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  • Civitas endorses mind control over Muslims

    by Sunny
    20th February, 2009 at 11:35 pm    

    A lot of right-wingers complain about ‘political correctness gone mad’. According to them, lefties are collectively guilty of trying to impose their thoughts, values etc on the rest of society. In fact the “think-tank” (and I’d use that phrase loosely) Civitas once even published a pamphlet by former journalist Anthony Browne which was essentially a badly written rant against political correctness that was full of distortions.

    Now, Civitas has a new publication out on some nasty things they found at Muslim schools. Well, anything to get media hits these days I guess… the credit crunch must be affecting the think-tanks too. Let’s be clear, if my kid was at such a school, whether Muslim, Sikh or Hindu, I’d personally kick the teacher in the nuts and send my child to somewhere that had better standards. In fact, I wouldn’t send my child to a religious school anyway. But, you know, it’s a free society. Oh I forgot. When it comes to British Muslims it isn’t exactly a free society. We want free speech, when it’s cursing Muslims, but when they criticise us then we must absolutely demand they stop! Civitas recommends:

    Imams and preachers currently associated with schools as principals, sponsors, trustees etc. must be vetted for fundamentalist tendencies. If the views they hold are opposed to the basic values of British society, their role in schools must be restricted or terminated. If someone is incapable in conscience of teaching loyalty to Britain and love for the majority of its citizens, their competence as educationalists must be called into question.

    Here we go again. Of course, let’s shut down faith schools. But who’s going to tell the Church of England? The Vatican? If you can’t do that, then force the Muslims to teach British values at their school! Will Catholic school teachers be forced to teach children that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable? Civitas was curiously silent.

    Meanwhile, a blogger at the we stand for liberty and against mind control blog Harry’s Place endorsed this Orwellian enforced teaching of “British values”. No surprise there then. Liberty, If It Means Anything, Is The Right To Tell Muslims What We Want Them To Hear.

    See, I was under the impression this whole democracy and free speech malarky was about the right for people to say or teach whatever they wanted within the law, however disgusting others found it. But as I pointed out in my recent column on CIF, these so-called defenders of free speech don’t really believe in what they advocate. They only use it as a stick to beat minorities.

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    Filed in: Current affairs,Media,Religion,Terrorism

    30 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Jess — on 21st February, 2009 at 12:41 am  

      “according to them, lefties are collectively guilty of trying to impose their thoughts, values etc on the rest of society”

      Heh. Actually, that’s pretty accurate :-) But, y’know, in a good way…

      The idea of teachers trying to teach loyalty is really creepy. They’re meant to teach critical thinking skills; loyalty to the country is surely the polar opposite.

    2. fug — on 21st February, 2009 at 12:44 am  

      I really wish think tankers were committed to/involved in grass-roots social change, and would work with people and institutions as they found them. Instead they simply wave their aloof-white-ghetto-oxbridge arses at themselves after a good days googling for shortterm self-gratification

      and the method of istitutional analysis? Interpretation of language on websites.

    3. Leon — on 21st February, 2009 at 12:54 am  

      You know Sunny there’s only so far you can take your current war with HP before continuing to link to them as a ‘Comrade’ will start to look a little…odd.

    4. douglas clark — on 21st February, 2009 at 1:10 am  

      I know this is fundamentally different from your approach.

      I do not agree at all with the idea that there should be religious schools.

      Where I come from, the West of Scotland, we have division based on Catholic Schools and what are described as Non-Denominational schools, y’know, for the rest of us. My Primary School chum, a chap called Howard Singerman, shared one of these linked together desks with me. And when it came to the Christian stuff he was allowed out! He didn’t have to sit through the agenda, all of which I forget. I think I was just jealous, although wandering around the playground on your own wouldn’t have been much fun.

      But it gets worse, division of folk at a young age is a catalyst for tribalism.

      The lads in my school, secondary by that time, had determined on zero evidence, that if you wanted to get a leg over then the lassies from the Catholic school were a better bet. This was simply distance lending enchantment, and for most of us at least an excuse for failing with the women in our school. My, few, Catholic mates said that their chums said the same about our lot.

      Confusion reigned, especially for me, as I wasn’t getting anywhere at all with the mono trousered sect.

      So what am I saying?

      I am saying that the whole concept of religious schools is ridiculous. It is a fart in the face of our common humanity and that it is the last place where indoctrination should be allowed.

      That is what I am saying.

      Keep religion out of education, just get on with your life…

    5. Katy Newton — on 21st February, 2009 at 1:26 am  

      Sunny - I don’t want to be rude, but my personal opinion is that these stupid spats between HP and PP are only making both sides look a bit juvenile. I appreciate that there’s someone on there who keeps trying to wind you up, but you might give some thought to taking the high ground and ignoring it rather than descending into the playground yourself.

      This post is an interesting one. I don’t think it’s a freedom of speech issue myself. The question is not whether these teachers should have a platform for their views, it’s whether a school should be that platform, and the tension between a parent’s right to educate their child as they see fit, the child’s right to a proper education as opposed to one that fetters his learning, and the public interest in not raising children to hate/fear/despise whole sections of the society that they live in.

    6. Chris Baldwin — on 21st February, 2009 at 1:33 am  

      “If someone is incapable in conscience of teaching loyalty to Britain and love for the majority of its citizens”

      I don’t remember the teachers at my school teaching me to be loyal to Britain. How does one teach that anyway? And “love for the majority of its citizens”? Give me a break. All that pledge of allegiance, salute the flag stuff they have in America didn’t stop the Weather Underground, did it?

    7. Sunny — on 21st February, 2009 at 1:47 am  

      lol, Jess… ssshhh!!!! You’re not meant to tell anyone!

      douglas - I’m not in favour of faith schools either to be honest. But then my brother is… so there you go. Unfortunately, due to entrenched, vested interests, I doubt they’re going anywhere soon.

      The question is not whether these teachers should have a platform for their views,

      Huh? And who is to decide that? Civitas? I’m not in favour of these views either, but then its equally arguable that parliamentarians should not be providing hate-mongers like Wilders a platform. Plenty of people defended his right though.

      So I’m interested in the dynamic on who is allowed to offer a platform, and what criteria they use for that.

    8. Refresh — on 21st February, 2009 at 1:53 am  

      Katy, I am sorry the HP issue is fundamental. They do need to be countered.

    9. Refresh — on 21st February, 2009 at 2:04 am  

      Leon, yes I agree. I wonder if they ever were a ‘Comrade’. I really do.

      Cast them adrift I say.

    10. Sunny — on 21st February, 2009 at 2:26 am  

      Whoa, I just realised I hadn’t even linked The F Word (even though I’m blogging there too!). Shameful, and now rectified.

      Have also added Ta-Nehisi Coates to the blogroll. The guy is excellent

    11. Leon — on 21st February, 2009 at 3:23 am  

      Cast them adrift I say.

      I would shed no tear over their passing…

    12. douglas clark is right — on 21st February, 2009 at 6:06 am  

      Ensuring an equal standard of education for every child regardless of ethnic or religious background ought to be a no-brainer for left-wingers. Yes - if it were your child Sunny you’d remove him/her and send them elsewhere. But what if you were a bit of a fundy? Sure - your kid would more than likely be twisted regardless from Sunday School or the equivalent (and you have every right as a parent to indoctrinate them into your faith of choice), but the government ensuring the little blighter has a shot at a secular education for at least 6 hours a day is hardly “mind-control”. It’s not a freedom of speech issue either - parents have 18 hours a day (plus weekends) to drag their kids to whichever religious institution to be taught or instructed however they see fit.

      Yes, the Civitas report is exclusively anti-Muslim and doesn’t consider your (good) point about Catholicism and homosexuality, for example. But trying to suck HP into this is a bit daft as from comments I’ve read the majority of posters (if not all) are opposed to religious schooling in general.

      From the HP post you link:

      But, as Brett points out today regarding the situation in American schools, the real answer to problems of this nature is that we need to keep religion out of the classroom. We should not have a situation in which education is not the same for all. Education should not be delivered along religious lines and ‘faith’ has no place in the classroom. There is plenty of time for religious instruction and religious activities outside of school hours. We need one education system for all the children in this country, so that we know that every child comes away with the same level of knowledge and has the same opportunities.

      Which essentially boils down to (if you read the previous post by Brett about Christian fundies in the US) separating education and faith of all flavours. Thus your point about shutting down CofE and Catholic schools would be very much in agreement with what both HP posters are saying Sunny.

    13. Katy Newton — on 21st February, 2009 at 8:15 am  

      Huh? And who is to decide that? Civitas?

      I don’t understand what you mean. Civitas doesn’t “decide” things. They’re a think tank. Think tanks churn out papers for people to argue about.

      As for viewing Fitna, there’s a difference between adults watching it and children being “taught” what it says, wouldn’t you say? I watched it on Youtube. That means I offered Wilders a platform. I listened to what he had to say (and I thought it was bollocks). I’m an adult with an independent brain and I was taught to think critically. But I’d be up in arms if I thought that his film was being shown in schools to brainwash kids into thinking that that was the truth about Islam. That’s the difference.

    14. Katy Newton — on 21st February, 2009 at 8:18 am  

      Katy, I am sorry the HP issue is fundamental. They do need to be countered.

      I would think that the best way to counter them would be to go over there and point out why what they’re saying is wrong there, not sit over here bitching about them.

    15. Refresh — on 21st February, 2009 at 8:54 am  

      Katy, I wish it was so. They’ve been doing it for far too long. In any case they are politically motivated.

      It would be bitching if the differences were petty.

    16. blah — on 21st February, 2009 at 9:56 am  

      What struck me about the report was how badly written and contradictory it appeared. Its basically a hatchet job - it opposes Muslims (uniquely) having their own schools so tries and finds ways of demonising these schools. It does this not by criticising what is actually taught at the schools but by links from the schools websites and assuming everything written on those sites is approved of by the schools. Does say PP agree with or is it responsible everything written on the sites it links to ? The idea is absurd.

      As Dr Mohamed Mukadam 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.”

      Finally and perhaps most importantly is the reports author Denis MacEoin someone who admits to being openly hostile to Islam”

      “I was not taught by Muslim teachers at any stage of my career. I do not hold a brief for Islam. On the contrary, I have very negative feelings about it, but still try to appreciate those elements that elevate it (such as the finer forms of Sufism, the poetry, the architecture, and the belief in material simplicity over greed).”

      ” I am not left-wing, but consider myself politically liberal, which means I support things like democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and so on. Much of my unhappiness with Islam derives from precisely those convictions. I am pro-Israeli and involve myself in the defence of Israel, especially against Islamic terrorism and anti-Semitism.”

    17. Ed — on 21st February, 2009 at 12:10 pm  

      If they are private schools then i don’t know why anyone else should care.

      But HP is not alone. Maajid Nawaz, of the Quilliam Foundation, the current governments favourite “Moderate Muslim” outfit, backs the report -

      “Moderate Muslims yesterday said it was right that the encouragement of religious hatred in schools was exposed.

      Maajid Nawaz, director of the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank set up to counter Islamic extremism, said: “If this is what is written on websites, I dread to think what is going on in classrooms.We respect people’s freedom to choose their own religion but not to encourage hatred. This crosses the boundaries.”

      But the Association of Muslim Schools UK dismissed the report as misleading, intolerant and divisive.”

    18. Ed — on 21st February, 2009 at 12:15 pm  

      wasn’t Denis McEoin the author of a previous report on some Muslim issue that was subsequently discredited for the research being falsified/ forged? I think Newsnight did a piece on it?

    19. damon — on 21st February, 2009 at 3:55 pm  

      Could not some of this alarm be due to worry (legitimate or unfounded) stem from the idea that some ”faith schools” might be more religious and indoctrinating than others?

      I went to an all boys catholic school in London in the 1970′s, and even though about a dozen of the teachers were ‘Christian Brothers’ (and wore long black religious gowns), it was basicly a secular school. Secular in the sense that although the school had a chapel that we were marched into now and again (on holy days), as far as I remember it - no one of my peers paid the slightest heed to catholicism (and anyone who did was considered a bit of a weirdo).

      They never pushed religion, and us ”catholics” who left that school (of whatever race) weren’t shaped by religion.
      I might agree that the Civitas leaves a lot to be desired, but I understand why sections of society get animated about issues like this.
      I don’t - but some people do. It’s human nature that people are suspicious and ignorant about stuff they don’t understand.

    20. Bartholomew — on 21st February, 2009 at 4:09 pm  

      From 2005:

      Evangelical Christian schools have a worse record at teaching tolerance than the Muslim schools criticised by the head of Ofsted this week.

      Inspectors found 42.5 per cent of independent evangelical Christian schools were failing to help pupils learn to respect other cultures and promote ”tolerance and harmony”.

      Figures from Ofsted showed that 36 per cent of independent Muslim schools were judged to be failing in this duty, the Times Educational Supplement reported.

    21. BenSix — on 21st February, 2009 at 5:57 pm  

      “You know Sunny there’s only so far you can take your current war with HP before continuing to link to them as a ‘Comrade’ will start to look a little…odd.”

      Heh. They’re brothers in arms, really, it’s just that Sunny’s got ‘em in an arm lock.

    22. Sunny — on 21st February, 2009 at 8:59 pm  

      As for viewing Fitna, there’s a difference between adults watching it and children being “taught” what it says, wouldn’t you say?

      No, the question is what is allowed within the law.

      I find it very amusing that writers from Harry’s Place to Civitas love to expound the ideals of a free society where people are allowed to say and do what they want, within the law, including insult Muslims, but as soon as the shoe is on the other foot then some excuse is made to make sure these Muslims are indoctrinated in “British values”.

      Of course, I think that though this blog and HP operate within the same general set of values, there’s no doubt I think they’re incredibly naive or at least inconsistent on various issues. What’s wrong with pointing that out?

    23. sonia — on 21st February, 2009 at 10:06 pm  

      well suggesting that the material used at schools (religious or otherwise) should be up to xyz standard is hardly curtailing freedom of speech - its educational material right? its meant to have some purpose. as long as such material is available at mosques/somewhere else outside of school its hardly curtailing the author’s/religious freedom of speech. we’re talking about the freedom to teach xyz in schools aren’t we - and yes there are legitimate concerns about what taxpayers are paying to teach children! especially if its highly authoritarian stuff. (and these concerns of mine apply to schools in general, not just “FAITH” schools, but they are of course particularly concerning, a religious school is less likely to encourage questioning, though not necessarily the case, but just tends to be) just cos you don’t send your kids there, doesn’t mean that it isn’t concerning. how you approach it, is another matter. the debate being so polarised, doesn’t seem to be helping. either yes=faith schools, + anything goes or no to faith schools completely, and nothing in between.

    24. Katy Newton — on 21st February, 2009 at 11:07 pm  

      some excuse is made to make sure these Muslims are indoctrinated in “British values”.

      That’s not what the HP blogger says, actually. It’s what the Civitas paper says. The HP blogger quotes that part of the paper and then says that the real problem is religion in schools generally and that religion should be kept out of the classroom. A couple of days ago there was a critical post about Christian faith schools featuring a video that one of the HP writers had shot for the Secular Society. This isn’t a case of HP advocating one rule for Muslim schools and one for everyone else.

    25. Sunny — on 21st February, 2009 at 11:24 pm  

      The blogger on HP in question says the real problem might be religion in schools, but it’s really an exercise in dancing around the issue since faith schools aren’t going away. In response to the recommendations, Edmund Standing says: “absolutely”. I can’t really find a more clearer endorsement of the recommendations.

    26. Don — on 21st February, 2009 at 11:34 pm  

      blogger on HP in question Are we communicating in code now?

      No, faith schools aren’t going away any time soon, but I think we should see that as a medium term desirable aim.

    27. Sunny — on 21st February, 2009 at 11:42 pm  

      but I think we should see that as a medium term desirable aim.

      You would ban them on what basis? I’d rather have a half-way house, which is why I signed up to Accord:

    28. douglas clark — on 22nd February, 2009 at 3:31 am  


      If I’ve understood it right, which is always an issue, what Accord are saying is what I am saying. If you have an open admissions policy, if you cannot exclude kids on the basis of their parents’ beliefs, and if you are going to be inclusive: well then; that’s good enough for me.

      Thus, I signed up.

    29. damon — on 22nd February, 2009 at 12:56 pm  

      Sunny said:
      ”Here we go again. Of course, let’s shut down faith schools. But who’s going to tell the Church of England? The Vatican? If you can’t do that, then force the Muslims to teach British values at their school! Will Catholic school teachers be forced to teach children that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable?”

      I was thinking of this website this morning as I watched (the admitedly lightweight) bbc tv show ”The Big Questions”.

      The question was: ”Is Islam an intolerant religion? ”

      Taking part were: Ann Cryer, Labour MP for Keighley; Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion; Majid Nawaz, Director of the Quilliam Foundation, and Anjem Choudary spoke at length too.

      This is the kind of forum through which millions of people in this country get their ideas about these issues - so it doesn’t surprise me that the likes of Civitas get a hearing with their ideas, as they seem to be a part of ”maimstream” views. The presenter of the programme Nicky Campbell even brought up the ”36% of young British Muslims would prefer to live under shariah law” line, which whether correct or incorrect is an alarming figure to most people (I would have thought).

      Hence (perhaps) the idea that Muslim schools might have to watched more closely. (?)

      As for evangical christian schools being worse (from post #20)… at least their numbers of pupils is low.

      ”There are now more than 100 Muslim schools educating more than 14,000 pupils, so these schools educate by far the largest proportion of children being taught in faith schools.

      Evangelical Christian schools teach 5,000 pupils and Jewish schools cater for 9,500 pupils.”

    30. platinum786 — on 22nd February, 2009 at 6:55 pm  

      As a Muslim, faith schools trouble me, irregardless of which faith they preach. I think they work towards segregation of society based on religion. I certainly won’t be sending any child if mine to a single faith school UNLESS the school has some excellent performance over the local schools.

      However, it’s a free country and I don’t oppose other people sending their children to these schools. I simply think it would be beneficial if school was free of religion and religion was studied after school time.

      The article which has appeared in the usual rags, was rubbish. It quoted controversial links from websites which apparently are “linked” to the schools. Yet, they haven’t spoken to any of the schools etc? How did they get their information? Quillium is a joke, I initially held my judgement, but it honestly is a joke. It’s an organisation made of brown tabloid readers.

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