SOME Islamic schools in Britain were today accused of teaching “fundamentalist” views in a new report which warns they could undermine the country’s social cohesion.
The report, by Right-wing think tank Civitas, claims pupils are being told to shun chess, music, cricket and evenÂ Harry PotterÂ in material posted or linked to school websites.
It says the teaching risks encouraging some Muslim children to “despise British culture” and prepare them to live “separate lives” in “Muslim enclaves” distant from the rest of society.
The report also claims some Muslim parents deliberately send their children to “sectarian schools”, but suggests many are unaware of the hardline content of teaching, and are simply choosing Islamic schools in preference to less successful state alternatives.
The claims – which are based on a study of the websites of Islamic schools in Britain, including some in London – will revive concerns about the risk that religious schooling could widen divisions within society.
Ministers, who have permitted the creation of Islamic state schools alongside existingÂ Church of England, Catholic, Jewish and other institutions, insist that a requirement for publicly funded schools to teach the national curriculum counters this danger.
Today’s Civitas report warns, however, that with more than 100 private Islamic schools, and many other state-educated pupils receiving extra tuition in weekend or evening madrassa lessons, many Muslim children are being exposed to fundamentalist teaching.
“The schools that give cause for concern are being run by religious fundamentalists,” the report states. “Their aim is to capture the next generation of Muslims for fundamentalism, and to turn children away, not only from Western influence, but also from liberal and secular Muslims, whom they despise perhaps with greater vehemence than non-Muslims.
“Sometimes Muslim parents send their children to sectarian schools knowing what they are getting, but we suspect some parents are simply dissatisfied with the low standards in the local state school and send their children to private Muslim schools only as an escape from the local authority.
“They may be getting more than they bargained for.”
One website extract cited by the report is from the Madani Girls’ School in east London, which is quoted as saying: “Our children are exposed to a culture that is in opposition with almost everything Islam stands for.”
The report describes this as a “bruising comment” that is giving pupils a “negative picture of Western life”. The report also quotes Themina Ahmed, described as the creator of the history curriculum for Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation schools inÂ WalthamstowÂ and Slough,as writing that: “The world will witness the death of the criminal capitalist nation ofÂ AmericaÂ and all other states when the army of jihad is unleashed upon them.”
Other examples include website instructions that pupils should not “waste time” playing cricket, or reading “shameless novels and fiction books” such as the Harry Potter series.
The Association of Muslim Schools said the report was based on flawed research. Dr Mohamed Mukadam, the association’s chairman, said: “The author has pieced together bits of information from the internet. He hasn’t set foot in a single Muslim school or spoken to a teacher or pupil.”
Epic Fail: British Government apologizes for endorsing lesson plans calling for students to think like 7/7 bombers
Hey, now, mass-murderers have feelings too. But it doesn’t mean young students should be encouraged to empathize or identify with them. At best, it’s creepy, and in horrendously poor taste. At worst, it could validate the supposed grievances of the 7/7 bombers in the eyes of students, thus inviting a more passive response to the jihad against Britain in its various forms, and reinforce and reward the feelings of Muslim students who might see themselves following in the bombers’ footsteps.
“UK withdraws controversial terrorism lesson plan,” by Raphael G. Satter for theÂ Associated Press, February 19:
LONDON (AP) â€” Britain’s government apologized Thursday for endorsing a lesson plan which asked students to think like suicide bombers.
Britain’s government-run Teachernet Web site pointed teachers to a lesson plan about the deadly attacks which suggested that students think about the bombings from the perspective of the people who carried them out.
A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families described the site as a “one-stop-shop” for British teachers looking for lesson plans and teaching aids. He acknowledged that the lesson about the bombings was inappropriate for schoolchildren and said it had been pulled from the site.
“We’ve apologized,” he said, speaking anonymously in line with official policy.
The lesson plan, called “Things Do Change,” examines life in multicultural Britain. The focus is on the “golden rule” â€” treating others as you would want to be treated â€” but it also touches on the London bombings, in which four British Muslims killed themselves and 52 others aboard subway cars and a double-decker bus.
Among the lessons’ suggested features was:Â “A brief presentation on the 7/7 bombings from the perspective of the bombers.”
The Times Educational Supplement identified the lesson plan’s author as Sail Suleman and quoted him as saying it was an attempt to get children to think about â€” and challenge â€” extremism.
“Why do young people go out and do what the bombers did?” Suleman was quoted as saying. “Was it pressure from individuals they were hanging out with? Hopefully, we’ll encourage pupils to stay away from those individuals.”
But the teaching material drew anger from those touched by London’s deadliest attack since World War II.
“I can’t see why anyone would think it is a valuable exercise to encourage children to put themselves in the position of men who treated people in such an inhuman way,” Jacqui Putnam, a survivor of the bombings, was quoted in The Daily Telegraph’s Friday edition.