Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Islamic Education Too One-Sided for UK?

Bucking the trend of supine surrender in the name of "diversity" and "multiculturalism," which usually mean, any culture other than Western Civilization, David Bell, the UK's chief inspector of schools, challenged private Islamic religious schools operating in Britain for failing to acquaint their students with British culture.
"The growth in faith schools needs to be carefully but sensitively monitored by government to ensure that pupils at all schools receive an understanding of not only their own faith but of other faiths and the wider tenets of British society. We must not allow our recognition of diversity to become apathy in the face of any challenge to our coherence as a nation ... I would go further and say that an awareness of our common heritage as British citizens, eual under the law, should enable us to assert with confidence that we are intolerant of intolerance, illiberalism and attitudes that demean the place of certain sections of our community, be that women or people living in non-traditional relationships."
Mr. Bell added that "traditional Islamic education does not entirely fit pupils for their lives as Muslims in modern Britain." More perspicaciously, he warned that "diversity" should not be turned into segregation of separation. These are fairly strong words coming from a representative of the Blair government, which has tip-toed around the problem of British Muslims rather like a balerina on a minefield.

Of course, Mr. Bell was immediately assailed for defending the concept of British culture. Dr. Mohamed Mukadam, chairman of the Association of Muslim Schools, immediately denounced Mr. Bell for his "Islamophobia." Other Muslim "leaders" quickly piled on.
Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "The issue of community cohesion and coherence is of paramount importance for the whole nation but we consider it highly irresponsible to suggest that the growth of Muslim faith schools poses a threat to 'our coherence as a nation.' The issue around schools not adequately fulfilling their responsibility in preparing children for their wider responsibility is a generic issue affecting all poorly resourced schools." At present there are more than 100 Muslim schools, teaching the equivalent of about 3% of Muslim children, but only five percent of them receive state funding.
Islam is not a religion native to Britain. Islamic culture differs greatly from British culture. Around the world, and within Britain, Muslims have repeatedly and violently demonstrated their hatred of, and opposition to, Western Civilization. Within the Muslim world, schools - known as madrasas - have been shown to be the inculcators of fanatical Islamist ideology in Muslim children (see here, here and here). Given these facts, is it really so unreasonable for the British government and people to raise concerns about Islamic schools operating in Britain? Why is it acceptable for Muslims to demand that British (or European, or American) society and institutions adapt to their beliefs and customs, but not acceptable for the reverse? How far can a society go in promoting diversity before it diversifies core culture out of existence?


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