their soul out, he will give them such a beating, this this forked iron rod will enter his body, it will enter every single joint, and then the angel of death will twist it, and he will twist it, you will feel the pain on that day. But never will a kaffir enter heaven, until a camel enters an eye of a needle”.
“If you are travelling say and your companion that you are traveling with happens to be a Jew, the harm which he may do to you, will be less compared to the harm which a person who’s got less than a fistful of beard can do to you. There has been no one who has actually helped the cause of Islam whose beard is less than a fistful.”
“Those people who have their trousers below their ankles, that part of their feet, will be in the fire of hell. It doesn’t just mean that part of your feet, the scholars of hadith have said that the whole individual will be in the fire. Having your garments or trousers below your ankles, this is what women do. So why are you imitating women? Therefore, from now on, the madrassa rule is that if anybody is caught having their trousers below their ankles, straight away they will get two detentions”.
In a previous investigation, Undercover Mosque, the same Channel 4 Dispatches team had secretly filmed a man - who was deputy head of Darul Uloom - giving a talk at a mosque. He is recorded as saying:
“They talk about integration. There is an overt as well as a covert plan, a programme they talk about, you need to integrate. If you don’t then you’re a freak, you’re strange, there’s something wrong with you. Which part of this society are we supposed to take and adopt as our lives? Which one?” When approached by Dispatches, he said he had resigned and did not believe Muslims should isolate themselves from the non-Muslim community. The school told Dispatches that the deputy head featured here had left the school and that they didn’t agree with his teachings. They said “we promote the view that students should integrate”.
The documentary makers claim that the teachings above stem from the Deobandi interpretation of Islam, and that about 80% of British trained imams are being schooled in Deobandism.
A school statement following broadcast said the student who gave the speech about Hindus has since been expelled. The visiting speaker who made comments about Jews was a visitor and his teachings did not reflect school policy. They said they did not tolerate hatred towards other faiths. They said: “Our ethos is for students to be full and active participants of British society”. They also said they would study the evidence collected by Dispatches and take disciplinary measures if required.
Markasi Jamia Mosque, Keighley
The documentary next focuses on a madrassa (after school Koran classes) in the town of Keighley. It is claimed that 100,000 children are being taught in madrassas, specifically how to recite the Koran. A hidden camera was left in the room where the madrassa is held (with children as young as 5 in attendance) and this is what was recorded:
A man patrols the room and is seen kicking very young children who are seated on the floor.
Objects being thrown at very young children by older children.
Kicking and punching among young pupils.
One child held down by another while a third pupil kicks him in the face.
A grown man slapping a small child hard across the face (recorded on more than one occasion).
Over the course of three days, or less than 3 hours of filming, children had been hit at least 10 times.
A Daily Mail report by documentary maker Tazeen Ahmad in 2011:51
“Regarding the Keighley madrassa, we were told that the Jamia Mosque committee was firm in its resolve to take whatever action was necessary to protect children being taught at the mosque and that it would give its full co-operation to any enquiries resulting from our film”.
Darul Uloom, London
A full time inspected school in London is the Darul Uloom of (at that time) 150 boys. Its website content is reportedly written by former pupils of the school and supervised by a teacher. The site “advises against special respect or close friendship with non-Muslims” and there should be no love or affection for kuffar.
At this point, it should be noted that Koran 5:51 states: "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends”.
The teacher allegedly supervising the site claimed he did not do so, that he had no connection with it, and had taken steps to have his name removed. The principal said he “totally refuted the rulings given on this site, and they were not taught at his school”.
British Schools, Islamic Rules
In the second of the most significant and revealing investigations in to the issue in 2014, a BBC Panorama documentary52 looked in to what was being taught in some Islamic schools in the UK.
This is what was revealed.
Host Jeremy Vine opens by telling viewers that “95% of Muslim children in Britain attend non-faith state schools. However, a small but rapidly growing number are now being educated in either private or new state Muslim schools. But how much do we actually know about these schools?”.
We learn that the number of Muslim faith schools in Britain has doubled in a decade, and immediately the presence of the hijab on very young girls is apparent. In what is presented as an example of moderation, an overwhelming number of pupils at Al-Furqan school in Birmingham are shown wearing the hijab, and even the niqab (full face covering). Girls are shown playing football, but while wearing what layers of long black veils and a large and cumbersome hijab.
We are also told that Bristol University research reveals that Muslim children are the most segregated in the country.
The next organisation we encounter is the Jame’a Mosque in Leicester, which states on its website:53 “The Jame’ah aims to provide a comprehensive range of education for the entire Muslim community and therefore the classes commence with children as young as the age of 3 ½ to adults who attend regular classes or join the lessons within the Masjid to increase their knowledge and understanding of Islam or to correct their recitation of the Qur’an.”
Next door to the mosque is a private girls’ secondary school, in which from the age of 11, the full face-covering niqab is described as the compulsory uniform.
Across the street from the school is what is described as “another service provided in conjunction with the mosque. It offers religious rulings, or fatwas, to Muslims wanting to know what is or is not permissible in Islam”.
The fatwas given include:
A female is encouraged to remain within the confines of her home as much as possible, she should not come out of the home without need and necessity.
When asked if Muslims should assist fellow Muslims fleeing a sentence of death by stoning, the response is: “To assist and aid such people will be unacceptable, impermissible, and highly sinful”.
A fatwa advised Muslims to avoid “one of the West’s major corrupting influences: music”. Music is a “direct ploy of the non-Muslims intended to undermine Islam”.
The fatwa service “makes multiple references to non-Muslim, who they call the kuffaar”.
Ofsted had inspected the girls’ secondary school, their “report made no mention of the offensive language on the fatwa service, even though both appeared to be part of the same organisation: the mosque”. The Ofsted report said: “The school teaches girls to appreciate diversity and learn to value others’ ideas and traditions”.
The mosque claimed that the school was independent of the fatwa service, which had no bearing on their principles and ethos. The school however refused to answer a question on whether or not the girls were advised to read and follow the fatwas. The school also claimed that it does not actually come under the supervision of the mosque; when the BBC “checked the mosque website, the link that said they did, had disappeared”.
The investigation also revealed that several Muslim school websites across contained anti-Western rhetoric. Among the examples were:
We need to defend our children from the forces of evil.
Our children are exposed to a culture that is in opposition to almost everything Islam stands for.
The curriculum must be kept within the bounds of sharia.
“Birthdays it should be remembered are the practices of disbelievers, immoral people”. Boys and girls playing together, and blowing out candles, is described as a major sin.
It is forbidden to watch films or television
Non-Muslims should be forced to walk on the side if they are met on a pathway.
To preserve Muslim modesty, places like swimming pools are to be avoided.
Riyadh Ul Haq is a revered Islamic cleric who is quoted as saying “do not guide us to the path of those who upon whom your anger and wrath descended, namely the Jews, and nor the path of those who went astray from the path, namely the Christians”. He has also said “Allah has warned us in the Koran, do not befriend the kuffaar, do not align yourself with the kuffaar, the verses are so many and so numerous I can’t recite every one of them”. (The BBC makes no comment on the fact that this statement is accurate).
He is a frequent visitor to the Tooting Islamic Centre in South London. The centre is run by many of the same people who belong to a trust responsible for two local schools – one located inside the Islamic Centre. Ul Haq gave a talk to the pupils of one school and was described in the school paper as “an inspiring speaker”. The school said Ul Haq said nothing like the above when speaking to children, but the report goes on, his “xenophobia” had only recently been exposed in a Times article. It was also claimed that the pupils had not heard Ul Haq in the school, but in the Islamic Centre; though they are located in the same building and share some of the same trustees.
Teaching approximately 5,000 children in over 40 weekend clubs and schools, is a Saudi-connected network of madrassas. An undercover investigator went to one of the schools on the pretext of collecting textbooks for his sister, he took a hidden camera with him. He was told the textbooks were not yet available but that they did come to the school from a location in London. The textbooks, it was revealed, were distributed from a building in West London. The reporter took his hidden camera along.
The books turned out to contain the Saudi national curriculum. The reporter took some away and examined them. This is what they contained:
The Jews are cursed by God
Jews look like monkeys and pigs
Children are asked to list “the reprehensible qualities of the Jews”
A book for 6 year olds includes an exercise: ‘Every religion other than ______ is false. Whoever dies other than in Islam enters _________’. “Islam” and “hellfire” are the required answers.
A book for 15 year olds teaches about sharia law and its punishments, including the correct method of amputating hands and feet. Diagrams showing where the cuts should be made are included.
Teenagers are told the punishment for homosexuality is “killing, execution”. It informs youngsters that there is a difference of opinion among scholars as to whether homosexuals should be executed by way of stoning, being set on fire, or thrown from a cliff.
Textbooks teach that Zionists want to seek world domination for Jews by inciting conflicts.
Three years prior to the filming of this documentary, criticism of “offensive references to Jews” at the King Fahad Academy in London lead to a promise from “the Saudis” to “clean up their curriculum”. Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi Ambassador to the UK, said “not only have we eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from all textbooks that were in our system, we have implanted a comprehensive internal revision and modernization plan”.
The investigators approached the Saudi embassy to inform them of what they had found in schools 3 years on from that assurance, and were told that the network of madrassas in question, has nothing to do with them. The embassy also claimed that what is taught in those schools, has nothing to do with them. The teaching however is the Saudi curriculum itself, published by the Saudi Ministry of Education. A director of the Saudi school network, when asked, claimed that the Saudi cultural bureau, part of the Saudi embassy, has “authority over all Saudi part-time schools”.
Freedom of Information Requests
In an attempt to discover the influence of Islam, and the prevelance of Islamic practices in UK schools today, Sharia Watch sent a freedom of information request to 50 randomly selected schools in London. These included non-faith secular schools, Catholic faith schools, Jewish faith schools, Church of England schools, and Muslim faith schools. As Sharia Watch has learned, when questions involving Islam are asked, responses are few. Therefore, as so often, a clear picture is difficult to paint.
The questions asked were:
Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would be grateful if you would provide a response to the following questions:
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal?
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not?
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? Is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy?
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray?
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan?
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions?
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Have your pupils visited any such religious institution in the past year? Which one?
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds?
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith?
The replies received are copied in full below.
Clapton Girls Academy
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? Most of the meat is Halal.
Do you serve pork in your canteen? Yes If not, why not? N/A
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? Yes is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? In line with
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? No
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, Yes and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? No Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? Not known
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? No What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? N/A
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Yes Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Yes, as they can from any trip. Have your pupils any such religious institution in the past year? No Which one? N/A
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? No
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? 52%
Walthamstow Primary Academy
The school does not have a canteen so the first two questions are not applicable.
The school does not have a uniform policy.
The children at Walthamstow Primary Academy are aged 4 and 5 and do not leave class to pray and they do not fast.
Children are allowed to withdraw from physical education/sports if they are unwell. The school does not have a formal policy regarding this.
The school has organised trips to religious institutions and parents were informed beforehand. Parents are able to prevent their child from participating such trips. The trips were to Emmanuel Community Church, E17 and Masjid Abu Bakr Mosque, E17
The school does not currently offer music lessons.
25.9% of pupils at Walthamstow Primary Academy are of the Muslim faith.
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? None of the canteen menu is certified Halal.
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? Pork is served in the canteen.
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? Is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? Headscarves are available in school colours from the school uniform provider. Other religious headwear would also be permitted. The policy is that headwear may be worn and is therefore a choice of the individual to observe the tradition of his or her religion.
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? No, students may pray at lunchtime. There is a designated room for this and is available for any student wishing to pray, regardless of their religion.
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? Students are permitted to make the choice to fast. This is not monitored by the school, but purely at the discretion of the individual. There is the option to have snacks at break and lunch as part of a standard school day.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? Our policy does not allow for students to opt out of physical education or sports, though we would certainly be vigilant of those fasting for health reasons and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Have your pupils any such religious institution in the past year? Which one? The academy has organised trips to religious institutions and parents are notified beforehand. Parents may opt not to send their child on the trip. The academy has not organised trips to any religious institutions within the past year.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? No. Music is a part of the school's curriculum, which is well-advertised and promoted via the academy’s website and open events. It is a family's decision to choose our school and therefore our curriculum.
East Barnet School
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? 10-15%
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? Yes, Pork products
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? Yes is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? Yes
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? No
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan Yes, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? No Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? Their personal choice
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? Only for medical reasons What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? Medical reasons
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Yes, Yes Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Yes Have your pupils any such religious institution in the past year? No Which one? Not applicable
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? No
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? Muslim 7%, Islam 2%, Not specified/Blank 15%
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? Zero
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? Yes
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? Is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? Students are allowed to wear hijab, Khimers are not worn, and we have not had any requests for them to be worn.
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? There are facilities for students to pray and arrangements are made.
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? Students do fast during Ramadan, staff are aware of this. Both staff and students take off Eid to celebrate.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? All students take part in PE/sports. If there are reasons for a student not taking part, then this is dealt with on an individual basis.
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Have your pupils visited any such religious institution in the past year? Which one? In the academic year 2015-2016, all year 9 students attended the local synagogue for Holocaust Memorial Day. This was available to all year 9 students. In previous years, there have been visits to St Paul’s Cathedral, Regent’s Park Mosque, Amaravarati Buddhist Monastery. Parents are all informed beforehand and are free to prevent their child from participating if they so choose.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? No.
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? 6.09%.
Streatham Church of England Primary School
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? Halal meals are available as special order
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? No. The lunches are provided in accordance with Lambeth's regulations and requirements from a central kitchen since the school does not have cooking facilities
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? Is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? Yes. Hijabs are allowed as part of school uniform - we ask they are plain black, white or grey
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? We have no requests for this but it would be allowed
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? There are Lambeth guidelines for fasting. We discuss these with the parents when they tell us a child is fasting. We would usually adhere to the parents' request. We monitor the well being and performance of children who are fasting
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? PE is part of the national curriculum. Consideration would only be in exceptional circumstances and would be discussed with school governors. We have had no requests of this nature except for broken and fractured limbs.
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Have your pupils visited any such religious institution in the past year? Which one? As an SDBE school 2thirds of our curriculum is Christian and 1 third other faiths. We visit places of worship for the main 5 religions and these are linked to the schemes of work. Whilst a parent could withdraw from any element of RE, this has not happened. Our syllabus is agreed by governors and communicated to parents. We teach about other faiths, we do not evangelise. If a parent was concerned, the concern would be discussed and the parent would be encouraged to accompany the visit. We have not had any requests of this nature. Trips this year include - Mosque - 2 year groups, Gurudwara - 1 year, Synagogue - 2 year groups
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? We have not had a request of this nature. Music is part of the national curriculum.
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? 3-4%
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? All meat served is halal.
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? No. As 98% of our pupils are Muslim, there would be no uptake.
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? Girls can wear head scarfs. The option to do so is included in our uniform policy.
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? No one has ever requested this.
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? Children in year 5 and 6 can fast with the written consent of their parents. We reserve the right to allow children to break their fast if they want to or feel unwell. In year 5, children only fast on the days where they do not do PE or Games.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? No never.
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Yes Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Yes in theory - No one has ever requested this. Have your pupils any such religious institution in the past year? Which one? Local Synagogue - Neasden Temple – St Paul’s Cathedral, Church of Our Lady
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? Yes
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? 98%
Harrow High School Academy
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal? All meat used is halal
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? Yes
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? As part of school uniform policy plain navy, black or white headscarves can be worn.
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? No – learners can pray at break and lunch time
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan? Learners make their own choice whether to fast during Ramadan and whether to break their fast. There are no restrictions imposed on non-muslim pupils.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? We have had no requests to do so. We have no specific policy on withdrawal from these activities.
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Have your pupils any such religious institution in the past year? Which one? Parental consent is requested for all trips and parents can withhold consent for any trip. 1 religious institute visited in the past year was Belmont Synagogue.
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? We have had no requests for learners to do so.
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? 31%
Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
How much (%) of your canteen menu is certified halal?
Do you serve pork in your canteen? If not, why not? No
Do you allow for religious dress, for example head coverings for girls, in your school? is this in line with, or an exception to, your school's uniform/dress policy? YES
Do you allow pupils to leave class in order to pray? YES
Do you allow pupils to fast during Ramadan, and are any restrictions imposed in this regard on non-Muslim pupils? Do fasting children eat/drink at all during Ramadan?YES No Yes
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from physical education or sports? What is your school's policy on permitting such exemptions? No Part of national curriculum No policy
Do you organise trips to religious institutions and do you inform parents of this beforehand? Can the parent prevent their child from participating? Have your pupils any such religious institution in the past year? Which one? Yes - Cathedral, Precious Blood Church and La Salette Parish Church
Do you allow pupils to withdraw from music classes on religious grounds? No
What percentage of your pupils are of the Muslim faith? 1%
Sir William Burrough Primary School
In order of bullet points:
We are 1005 [presumably 100%] halal
No pork is served
fWe allow headscarves
We allow fasting if parents request it
We have no exemptions for sports or music
We do visit places of worship
We are *5% Muslim
The vast majority of schools approached did not respond to our freedom of information request. Therefore, there is little of substance that can be learned. Some points however: while it is encouraging that most are not exclusively halal, the unquestioning acceptance of the hijab in all schools is worrying. It is also notable that the only Muslim majority school to respond does allow exclusions from music lessons on religious grounds.
“I taught jihadis” – anonymous teacher shares his story
Sharia Watch has been contacted by a former teacher at Fitzalan High School in Cardiff, where he worked for three years. In May 2016, he wrote an anonymous article54 in the Daily Mail describing how he “watched as children were radicalised under my nose”.
Here is the article in full:
Nothing could have prepared me for my first day at Fitzalan High School in Cardiff. On the face of it, the school is a typical, sprawling comprehensive. There is no external clue to the reality – that this is a place where girls can feel bullied into wearing the hijab, where many boys wear traditional robes, and where teenagers dare not listen to pop music.
A place, that is, where radical, intolerant Islam is the dominant culture, where 70 per cent of students are Muslim, and the most strident and aggressive set the tone.
Of course, it would come as a shock for any teacher to see an ex-student appear in an Islamic State propaganda video, as did Reyaad Khan, a former student at another Cardiff school. He would later be killed by an RAF drone strike. Or to see a former Fitzalan pupil sent to prison in this country for helping fellow fundamentalists, including another from Fitzalan, join IS in Syria, which is what happened to Kaleem Brekke.
But I can’t say I was entirely surprised. My three years at the school gave me a disturbing insight into an Islamic culture in our cities, which revolves around family, the mosque and Koranic school. It is a segregated world – and it provides a fertile recruiting ground for IS terrorism.
I taught many lovely, respectful, intelligent children at Fitzalan, but there were some things that all my Muslim pupils seemed to agree on. When, for example, they brought up the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris or the murder of Lee Rigby in London, it was clear that they saw the perpetrators as heroes, and the victims as villains who deserved to be killed.
I believe most of my pupils were pretty moderate individuals – until, that is, they came to school, where the more extreme imposed their views. For example, many girls wore the hijab to school because they had previously been bullied by Muslim boys for not wearing one. Similarly, pupils into Western music were told it was ‘haram’ – forbidden. They even tried to convert me to Islam
As an experienced teacher – for the record, I am white and a lapsed Christian – I didn’t find it a problem that I was not the same colour or faith as the majority, who I stress were largely respectful and eager to learn. This is borne out by glowing official inspection reports, in which Fitzalan appeared as a shining example of academic improvement, integration and community cohesion. I found it to be anything but integrated, even though the majority were born in Britain.
Holidays were spent with family in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Saudi Arabia. On school trips where we came across students from other schools, I witnessed the discomfort of some children because they’d never been around so many white people.
Under the Government’s Prevent scheme to combat Islamist radicalism, it is now mandatory for teachers to report incidents of extremist behaviour in schools. But when I followed the protocol, nothing was done. Senior staff, who were mostly white, did not want to recognise they had a problem with Islamic extremism. I don’t know whether it was political correctness, an unwillingness to cause upset, or sheer inertia, but radical Islamist views were not challenged.
When Kaleem Brekke was arrested under terror laws for helping a friend to fight for IS in Syria, a staff email went out to say that we weren’t to discuss anything with the press.
I taught Kaleem during my first year at Fitzalan. He was a young white convert to Islam, who was very quiet, respectful and wore traditional Islamic garments. Kaleem explained that he had changed his name from Kristen on ‘reverting’ to Islam the previous year – he believes all people are born Muslim. He thought that he had been lucky to rediscover ‘the truth’ during a difficult time after his parents had separated. As most of his friends at Fitzalan were Muslim, he had taken up their invitation to attend the local mosque.
I sat down with him towards the end of his course and asked why he was struggling to meet deadlines.
Kaleem replied that he was torn between school, a part-time job and studying in his mosque, which he thought could lead to ‘great things’. His mosque in the Riverside area of the city was paying for him to complete a course studying the Koran, which, he explained, would eventually lead to him becoming an imam.
I forgot about Kaleem until a few months ago, when I read of his conviction at the Old Bailey for assisting terrorist activities. He was jailed for four-and-a-half years after helping a friend obtain a new passport and buying him combat clothing.
Reyaad Khan, who went to another Cardiff school, was devout, a straight-A student who once wanted to be Britain’s first Asian Prime Minister. But Reyaad featured in a prominent IS propaganda video, which was exposed in The Mail on Sunday in 2014, alongside his friend
Nasser Muthana, also from Cardiff. Nasser's brother, Aseel, another former Fitzalan pupil, also went to Syria.
A frequent user of social media, Reyaad boasted about carrying out IS executions. He was killed in an RAF drone strike in Syria in 2015.
Little wonder that I came to believe that Fitzalan High School and the mosques within its catchment area had a real problem. Two young pupils in my Year 7 class told me they were beaten if they failed to pay attention at Koran school. One described beatings with a cane.
His friend explained how his teacher at the school had ‘squeezed’ his fingers around the sharp edges of a steel ruler. I reported this to the school. In a telephone conversation with a colleague responsible for child protection, I was told that ‘while shocking, it’s fairly widespread throughout the country’.
The school had ‘tried to raise these allegations of abuse several times in the past’ but they were ‘met with a wall of silence from the parents’. In May 2013, my Year 10 group were discussing the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. I stated my dismay and decried the cowardice of the perpetrators. I was met with stunned
Finally, a rather interesting character within the classroom – quiet but shifty – voiced his opinion: the two killers, he said, were ‘true Muslims’ and would go to heaven for their actions. He then asked me what I thought about Abu Qatada, the extremist Muslim cleric. I replied that ‘he was a criminal wanted in this country and many others’. The student replied that Qatada ‘was a don’, indicating respect. I reported the incident to the school, but did not hear of any intervention.
In January 2015, the shooting at the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo came up in a debate in a GCSE class. One girl voiced the opinion that the ‘people at Charlie Hebdo were asking for it’ and it was wrong to draw cartoons of the Prophet. The other girls agreed before I brought the conversation to a close. Again, there was no response when I reported the matter.
Many of my students were delighted that I took an interest in their culture and taught me phrases in Arabic. The most confident of the group was a young man who would alternate between Western clothes and full white robes. He revelled in the opportunity to educate me. The class found it hilarious that he brought me a miswak (a stick used as a toothbrush in many Arab countries) or dates that he claimed would benefit me in all sorts of ways. I declined the offer.
Later that year, in May 2012, his attitude changed. He tried to add me as a friend on Facebook but I had declined. One day he confronted me in a corridor as to why. I explained that online interactions between teachers and pupils were unwise. He invited me to meetings at his mosque. Again I declined. At the end of a lesson, he and a small group of his friends stayed behind in an attempt to convert me to Islam.
It culminated in a diatribe about sharia law and how my beliefs were laughable. I reported the incident to the school but was not told of any intervention.
In the next lesson, the boy explained it was his ‘duty as a good Muslim to challenge my beliefs’, as if I did not convert to Islam I would ultimately end up in hell. A year later, I recall asking what his plans were for life after Fitzalan. His answer troubled me. He stumbled through a response about leaving to study in Pakistan. I asked him about the course, but he could not answer.
My time working at Fitzalan has changed my outlook on the Muslim community in Cardiff and on a school which often had an imam to address the children at assembly, but never seemed to invite a vicar, rabbi or a representative of the Hindu or Sikh communities – even though those faiths were represented there.
There are times when I feel that I should make more of an effort to remember all the likeable young Muslim people that I have taught. And then I feel angry at those individuals who are instilling fear and mistrust on both sides.
I feel let down by the system and the apparent refusal to intervene effectively. I am certain that our failure to tackle radicalism openly and head-on is helping its poison spread through so many young people in this country.
A spokesperson for the school said: "Anyone who knows Fitzalan would not recognise the picture of the school that is being painted here.
"In a recent peer review, visiting teachers recognised how positive the atmosphere is at the school.
"Fitzalan is a very popular and over-subscribed school, serving a diverse community. The school population is made up of children and young people from 40 different nationalities and a number of religions.
"The school is actively engaged in the work of Prevent. It is fully committed to the safeguarding of children and young people and it works proactively on countering extremism.
"Staff are fully trained in how to identify the early signs of extremism. They understand the work of Prevent. They know how to get help, guidance and intervention.
"Where concerns arise, the school is quick to respond and follow up appropriately. Prevent staff are complimentary of the work being done at Fitzalan."
In addition to the above, the teacher shared the following with Sharia Watch:
“I am a secondary science teacher in the Cardiff area. Last year I had an anonymous article printed in the Mail. Since the head at my current school got wind of this, he has attacked my professional character and asked the governing body to dismiss me. He also contacted the Education Workforce Council with a package of 'evidence' claiming that I was aggressive and unsafe to work as a teacher.
Why should I tell you this? As a professional who has witnessed concerns that were officially raised and ignored, my punishment has been the loss of office and a year of grief. This is the opposition Joe Bloggs faces and what needs to be overcome.
There was a great deal that the Mail couldn't publish in the article as it wasn't experienced first hand by myself, it is discounted as hearsay. But some of the kids had beheaded the school's pet rabbit and threw the body into the playground. Also numerous concerns regarding suitability of staff teaching there. It really is a powder keg and all the local authority has done is bury its head and deny any problem.
I can't really comment on NUT as I'm not with that union. However the backbone of the trade unions has been firmly broken. They have allowed each successive government to scrap the previous administration's progress without evaluating and improving. The profession is firmly in crisis with the government denying that they can't hold on to young teachers. Much like their response to the crisis in the NHS. The system is under too much pressure, undoubtedly caused by increased migration and inadequate resources to cater for them.
Due to increasing immigration, average reading ages in UK have plummeted. Notice how this is rarely discussed any more? It was a key indicator when I started teaching in 2006.
Instead, the government has switched focus from tangible indicators such as reading age, number of A* to C at GCSE, to a system that considers value added above all else.
Now schools are judged upon value added. So a student arriving from Afghanistan at 11 years old comes with little or no data, very poor language skills, will be assumed an extremely modest outcome for GCSE.
Now the school coerces that child to take extra GCSEs in Arabic, Pashto or whatever language they're guaranteed and A* in.
Any gaps in attainment will be filled by pursuing BTEC courses wherever possible. As all teachers know this stands for “bugger teaching everybody copy". Here these students can get several GCSE equivalents by merely copying out of textbooks.
Bobs your uncle, the school's value added scores are through the roof. Ofsted give a great report and parents are clamouring to get their kids into catchment. Thereby confusing parents into what is a 'good' school for their kids. I assume this is a deliberate attempt to reintegrate white communities into schools that have suffered due to white flight”.
Special Addition: ‘Our children Must be Free’ by Shazia Hobbs
I don’t remember being brainwashed by religion while at school in the 70s, maybe I’m wrong, but it was when I started secondary school that I was taught Religious Education. Prior brainwashing occurred in the home.
As a Muslim child, I was not allowed to go to church with my classmates at the end of the school term, and Muslim privilege meant the school did not question this. I do remember one occasion when my mother was late collecting me, and I ended up in the church as my teacher couldn’t leave me alone. My mother was livid and marched into the church to drag me out while shouting in anger at the teacher.
The following year we moved to a predominantly white area, which meant moving to a new primary school. I and my siblings were the only Muslim children at the school. Friday was assembly day, there was singing of hymns and praising of the lord, and once again the Muslim children were excluded, and the reason was never challenged: ‘It is against our religion.’
Today religion is a big part of primary school children’s education. We hear and read stories of children being taken to mosques to learn about Islam.
When I was at primary school, girls never wore headscarves to cover their hair. Our hair was allowed to be free. At secondary school, girls rarely wore the hijab - I remember it being worn by maybe two girls in the five years that I attended. Today it is part of the uniform for many girls, and shockingly even four-year-old girls are being forced to wear it.
My daughter attends a non-denominational school and still they brainwash her with religion. I didn’t notice the extent of this indoctrination until she was in Primary 3, and she began singing songs about Jesus being left on the cross to die.
In Primary 4 when learning about Islam, every day she asked questions: ‘When you were a Muslim girl did you fast?’ ‘When you were a Muslim girl did you pray five times a day?’
She came home one afternoon and was adamant that we must ‘never draw pictures of Mohammed because it is offensive to Muslims.’
Is this what they are teaching our children at school? All those who have been murdered for ‘causing offence’ and still we teach the young not to ‘offend.’ All those who need 24/7 police protection, or have to go into hiding fro daring to criticise Islam, and we teach the young not to offend? Have we not learned anything?
I made an appointment to speak to her teacher, to let her know that I object to my child learning that ‘drawing Mohammed is offensive.’ (Not that it made any difference as they are still teaching the same crap to the pupils).
I am considering having my daughter excluded from all religious education. If I were raising her as a Muslim, I would have every right to exclude her from school assemblies, from visiting the Church, or listening to the Reverend give his hour-long talk at Christmas. Nobody would dare question me, and my wishes would be respected. I am going to demand the same respect for my child and her lack of religion. I believe all parents who are raising their children without a religion, should make the same demand from their schools.
50 The quotes here may not have been spoken in the order presented and some things may be omitted, however they are presented here in the order they appeared in the documentary