Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Reaction to the Muslim Council of Britain's Plan for British Schools

I previously posted here on the Wahhbist "Muslim Council of Britain" initiative, published in a 72 page document, to enlist the state school system of the UK in imposing special and segregated treatment for muslim students. In the days following this initiative, the Guardian allowed a member of the Muslim Council of Britain to opine in their paper on the initiative -- a post that generated an incredible bevy of critical responses from muslims and non-muslims alike.

Unfortunately, I missed this article and the responses at the time, but Maverick News did not. They quote from Eye of the World blog, which had this to say:

Recent publication of articles about the Muslim Council of Britain's critique of British public schools, and a list of its segregationist Sharia based "guidelines" created a firestorm to such an extent that the assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain,Tahir
Alam wrote a piece in The Guardian in which he tried to sell these
segregationist demands as "An agenda for integration." Much to our surprise, The Guardian, being as left wing as they come, provided a forum for discussion on which the readers, non-Muslims and Muslims alike, ripped Tahir Alam a new one. Here are some of the readers' comments on his piece (spelling and orthography

(by thetrashheap):
Do you honestly believe Muslims aren't integrating because they can't pray enough or have to shower infront of other children?They don't integrate becasue they wear burkas, won't do PE, won't go out socially, because women are scared of men, and because like all strongly religious they don't mix.

How many non muslim friends does the author have?Also do you honestly believe
Muslims aren't achieving because they can't pray enough or have to shower in front of other children? They aren't achieving because far to much emphasis is spent on knowledge of islam rather than real knowledge. To much time is spent on cultural identity rather that integrating and playing the system. I'm an Irishman who lived in England for a while and I saw a lot of integration from every community except the muslim population which lead me to think that a large part of the problem lies with the muslim community and its failure to adapt rather than the general population

(by Abair):
Didn't you get the memo Tahir? We don't want communitarian,sectarian politics being nurtured in our country. They've already caused enoughtrouble.The self-appointed Muslim commumity "leaders" who represent next tono-one (6% of Muslims in the case of the MCB, the most representative organisation) are no longer listened to. Who needs their Saudi-funded doctrines anyway?

Quite what Islam has to offer to the educational process is beyond me. Islam is an Arabic cultural product and its homelands have a dismal history of educational achievement - even now it's literacy rate lags behind that of the DEVELOPING world. Women's literacy is particularly poor.In fact in a thousand years the Arab world has only managed to translate the same number of books as Spain does annually, as the Arab authors of the UN Human Development Report pointed out: "Most Arab countries have not learned from the lessons of the past and the field of translation remains chaotic. In terms of quantity, and notwithstanding the increase in thenumber of translated books from 175 per year during 1970-1975 to 330, the number of books translated in the Arab world is one fifth of the number translated in Greece. The aggregate total of translated books from the Al-Ma'moon era to the present day amounts to 10,000 books - equivalent to what Spain translates in a single year (Shawki Galal, in Arabic, 1999, 87)."

Introducing Arab-style gender apartheid will do nothing to improve children's education opportunities. It clearly has failed the Arab world for a
thousand years.

(by Alumindogg):
My own experiences of supply teaching in a wide variety of inner city Secondary schools in Yorkshire led me to the following conclusions (although bear in mind this is probably more relevant to Pakistani and Somali muslim groups).

1.Muslim pupils cared little for these kind of over-bearing dictats that merely reaffirmed the control of their parents inside, as well as outside the school. They effectively had the same interests and vices as the 'indigenous' students.

2. The tight grip that their parents would hold over their behaviour, appearance, and free time when at home, would lead to many pupils treating school as 'freedom' away from the pressures and norms of home-life. This was very positive for the students, but would often lead to very immature behaviour and made teaching very difficult. This issue applied to both the children ofrich and poor pupils.

3. Some muslim pupils lacked a natural respect for many of the
teachers in the schools, especially the younger ones. However teachers from
their own community (or from a similar background), would be afforded instant,
unquestioned deference. This perhaps being a sign that the pupils saw genuine
authority within the home, community and mosque rather than with their teachers
or school. For me, these are genuine issues effecting muslim underachievement
within the mainstream school system, not the use of mixed swimming classes.

Surely the MCB is hijacking the "Every Child Matters" agenda here to enforce its
own narrow, conservative view of Islam on ALL muslim pupils regardless of their
own beliefs?.

(by Btitishmuslim):
Alumindogg, What you have described is so true. The behavious of certain muslim children in school is one of the biggest barriers tothem obtaining good qualifications. The reason why so many children of a'pakastani background' underachieve is due to the various restrictions place by parents on them which results in them not being able to fully integrate with wider society. Also in majority of Pakastani families 'especially of Mirpuri descent' education is not considered important.Therefore what the reader is suggesting will make the isolation of the muslim community worse. The Muslim community needs to wake up to the fact that it is a minority in this country and not a majority. Education should not be mixed with religion.Needless to say that MCB's "guidelines" were branded everywhere in the UK as unacceptable.

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