If freedom of speech is a prized right of the UK’s citizenry, does the following mean that Muslims will be taught that it’s ok to openly discuss Islam—indeed, even draw cartoons of its prophet? “Citizenship class for young Muslims,” from the Press Association, July 18:
Young Muslims will be taught citizenship in mosque schools as part of a bid to prevent them being turned into extremists, the Government said.
Trials of the new lessons will begin in several cities at the start of the new term in September, said Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.
The initiative – designed to show youngsters there is no conflict between their religion and being British – is part of a package of measures due to be published.
This may prove problematic: according to one study, 81% of the Muslim youth living in Britain identify themselves as Muslim first, British second; and a full 1/3 of British Muslims say they would prefer living under sharia instead of British law.
It also includes a new independent board of academic and theological experts and a group of community leaders to advise on local responses to tackling extremism.
“We have made significant progress working with communities to build an alliance against violent extremists,” Ms Blears said.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our young people are equipped with the skills they need to stand up to violent extremists and this project will help them understand how their faith is compatible with wider shared values and that being a good Muslim is also compatible with being a good citizen in the UK.”
Short of being a Muslim or a student of sharia, how can Ms Blears make such a bold statement? How does she know that “their faith is compatible” and that being a “good Muslim” is synonymous with being a “good citizen in the UK”? More well-meaning hot air.
Officials said mosque teachers in London, Leicester, Birmingham, Oldham, Rochdale and Bradford would be trained in using the new materials over the summer.
Last month the Government published a national “de-radicalisation” programme including advice to town halls to consider mapping their areas religion by religion and ensuring they had systems in place to remove funding or other support from inappropriate groups.