The schools proposed here would seek state funding; issues that should be raised immediately in response are those of curriculum and oversight. The design of an “Islamic” curriculum promises a minefield of problems including advocacy for a state governed by Sharia (now part of the measure of “extremism” in Britain), and the issues of women’s rights, the rights of unbelievers, and Islamic supremacism in general. There is also the question of how well the standard British curriculum would be upheld: literature, art, and social studies included.
High-profile horror stories about the lack of meaningful oversight of private Islamic schools in Britain are cause for serious concern regarding these schools as well, as educational watchdogs have been accused of whitewashing reports about what goes on in Islamic schools, where inspectors linked with “radical” groups rubber-stamped their approval. The appearance of oversight has been no guarantee that all is well.
Muslim leaders are planning to break away from the Scottish education system and create their own schools because the current curriculum does not include enough about Islam.
The Sunday Express has learned parents are angry their children are not being given schooling according to their religious beliefs and claim teachers are even promoting “unIslamic principles and behaviours”.
Some have even threatened legal action to force councils to open state-funded faith schools at taxpayers” expense.
Others want the “relatively affluent” Muslim community to take matters into its own hands, starting with Scotland’s first Islamic high school.
Parents and supporters are being rallied on an Internet chat room called glasgowmuslims.com. One father explains the plan is to “form a steering group of individuals who wish to contribute towards the creation of an Islamic Secondary School for Girls in Glasgow”.
The anonymous man — TariqM — adds: “I have spoken to a number of Imams representing the primary Masjids (mosques) in Glasgow and in principle everybody agrees the ideal solution to education for Muslims would be within an environment that has at its core an Islamic ethos.”
Another member proposes legal action over the city council’s refusal to fund an Islamic state school, stating: “There is a case to be made by the Muslim community against Glasgow Council claiming religious bigotry and discrimination.”
Sajid Quayum, president of the Glasgow branch of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), said he was aware of the group and its plans.
“Education is something close to the heart of all parents,” he said.”‚”They are venting their frustration over not being able to “˜play the system” as other religious groups have in the past.
“There is a lot of disagreement in the wider community whether having an Islamic state school is what we want. Some say it would be a good thing but others say there is enough separation from the main community as there is.”
Mr Quayum, a TV producer, also claimed children of all religions and backgrounds are not learning enough about Islam in school.
He said: “A lot of teachers are a little bit worried about trying to cover Islam because it has so many social and political issues.
“We have set up a teacher training programme called Islam Information Scotland. When we have approached RE teachers, they say they will often focus on a particular religion for a year, such as Hinduism, but it will rarely be Islam because they are worried about offending Muslims.…
Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Just ask Gary Smith, the religion teacher who lay unconscious in a hospital for two days after being savagely beaten for teaching about Islam “incorrectly.”