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Oct 01 2013

A pioneering school indeed!

You must have all heard about the Al-Madinah School in Derby – the first Islamic free school in Britain?

According to a report:

As previously reported, concerns have been raised that female staff are being forced to wear head coverings, even if they aren’t Muslim. However, it has now emerged that lessons are routinely scrapped to make way for prayers, that singing is banned and children are prevented from reading fairy stories (because witches are un-Islamic)…

Girls are made to sit at the back of classrooms away from boys and some teachers claim that during Ramadan lessons are sacrificed to prayer sessions. Teachers claim the children’s education is suffering.

One anonymous staff member told the paper: “They have three prayers every day, an hour of Koranic studies and an hour of Islamic studies as well as Arabic. They are not following the national curriculum, there isn’t enough time”…

The whistle-blowing staff member said: “When teaching children the alphabet, you could not associate the letter ‘p’ with pig. We couldn’t teach fairy tales to children nor play them any ordinary music. Any music played has to be Islamic-related. We are not allowed to have guitars on site because stringed instruments are forbidden in Islam. And children are also forbidden to sing unless the singing is to do with Islamic faith songs. Everything that teachers want to teach children has to be approved by Islamic scholars on site.”

The source also revealed that girls always had to give way to the boys, even on social occasions: “On a school trip to Drayton Manor Park zoo girls queued up for all the rides, only to have to cede their places to boys and male teachers when they got to the front of the queue.”

According to the school, however, “Al-Madinah is a pioneering school, the first of its type in the whole country, and not everyone wants it to succeed. Unfortunately politics have been allowed to interfere with education.”

Right they are; it’s political Islam that is interfering with education, equality and a lot more…

I say the Derby Islamic Free School should be shut down immediately. Whilst adults have a right to religion, children should be given access to an equal playing field irrespective of their parents’ beliefs. In my opinion, religious education in general, and Islamic education in particular (given the influence of extremism and the Islamic-Right) is a contradiction in terms. Education should teach children to think and question. Freethinking is discouraged and even punished in schools that put religion before education.

Moreover, the school’s enforcement of the veil on all teachers and pupils goes to show how little “choice” many have when it comes to the veil, particularly given the influence of Islamism in many such educational and other settings. Also, it clearly shows that the veil is not a matter of clothing as is often portrayed. It is the visible symbol of a much more deeply-rooted misogyny that considers females of lesser worth.

Were children segregated based on race, the school would not be open today but segregation based on sex is tolerated at the expense of the rights and equality of our children and the society at large.

UPDATE: The school has been shut down as of today. Finally some justice!

4 comments

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  1. 1
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Damn good thing they were shut down, too. I’d like to see a complete ban on parochial schools of any stripe.

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    This sounds like some of the charter schools here in the USA.

  3. 3
    ismenia

    It’s so frustrating. The government were warned that their free schools policies would lead to religious fundamentalist schools being set up. I hope the media coverage of this prompts more scrutiny of faith schools.

  4. 4
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    The school was supposedly closed temporarily by its own governors “for health and safety reasons.”
    We don’t know whose health or whose safety.

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