Citizenship education has been added to the National Curriculum and its aims to teach pupils: about the origins and implications of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding. The introduction to the National Curriculum proclaims: promoting pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through citizenship.
In an ideal world, Muslims would have integrated schools where people of different faiths could specialize in them within the curriculum. But we are a long way from that and as a consequence I think we have no choice but to have state funded Muslim schools. All the evidence shows that faith schools raise pupils’ confidence and self esteem better than state schools do. If you understand the moral parameters of your own faith properly and are confident in who you are, that makes you a good citizen, it means that you do not feel threatened by others and you are not susceptible to extremism. Muslim schools give a strong moral and spiritual out look on the world, the children feel secure. Muslims are no longer considered to be merely part of the sub-continent immigrant labouring class. They are British and part of the British society in all walks of life. Muslims schools are worthy of support. Parents of private Muslim schools are taxpayers too and are entitled to a share of the education budget. Muslim schools are promoting good citizenship and are promoting a better understanding of people and communities around them.
Islamic school does not foster separatism and hatred. There is ample evidence that state schools foster intolerance, hate and bullying. There is no evidence that Islamic schools indoctrinate children with values that endanger shared society. David Bell, the chief school’s inspector was wrong to say that Islamic schools must do more to promote social cohesion. There is no evidence that there is a link between Islamic schools and terrorism. Islamic education actively discourages terrorism. Muslim parents want their children to keep their faith, culture and languages and not fall into Western way such as binge drinking, yobish culture and loose morals. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. It is the state schools who have been producing intolerance.
Citizenship lessons do not make full sense” unless they are taught within the context of Islam. In the same way Multicultural studies should also be taught in the context of Islam. Just because people do not throw bricks at each other on a daily basis, does not mean everything is rosy in the garden. We do need a common sense of British Identity but it has nothing to do with “common values or shared culture”. We can learn from Ottoman multi ethnic empire which achieved remarkable degree of religious tolerance.
Terrorism has nothing to do with British Muslim community. It is an international problem, created by the unjust policies of the West towards Muslims. Government measures to tackle terrorism are creating a climate of fear among Muslims and risk encouraging Islomophobic attacks. Recent government proposals to screen clerics and close down Masajid were sending out a message that Muslims cannot be trusted.