ICYMI: In Britain, School Report Cites Division Over Islam

I think the issue is not that this ‘turns’ students to or from terrorism, but the overall message it sends to students about acceptable behaviour in a multicultural and diverse society, based upon equality (see also UK: Michael Gove (Education Sec’y) accused of using ‘Trojan Horse’ row to push anti-Islam agenda):

British education inspectors investigated 21 schools after claims that Islamic fundamentalists had taken over leadership of schools in Birmingham, home to a significant Muslim population.

The inquiry found that the influence of hard-line school board governors sometimes left staffs polarized between those who favored a more Islamic approach and others who did not. In British state schools many governors are elected by parents or staff members.

Some teachers, for example, “actively discourage girls from speaking to boys,” the report said, adding that in one school “boys and girls are also taught separately in religious education and personal development lessons.”

At one school, Oldknow Academy, “governors have used the academy’s budget to subsidize a trip to Saudi Arabia for only Muslim staff and pupils,” the document said.

Among the striking details to emerge from the report was that a senior figure in one school was so scared of being seen talking to school inspectors that a meeting had to be arranged in a supermarket parking lot. Another school hired private investigators to check staff email, the report said.

Ofsted’s chief, Michael Wilshaw, described some of the findings as “deeply worrying and, in some ways, quite shocking.”

But the findings were criticized by the Muslim Council of Britain, which says it has more than 500 affiliated national, regional and local organizations, mosques, charities and schools. It argued that “extremism will not be confronted if Muslims, and their religious practices are considered as, at best, contrary to the values of this country and at worst, seen as ‘the swamp’ that feeds extremism.”

“There is scant evidence that the education system or the Muslim community are the reasons for why people turn to terrorism,” it added in a statement.

In Britain, School Report Cites Division Over Islam – NYTimes.com.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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