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  • The school that wants to ‘convert’

    by Sunny
    15th February, 2006 at 4:19 am    

    Here at Pickled Politics, we’re against faith-based schools, or atleast an expansion in their numbers since they are not going anywhere for now. So with some interest, I see this article about a Catholic school in Glasgow that is 75% Muslim, and now trying to ‘convert its religion’.

    This is the lot of many Muslim children at non-Muslim schools - and Scotland has not a single state-funded Muslim school. In an effort to change this, Glasgow’s biggest mosques and Muslim organisations formed the Campaign for Muslim Schools last year.

    So far, so interesting. Going from one faith to another doesn’t bother me as much. Then:

    Osama Saeed, a spokesman for the Campaign for Muslim Schools, says it has focused on St Albert’s because it is inappropriate for Muslim children to be roped into Christian observances.

    Saeed has his own blog, so maybe he can tell us how exactly it is “inappropriate”, and if he feels that way, why raise your kids in a Christian country in the first place? To the 75% at that Catholic school it doesn’t seem that inappropriate. He adds:

    “The national policy on faith schools is that, whenever there is a demand from a faith community, there should be a school,” says Saeed, who is also a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain. “Ergo, there should be a Muslim school here.”

    But is there really a demand, or is it that he’s banded together some imams to “generate” demand so they can qualify for some more funding?

    Sultana Maqbol, a sales assistant in East Meets West, a store selling fashionable salwar kameez outfits, is opposed to faith schools. She went to Pollokshields primary, which is non-denominational. “They say children won’t learn about their own beliefs, but parents take them to the mosque all the time anyway,” she says. “My wee nephew goes to St Albert’s and learns about Islam at the mosque.”

    Exactly! Why can’t faith be taught at home? The MAB and its offshoots seem to want to segregate kids even further so young Pakistani kids are only raised around other such kids, pushing them futher into isolation. Isn’t it supposed to be the Muslim Association of Britain?

    And there are further complications:

    It is often forgotten that some 13% of pupils at St Albert’s are Sikh. Newspapers tend to band Sikhs together with Muslims and report that 90% of pupils are Muslim. A Sikh taxi driver says that there is more tension between these communities than there is between the Asian and white populations. “We are not asking for our own schools. Why do they have to?” he asks.

    Yes, there are some tensions, but they are usually borne out of blind prejudice on either side. It’s partly ignorance from the media, and partly the demands of people who want further isolation that makes everything worse.

    If I had my way, I’d make it impossible for any school to take more than 50% from any one single ethnic minority. Unfortunately Tony Blair is way too seduced by faith based schools.
    [hat tip Jay Singh]

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    Filed in: Party politics,Religion

    68 Comments below   |  

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    1. Vikrant — on 15th February, 2006 at 7:43 am  

      Ask Hindus, in India i hear, they posiively love Catholic schools.

    2. Siddharth — on 15th February, 2006 at 8:18 am  

      I was educated in Catholic missionary schools in Bangladesh and India. Then I came to the UK and went to a secular grammar. I’ll tell you that the “faith-based” schools were miles better than the sad, decrepit and moribund school I was sent to in the UK by a long long shot. Going back there is a maudlin affair, whereas going back to see the schools in India and BD as an old boy is a joy.

      The best schools in the UK are still Christian and Jewish schools. Oxbridge is based on the education of Monastic orders.

      The problem with faith-based schools nowadays is that sending your children to one is tantamount to sending them to a low-order all-ethnic inner-city comprehensive. Its signing away their education to a system that has failed the kids and not the other way round. And its because of this perceived segregation of faith-based that will be their offence, and nothing else.

    3. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 9:38 am  

      I would imagine that if the majority of pupils there are non Catholic, that the school is only Catholic in a nominal basic way. And parents can exclude their children from, say assemblies, if they desire to.

      The spokesman for the campaign, the dude with the blog, is a member of the Muslim Association of Britain and he has written an article in the Guardian about the need for a global Islamic caliphate to be set up. Enough said.

      The point about the Sikhs is that no Sikh parent is going to want to send their kid to an Islamic school to be taught Islamic history, Islamic culture, or whatever they teach at a school run by believers in a global Islamic caliphate - it’s just not going to happen. Never. The would be an exodus of the Sikh children from that school if that happened.

      I think there are about two or three Sikh schools and a couple of Hindu schools in London. They are all wrong and should be abolished. I would never send my children to single faith schools. The added dynamic is the separatism they brew in todays already stratified ghettoising society.

    4. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:02 am  

      Some faith schools do well academically. When a school does well academically, clued-up parents who value education want to send their children there. The success of a school becomes a self fulfiling prophecy. The school also becomes oversubscribed

      What happens next is what worries me about faith schools.

      I know a number of people who are desperate to get their kids into the oversubscribed faith school, which is the only good school in their area. All of them have had to start - as a family - going to church every week. One of my colleagues - whose hubby is muslim - is basically giving up her Sunday for Sunday school and church related activities with her child. She has had to do this for a period of 18 months, and when they’ve missed a couple of weeks, the priest has had them in to ‘question their commitment to the Church’. The implication is that, if you skip Church, your kid doesn’t get into the school.

      This is the equivalent of the old Sally Army trick of getting you to say a prayer in return for a bowl of soup. The difference is that the soup is being paid for by you, the taxpayer.

    5. Simon B — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:15 am  


      I’m as against religious schools as you are. In this day and age it is apalling that children are taught religious superstition in state schools.


      “Saeed has his own blog, so maybe he can tell us how exactly it is “inappropriate”, and if he feels that way, why raise your kids in a Christian country in the first place?”

      This is a christian country in name only. A small minority of the population are practising christians. In reality this is a secular country, with the anomolies of an established church and religious state schools.

      If 75% of the students are muslim, it makes more sense for the school to be muslim than catholic. It should, however, be secular.

    6. Col. Mustafa — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:22 am  

      Why not just get rid of the title “Catholic school” and make it a school.
      Surely the whole point is to give your kids the best education they need in the environment they are in.

      The Mosque and parents are there to teach kids about religion like Sunny said.

      Someone should say this to Osama Saeed too.

      How would he as a muslim parent felt if his children were going to a school which was predominantly Sikh?
      And then they wanted to convert the school into a religous Sikh run school.
      Im sure hes not that stubborn to think that this might not segregate certain people.

      So many selfish people around these days with the wrong agenda.

    7. Jai — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:40 am  

      =>”How would he as a muslim parent felt if his children were going to a school which was predominantly Sikh?”

      Actually there are a couple of Sikh schools which, though predominantly Sikh in terms of the composition of their students, do also have people from other faiths too. Even the Head Girl at one of them is a Hindu.

    8. Osama Saeed — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:48 am  

      It’s just not me that thinks it’s “inappropriate” to force children to take observe the rituals of another faith (like forcing non-Muslims to turn towards Mecca to pray 5 times a day). That is also the guidelines of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and also the Scottish Executive - The parents are now working with the church towards a resolution of the mismanagement by the head teacher.

      In terms of a state-funded Muslim school, the article is worng in insinuating we’re insisting on the conversion of that school. In reality we are working with the council in determining a location for a future school.

      All your arguments against faith schools are all very interesting, but they are not going to be abolished any time soon. In that case then, the Muslim community are perfectly entitled to pursue one.

      For more info on the Muslim schools in Scotland see

    9. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:55 am  

      Yeah, but do you think that a faith school will finally bring the restoration of the Caliphate within your grasp?

    10. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:57 am  

      Yeah Osama, when is the Caliphate coming?

    11. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:59 am  

      Oh, what the heck. Now you’re here Osama, it would be nice to know what form your caliphate will take,,1605653,00.html

      What will be the fate of “apostates” in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Caliphate?

      May a woman be the Caliph? Can she be appointed to any ruling position in the Caliphate?

      What about a non-Muslim? Can they hold any senior office of the state under the Caliphate?

      Will non-Muslims be entitled to elect the Caliph?

    12. SajiniW — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

      Faith schools, where all the pupils turn out to be from the same ethnicity, e.g. Sikhs and Hindus are wrong, as children need to be able to mix in a multi-cultural environment.

    13. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:02 pm  

      I agree with you Sajini!

    14. Col. Mustafa — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

      But are those Sikhs asking for a religious Sikh school Jai?

      I remember my school when i was younger. It wasn’t a Catholic school but we would have assemblies where many hymns and prayers were sung in unison.

      It was a mix between Christian and Jewish hymns.
      It didn’t mean much to me as i was so young, but i always knew about my own religion as my parents and extended family did thier part in educating me about being muslim.

      So i can understand what Omar is saying that the Catholic school already in place does choose to practice certain things, so what difference would it make if it were a muslim run school instead?

      I don’t know for sure what difference it would make, but going on other muslim run schools it wouldn’t be the best education for the children in the environment that they eventually have to lead thier lives in.

      I don’t see why it can’t be a muslim run school but also teach about all religions.
      But my main problem is that the school should put religion 2nd and education first.
      And i don’t know what methods of teaching are going to be used in a muslim run school.

    15. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:12 pm  

      Col Mustafa

      As far as I know there are two Sikh schools in London. Neither of them were converted from previously secular or Christian schools simply because of force of numbers. They were both purpose built.

    16. Don — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

      I absolutely agree that faith based schools can only have a negative effect on society, (my own particular bugbear is the Vardy foundation, with it’s creationist, anti-gay agenda), but there are problems in getting rid of them - quite apart from Rev. Blair’s infatuation.

      As Sid and others pointed out, some faith based schools provide a far superior education, but this is usually due to factors such as the ability to select and exclude beyond that of secular schools, and the fact that they can more or less make up their own terms and conditions. Also, there are many nominally faith based schools which have been around for centuries, where the religious aspect has evolved into custom and tradition and which are in fact inclusive. Can’t see anyone messing with Durham Choristers, for example. (By the way, didn’t Rohin go to one of these posh fancy-schmancy public schools?)

      However, the biggest problem is that if a community can get it’s act together, it can set up it’s own schools completely outside state scrutiny. And if that doesn’t happen, people have the right to ‘home school’ their kids. We should certainly oppose exclusivist religious schools, but bear in mind that the option to drop out of the system altogether is available.

    17. Jai — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

      Col Mustafa,

      I don’t know the specific details of the various Sikh schools concerned, except for the fact that anyone from any religious/ethnic background is welcome to be a student there, and apparently the level of teaching is good. Also, Sikhism isn’t an “exclusive” faith so there isn’t any dogmatic pressure on non-Sikhs to convert, plus Sikhism doesn’t have any “Caliphate”-type aspirations, so that angle isn’t there either.

      As far as I know, the basis is for children to get a good education in a safe and healthy environment, ie. the schools may be run according to Sikh principles but education is the paramount objective.

      It’s not exactly the Sikh equivalent of a “madrassa” ;)

    18. Petals just fell from heaven — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

      All single faith schools should be demolished. They just create further integration problems in the future.

      A collegue of mine she went to a strict catholic sch and she found it difficult to integrate fully with individuals of other faiths. Even now at work (a multicultural melting point) she genuinely finds it difficult at time.
      I’m not using her example to illustrate that all single faith educated children share the same experience.

      I spent a few years at a girls boarding school, worse experience ever.

    19. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

      Here is the website for the one Sikh school I am a little familiar with:

      Guru Nanak School Hayes

      From their curriculum page:

      Children in Year l to year 6 study the National Curriculum.They are taught the ‘core’ subjects of English, mathematics and science, and the ‘foundation’ subjects of history, geography, music, art and design, design and technology, information and communication technology and
      physical education. Religious education is also taught in all classes. Opportunity is also given to the children to study Punjabi/Sikh studies.

      And the religious aspect:

      We aim to give the children knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices so that they may continue in their own belief whilst at the same time respecting those of other people. The school follows the RE Agreed Syllbus as adopted by the LEA. In addition, all children are taught a weekly lesson of Sikh studies. Assemblies play an important part in developing the ethos and community spirit within the school. They are broadly Sikh (recitation of Japji Sahib, Shabads, Ardas& Hukamnama), but include stories and messages from a wide range of cultures, religions and faiths.


      You know, the point Don makes is a good one. Better to have these schools in the state system so they can be INSPECTED and it can be ensured that the children are being taught about other religions and that they accord with the national curriculum.

    20. Petals just fell from heaven — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

      Sikh sch esp. sikh colleges are open to students of other faiths, however the ethos of education is built around sikhism.
      Similarly, Roman catholic schs are open to student of all faiths.

      Whereas Muslim, Jewish & Hindu schs cater exclusively for students of those faiths.

    21. Jai — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

      Just as an addendum to my previous post, I do agree with the concerns people have about single-faith schools with regards to potential problems with integration and interaction with the rest of society. It’s the same thing that sometimes happens when people go to schools and/or universities with a very high Asian population and, subsequently, the issues which arise with regards to securing a job in (for example) a white-majority company/industry, the ability to successfully pursue a career within that sector. If one doesn’t have extensive experience in interacting with people from a different background as oneself, then there are certain problems that can arise in terms of interpersonal skills, teamworking, and so on.

    22. Col. Mustafa — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

      Thanx Jay Singh and Jai.

      Thats how they should be, teach everything within the curriculum as well as anything extra to do with thier religion or other religions.

      But it shouldn’t be about the religion, cos thats when it goes wrong.
      However im not saying there’s no problems with the current education system in the first place.

      The DON is right that they should be state schools as well.

      I just have an idea of what will happen if its a muslim faith based school, and i know its not good.
      By all means they can prove everyone wrong; but ill wait.

    23. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

      Col Mustafa

      I am against them all - whatever religion they teach. I really think it is vital that everyone mixes in todays society.

      But you have to be realistic and if they are going to exist, they should be MONITORED and made sure that they observe the national curriculum and all the rest of it - tolerance and respect. In fact, it will be good in all religious schools to teach children about secular principles of the state. If non religious schools have to teach RE then religious school children should be taught the principles of secular society.

      I am most worried about children growing up and not being friends with anyone apart from those of their own faith. This is wrong.

    24. Bijna — on 15th February, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

      There are a few Muslim schools in the Netherlands.
      One teacher wrote a book about her experiences.
      The book is titled “Haram”, which apparantly is
      the most frequently used word there.

    25. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

      Osama - cheers for explaining your thoughts a bit more. David T/Jay - let’s not get into the global caliphate business. I see that sometimes as a bit silly. Hey, even Sikhs say ‘Raaj karega Khalsa’, that doesn’t imply they’re out to subjugate people under Sikhism ;)

      I agree that faith schools are not going to be abolished anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I support their expansion either.

      The question is, on what basis do you determine that a faith school is “needed”? There are other people from your community, as mentioned there, who say that it is not necessarily needed.

      Don’t you worry about the impact it might have on the students themselves, who end up just alienating themselves from society even further? Or maybe thats your goal?

      towards a resolution of the mismanagement by the head teacher.

      mis-management in what way exactly? The article doesn’t imply any of that.

    26. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

      I see that sometimes as a bit silly.

      Oh, it is very silly.

      It is entirely proper to ask Osama about the Caliphate which he hopes to create because - and here’s the clue - he has written an article in the Guardian calling for the restoration of the Caliphate.

      It is also right to ask what form that Caliphate would take. His article is pretty light on details.

      However, I have read sufficient material produced by the Muslim Association of Britain, and the Muslim Brotherhood - which is, in fact, what the Muslim Association of Britain is, to know that Osama’s political goal is not some kind of liberal common market. For example, the Muslim Association of Britain published this essay, by their officer, Azzam Tamimi:

      Dr Azzam Tamimi’s musing - on page 4 - on the nature of apostasy and its appropriate punishment was thought a trifle impolitic:

      Any discussion of the freedom of faith in Islam must raise the question of riddah (apostasy). The classical definition of riddah is ‘the voluntary and conscious reversion to kufr (disbelief) after having embraced Islam by denying any of its fundamentals in matters of ‘aqidah (faith), Shari’ah (law) or sha’irah (rite), such as the denial of Deity or Prophethood, or the licensing of prohibititions or the negation of obligations.’

      There are two Muslim schools of jurisprudence on the matter. The first school, to which most classical jurists belonged, considers riddah a religious offence punishable by death. The second considers riddah a political offence that has nothing to do with ‘the Islamic guarantee of a person’s right to freedom of faith.’ So, riddah in this case is not apostasy but sedition, an act of mutiny or treason, that is punishable within the framework of the authority’s responsibility for preserving the community and maintaining law and order.”

      He’s serious about this. This is what he wants a Caliphate to do.

      Now, of course, I might be very wrong. Perhaps the MAB/Muslim Brotherhood is seeking to create an equal opportunities Caliphate, in which non Muslims and women can vote and be elected to high offices of state, and so on. But I’m not, am I?

      The MAB/Muslim Brotherhood is campaigning for the establishment of a state which practices theocratically based apartheid on a grand scale.

      Letting somebody like Osama Saeed within a mile of schools policy is akin to getting Nick Griffin involved in creating a school for Aryan Worshipers of the Great God Odin.

    27. Col. Mustafa — on 15th February, 2006 at 1:44 pm  

      “The book is titled “Haram”, which apparantly is
      the most frequently used word there.”


      Assembly starts~


      Why are you running in the hall for??
      Don’t you know its HARAMMMMMMMMMMMM.

      Don’t say haram in a nasty way little abdul; ITS HARAMMMMMM.

    28. Bijna — on 15th February, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

      For example a child made a drawing of flowers.
      Some1 of the school board, effectively religious police,
      saw a cross shape in the drawing.
      Crosses are haram so the drawing was torn.

    29. Col. Mustafa — on 15th February, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

      hehehehe, what are children supposed to learn from that?

      The child drew something and then he hears it HARAMMM and his lovely painting which he probably spent a fair bit of time on gets torn up.

      Hes a kid, he probably thinks hes done something really bad.

      This isn’t how children should be taught; they should be encouraged to use thier budding little creative minds at that age,
      Obviously within boundaries, but that takes the piss.

    30. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

      To be honest David, what people fantasise about doing back in their ‘homeland’ is not of concern to me. This country is full of Asian fantasists planning a Khalistan, or a Hindu raj, or a Caliphate when in reality they’re never likely to leave this place….. because they can’t stand being in those countries for two long.

      I’m more interested in what is going on in this country, which is why I think that debate is silly. People are allowed to devise whatever fantasy they want to and draw up manifestos for that.

    31. Bijna — on 15th February, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      There will be a Caliphate as Muslims get a lot of children.
      But it will be based on democracy, as that is the most stable dictatorship.

    32. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

      But this is a relevant issue, isn’t it?

      A faith school in the United Kingdom that is run by the equivalent of nice liberal pluralist Anglicans will provide a very different sort of education than one run by - say - Dr Ian Paisley, won’t it.

      And the Muslim Brotherhood are the Ian Paisleys of the religious world.

      I’m opposed to sectarian education in any case, as you are. But what makes people especially nervy about muslim schools is the thought that they won’t be run by a Badawi-like figure, but by fascist scum like the Muslim Brotherhood. What the Muslim Brotherhood are interested in creating is a wholly illiberal apartheid state, which systematically disenfranchises non-Muslim minorities and which entrenches gender inequality as a matter of law.

      This isn’t their “little fantasy”. This is the state that the Muslim Brotherhood is working to create.

      And even if it never gets there, do you think that an organisation which thinks that Muslims who lose their faith should executed, should be given a say in the education of children?

      Don’t kid yourself about the nature of this organisation, or its political goals.

    33. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 2:19 pm  


      Read Osama’s blog and his articles in the Guardian - he writes about how he wants to establish the Caliphate. It’s not in the slightest bit silly.

    34. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

      What David T @ # 32

    35. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

      New Abu Ghraib photos are out check BBC news - these are even more depraved than the ones previously published.

    36. Jai — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

      =>”Hey, even Sikhs say ‘Raaj karega Khalsa’, that doesn’t imply they’re out to subjugate people under Sikhism”

      No, for the following reasons:

      1. Sikhs are not supposed to fight to gain territory or acquire power, certainly not if it involves subjugating people from other backgrounds. Sikhs are also not supposed to spread the religion by force; the aim, ideally, is to be a decent person and live according to Sikh principles within whatever society you may happen to reside — NOT to overthrow the rulers and associated governmental system and thereby impose your own religion on everyone “from the top downwards”.

      2. “Raj Karega Khalsa” is actually part of a longer verse by Guru Gobind Singh, and is a prophecy which basically translates as “the pure/righteous shall rule, no opposition will remain, and those who had straight from the right path will return to God’s shelter”. The word “Khalsa” — which translates as “pure” but also “belonging to God” (derived from the Mughal Persian term “Khalsa” referring to territory directly belonging to the Emperor) — in this instance doesn’t necessarily refer just to Sikhs, but to righteous people everywhere. It’s basically an optimistically-minded prediction that, at some point, the world will eventually be ruled by genuinely benevolent people — so there is indeed still hope for the human race as a whole.

      There is therefore no religiously-derived mandate for “the world belonging to Sikhs first and foremost”.

      The problem, unfortunately, is that some interpretations of certain other religions have different ideas, hence the whole “caliphate” aspiration.

    37. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:05 pm  


    38. Jai — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

      =>”those who had straight from the right path”

      typo, that should read “STRAYED from the right path”

    39. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:19 pm  

      Well, cheers for clearing that up Jai, but I’d still rather focus on this Scottish example or at least on the MAB’s tactics in the UK rather than their Middle Eastern designs. What the Arabs want do is of little concern to me… what the MAB wants to do here, and how its going about it is of more concern.

    40. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:41 pm  


      It is about the extremities of aim and design which ring warning bells. The BNP aim to have an all white country. The BNP’s aims and designs are essentially lunatic - they will never be achieved. Similarly, the MAB’s aims will never be achieved, they are lunatic. But the aspirations shapes the politics - and the politics of caliphatists in the UK should be subject to the same scrutiny that you would subject the BNP to on a micro level, precisely because you know what their beliefs, goals and aspirations are, unrealistic, nasty and unattainable as they are.

    41. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

      Well, the United Kingdom Muslim Association of Britiain spokesman Azam Tamimi appeared on telly expressing his desire to become a suicide bomber. The MAB as a whole repeatedly endorses suicide bombing, and their ‘spiritual leader’, Qaradawi is the author of rulings which legitimate suicide bombing by women - who, he stresses, are allowed the exceptional dispensation of going to conduct suicide bombings unaccompanied by a chaperone, and if needs be, without a hijab.

      Do you think that people like that, and the organisations which they represent, should have any role in running schools?

    42. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

      Or is your point “as long as they encourage suicide bombings in another country, that’s no concern of ours”.

      That was appara what MI5 told Abu Hamza ;)

    43. BevanKieran — on 15th February, 2006 at 4:23 pm

      At the end of the above article, the performances of two private Islamic schools are referred to. The Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury, Yorkshire and Darul Uloom in Kent. In the first school 9% of children obtain five GCSE’s graded A-C while in the second school the whole curriculum was taught in Arabic and Urdu. One of the greatest contributors to alienation and segregation is a crappy education. The government’s plan to “nationalise” these faith schools might address some of these issues.

      With regards to extremism, no member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb etc (as I think the case is with the B.N.P) should be allowed to teach. It is the easiest (though crude) way of stopping the spread of caliphatitis/virulent racism into schools.

    44. j0nz — on 15th February, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

      I think this is great idea. More kids as young as five can learn the concept of Jihad at school. This will bring the UK’s Muslim population in line with Middle Eastern standards.

      Education, education, education.

    45. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 4:40 pm  

      David - I remember the recent furore over the BNP person who was fired from his job within the immigration dept or something. I’m not an MAB fan obviously, but the point is that if they follow rules laid down by other independent bodies, and assuming they ain’t doing the teaching themselves, then I’d find it difficult to deny them that right… no?

      I’m more concerned about the fact that people like Osama think that by getting kids into such ghettoised schools will help them do well in the future. Might as well take a gun and shoot your own foot. The policy seems more about forcing people into religion rather than looking after their wellbeing.

    46. Steve M — on 15th February, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

      David T, your point about Church schools requiring the family to be regular church goers is a valid one. In fact, my Catholic born wife and I (a Jew) were considering attending the local parish church just so that we could get our oldest son into the only decent school in the area.

      However, when we enquired further we were told that the school would be open to children of Jewish or Catholic parents - as long as they were regular attenders in either the local synagogue or Catholic church, any religion being better than no religion.

      As it happened we moved to a different area so none of it mattered. Our son’s new school (C of E) received an excellent Ofsted report and the only area of criticism was:

      “However, ways of preparing them for the
      diversity and range of ethnicity and traditions in modern multicultural Britain are not strong
      enough.” - Ofsted report

      As I’m probably ‘the only Jew in the village’ and there are no other members of ethnic minorities to speak of, they seemed quite keen to accept our boy.

    47. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 4:56 pm  


      Should BNPers be employed in the immigration department?! I mean, aren’t we in the same territory as alcoholics being put in charge of pubs. Or child molesters becoming PE teachers!

      Osama think that by getting kids into such ghettoised schools will help them do well in the future. Might as well take a gun and shoot your own foot. The policy seems more about forcing people into religion rather than looking after their wellbeing.

      Well, that’s the rationale of the Muslim Brotherhood shot to hell.

    48. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

      Steve M

      I think everybody should be an Anglican.

      Actually, most people are.

    49. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 5:10 pm  

      = No doctrine
      = nice buildings
      = men wearing dresses with silly ‘sing song’ voices
      = good hymns
      = wishy washy liberal politics
      = no requirement actually to believe in God

    50. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

      And the Vicar of Dibley.

    51. Steve M — on 15th February, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

      Ok I’m sold. Where do I sign up?

      Does anyone remember the classic sketch about devil worship being ‘ok’ with the Anglicans? Was it Smith & Jones?

    52. Steve M — on 15th February, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

      Apparently it was ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’. Mel Smith portrayed a ‘trendy’ vicar who commented that too many churches say “Get thee behind me Satan” when they should be saying “Come on in Lucifer me old mate”.

    53. David T — on 15th February, 2006 at 5:28 pm  

      ARE YOU MOCKING A PROPHET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????!!!!!!?!?!?

      ect ect ect

    54. Garry — on 15th February, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

      Totally agree Sunny. It just seems simple common sense that children should be educated together and not segregated. To do otherwise is just to perpetuate an “us and them” attitude towards people of other beliefs and cultures.

      I just don’t get Blair’s desire for more faith schools. He might just as well argue for a more divisive society.

    55. Checks and balances — on 15th February, 2006 at 8:05 pm  

      Petals from heavens says: “Whereas Muslim, Jewish & Hindu schs cater exclusively for students of those faiths.”

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but the UK does not even have a state-funded Hindu school. One has tentatively been approved to open by 2008 and haven’t read anything about it being limited to Hindus exclusively.

      According to a news article: “At the moment, alongside more than 6,000 Church of England and Catholic state schools in the country, there are 45 Jewish, five Islamic, two Sikh, one Greek Orthodox and one Seventh Day Adventist school in the UK.”

    56. El Cid — on 15th February, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

      I feel a long and controversial post coming on.

    57. El Cid — on 15th February, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

      It would be hypocritical of me to criticise muslims wanting a moslem school, as my children go to a catholic school.
      It might surprise you to know that my reasons for insisting that my children go to a faith-based school aren’t purely academic.
      Sure, the school happens to be above-average for the borough, but then that is hardly an achievement when your borough is consistently in the country’s bottom 10 for exam passes (as are my neighbouring 2 boroughs).
      There are also plenty of rubbish faith-based schools around the country. It’s not as if children from state-run catholic and church of England schools go on to dominate the top universities or run the country — lets not kid ourselves, coz we all know which schoolchildren do that.
      Basically, I like the fact my children are being given a moral code and are following some of the traditions that go with that. I like the genuine sense of community you get with the school, the fact parents care, attend summer fetes and carol concerts, talk to each other, etc. I also agree with Blair that faith-based schools can help raise standards, while adhering to an agreed national curriculum.
      The school is also very multinational - there are Spanish, Colombian, Peruvian, Nigerian, Ghanian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Jamaican kids there as well as English and Irish.
      The way I see it, it is better to receive a moral code that you can judge and criticise and even dump when you are older, than to grow up in a moral vaccuum — a particular speciality of inner-city schools. Everything I’ve heard spouted at my kid’s school to date is not only harmless but worthy, even if couched in the language of a religion (appreciate the wonder of life, think about others less fortunate than you, love your fellow man, that sort of stuff, etc)
      I still tell my kids that we evolved from chimpanzees, about the big bang, and so forth, but shrug my shoulders when they ask me about what came before the big bang.
      In any case, I was brought up a catholic. It’s my family’s culture. We do the whole baptism thing, have priests pray over us at our burials, light candles when thinking of someone who has passed away, want our marriage blessed — all that mularky.
      The exception was in my schooling. I went to some really rubbish secular schools. And it is precisely because of my experience there that I have a slightly positive view of faith-based schools.
      I say slightly because my children will go to secular secondary schools. I want them to mix with children of other faiths. But first I want them to know who they are.

    58. Petals just fell from heaven — on 15th February, 2006 at 8:59 pm  

      Checks and Balance matey would like to know where u got those stats from?

    59. Siddharth — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:07 pm  

      I loved the Jesuits priests who taught me. There was something about the homoerotic quality of the camaraderie they bestowed on the school that was strangely nurturing. As was also the displaced maternal feelings heaped on the school by the lovely nuns.

      Beats getting taught by a bunch of under-achieving misanthropes and all their passive aggression (well documented by Morrisey in Headmaster’s Ritual) that passed for teachers in English schooldays.

    60. Siddharth — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:09 pm  

      er, my English schooldays, that is.

    61. Checks and balances — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:10 pm  

      I got the story about the first state-funded Hindu school from The Guardian. The statistics are from at

      They didn’t cite where they got those figures from.

    62. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:16 pm  

      Petals - he is right. We did the story on the Hindu school being given permission, just search. That will open in a few years time.

      El Cid - yeah I see your point. Moral code is one thing, but I draw the line at almost cutting them off from society, which is what happens when you get too many ethnics in one place. Bloody southall is a good example alone.

    63. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:18 am  

      Hmmn, interesting case. So a catholic school that has a mostly muslim intake is under pressure to change its entire ethos. A good test for a multi-cultural society, this one.

      Christian faith-based schools here in Asia have a solid tradition in education, as people like Sid pointed out. In fact, in my part of the world, such is the trust in them that you’d find a much larger proportion of minorities there than in the state schools.No one (certainly not muslims) worries that a bit of hymn singing is going to convert their kids and there is always the option to opt out if you’re not xtian. Like the Sikh parents quoted in the article, many non-xtian parents have no qualms at all about x-tian faith schools.
      However there is no corresponding muslim tradition in education except for madrassa type establishments (I talking Asia but this is true for the Uk too, I guess) and such places have always been mono-racial and religiously exclusive over here. Combined with abysmal academic achievements in national exams, stringent dresscodes, subjects in the curriculum like arabic or koran recitation (understandably useless for non-muslims) and a school ethos that’s mostly geared towards producing potential Al-aqsa graduates, it is hardly surprising that the VAST majority of muslim parents and NONE of the non-muslim parents see them as viable options for their kids. The convenience of having religious instruction under one roof is not enough (for muslim parents) to pick a muslim school over a secular/xtian school. All the muslim kids I know have religious instruction at home or the mosque after school hours and I’ve never heard of that being any kind of hardship and anyway that is same for the non-muslim kids too. I mention this because that seems the main focus of the muslim parents(appears to be a minority) in this particular case , who do want a muslim school. It seems that they’d quite like the teachers/management to stay on, take away the crucifixes , put up a few pics of Mecca , have arabic and koran classes on the curriculum and maybe a more islamic dresscode. Very confused and selfish motives on the part of the parents, and of course the caliphatist shit stirrers. I don’t think that they will succeed but that is not the point, just that the move to poach the school is extremely divisive and one most likely to backfire on the muslim community.

    64. Osama Saeed — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:47 am  

      Sunny, brief answer to your questions earlier.

      One of the points in a roadmap to a Muslim school is further demonstrating to the council there is a demand. That will involve direct commitments by parents. You will always get people that disagree. There are hundreds of Catholic schools in Scotland but if you went into a local shop you would get plenty of Catholics that hate them. The central point of demand is whether you can fill a school. Undoubdtedly that is the case and more will be revealed on this shortly.

      In terms of alienation, we are not at year zero. Muslims have been in the state system as it currently stands for 30-40 years. We have the worst educational attainment of any faith group. This leads to further social problems later. We also suffer weighty levels of Islamophobia. This suggests to me that schools do not form part of this equation. For more see However, the Scottish Executive have announced twinning plans for those still concerned

      This is a seperate point to the problem at St Albert’s. The article doesn’t mention mismanagement, no. But if the school was providing the correct rights to those who don’t want to participate in Mass, then either 1) there should be different classes within the school or 2) they should be able to go home at that time. The fact that the school’s policy is not clear after over a year of parents trying to find a resolution to this shows a botched job by the head teacher. We also know that her solution to this a few months ago was having children face the wall for that hour of Mass. Imagine the outcry if Muslims were enforcing this regime.

      About the Caliphate, I don’t have the time nor energy to go into it here. It’s a million miles away - blue sky thinking. I don’t get up in the morning and think about it. David T clearly does though. He misrepresented my views on his blog at the time of that Guardian article and continues to do so. My views are set forth in it for people to read. It was a response to what people like Bush, Blair and Charles Clarke were saying about it at the time.

    65. Clairwil — on 17th February, 2006 at 12:04 am

      From the article in the above link it would seem that most parents are quite happy with St Alberts as it is and are perfectly happy to take care of their childrens religious instruction at home. Personally I don’t see why the state should be obliged to pay for faith schools, religion being a private matter for the individual. However whilst they continue to fund Catholic schools, I don’t see how they can reasonably object to funding Muslim schools.

    66. Sunny — on 17th February, 2006 at 12:51 am  

      Clairwil - my point exactly. I would rather the state did not fund faith schools, but if they exist then it should still force them to adhere to certain standards and be open for inspection etc.

      While they exist, I don’t objct to Muslim schools per se, but they more liable to make youngesters even more isolated from other races and religions. The MAB campaign doesn’t look very democratic. I wonder if they actually surveyed the local Muslim community to ask if they wanted a Muslim school.

    67. Shuggy — on 17th February, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

      Bit late to this thread but just to add: I’ve taught in Catholic schools in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire and can confirm it is generally not the practice to compel students to attend religious services, although I can’t comment on this particular case.

      I’d have to say that while I too am very strongly opposed to religious schools, in the context of the present system that allows religious segregation, Muslims should have about nine primary schools in Scotland but at present they have none.

      However, why anyone - looking at the West of Scotland’s history - can possibly think that more segregated schooling is a good idea is completely beyond me.

    68. low cost health insurance option — on 7th April, 2006 at 6:48 pm  

      I love the last post! Do you have a rss feed to subscribe to? Let me know :-) I added you to my internet favorites for now

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