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Church of England says ban parents from stopping their children learning about Islam in school

Parents should be prevented from pulling their children out of Religious Education (RE) lessons because they are preventing their children from learning about Islam, the Church of England has warned. [1]

The Church of England’s lead on RE policy, Derek Holloway, suggested that some non-Muslims with “fundamentalist” religious beliefs are trying to withdraw children from lessons in order to stop them learning about Islam, by “exploiting” existing laws.

Mr Holloway, who previously taught at state comprehensive schools in Essex and Wiltshire, said that they were using a “dubious interpretation of human rights legislation” to pull students out of RE lessons, and warned that such actions create a “dangerous” precedent. He told the Press Association:[2]

“Through RE teacher social media forums and feedback from our RE advisers, I am aware that some parents have sought to exploit the right to withdraw children from RE lessons.

“This is seemingly because they do not want their children exposed to other faiths and world views, in particular Islam.

“We are concerned that this is denying those pupils the opportunity to develop the skills they need to ‘live well together’ as adults.”

He stressed that the Church of England believes that “youngsters must learn about other religions and worldviews”, which has provoked expected criticism from those who are ideologically against either the vacuous and arbitrary label of “religion”, such as some neo-atheists, or those against Islam in particular, which would include more fundamentalist English nationalists, Christians or neoconservatives. The idea of withdrawing children has been reportedly defended by atheist groups including the National Secular Society.[3]

Although some nationalist or atheist thinkers are indeed well read and capable of stimulating intellectual debate, those that appear to dominate popular culture seem to be those that take pride in illiteracy and an impressive certainty in their own ideology, unable to distinguish it from fact. Perhaps modernity’s continual distractions, 140-character concentration spans and war on traditional wisdom and intelligence has a part to play in this and the Islamophobia that relies on it.

Muslim parents have not traditionally had a problem with RE being taught in an information-based manner for several reasons. Islam and its sources already talk about other faiths and traditions, either to call them to their original roots, to come to a common ground with Muslims, or to critique those aspects of other religions and worldviews that lack evidence for their claims or are oppressive.

Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except God and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of God .” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].”

O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not use your reason?

Here you are – those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And God knows, while you know not.[4]

As for others learning objectively for themselves about Islam, rather than from Islamophobic EDL or neo-atheist websites, then it is ultimately in Islam and Muslims’ favour since Islamophobia depends on ignorance and misinformation, and Islam is the dīn (often translated as “religion”) of the fitra—innate disposition—in the first place. Anyone—especially youngsters, who have received less indoctrination from other worldviews and are thus closer to their fitra—who learn simple facts about Islam without propaganda and misinformation will be drawn to it, since the bulk of the propositions it calls its adherents to accept are part and parcel of human nature and what are known in epistemology as “properly basic beliefs”.

As is authentically narrated from Abū Hurayra (Allāh be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“There is no child born except upon the fitra. Then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian…”[5]

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] https://www.facebook.com/notes/church-of-england/not-just-an-optional-extra-re-that-prepares-children-for-life-in-the-21st-centur/10154801665363143/

[2]  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/04/26/ban-parents-pulling-children-religious-education-classes-church/

[3] https://www.christiantoday.com/article/church.of.england.parents.shouldnt.take.children.out.of.religious.education.over.islam.fears/107999.htm

[4] Al-Qur’ān 3:64-66

[5] Bukhari & Muslim

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  1. Hello again Sam. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my piece. You’re my mind indeed was made up that belief in God was probably wrong several decades ago, about the same time that I stopped believing in Father Xmas and the tooth fairy. It’s a matter of faith, which even you can’t deny, whatever your views on opinions, dogmas or hypotheses. If your parents had been Christians, you’d probably be one too.

    The possibility that there’s no God is just an OPINION based on my experience. It’s possible that I’m wrong; unlike you I have an open mind. You’ve really been worked on.
    I never argue with what IN MY OPINION is a delusion, implanted by other deluded people in young minds. A Hindu on TV recently said there are 330 million Gods. He’s deluded, isn’t he?
    By the way, are all God-based religions correct, including the ones whose adherents have no mathematics, written language or contact with the outside world? Or only your version? What arrogance!

    I’m doing what I never did in my nursing career, arguing with someone I BELIEVE is deluded, because your original approach interested me. I have a huge respect for the Jewish people, notwithstanding their OTT treatment of Palestinians. They’re between a rock and a hard place. All because of pesky religion.
    Cheerio and good luck.

  2. Teaching about different religions in schools is not a contentious issue in my opinion, as it is a central fact of human life in all societies.
    Treating any particular religious claim as FACT is another issue, as, for example, a belief in God/Gods is a matter of opinion, not a fact, in my opinion. Even the claim that God is a fact varies enormously between different faiths, because that’s exactly what it is, a question of faith.
    This should always be made clear to children, instead of indoctrinating them into one view of faith, but it ain’t gonna happen because of narrow-minded dogma in some groups.
    The main purpose of religion should be to teach a moral code for the benefit of the whole society, based on the rule of law in that country, IF IT’S A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM. As the 21st. century progresses let’s hope that people living in multi-religious, reasonably democratic countries grasp this point and frame their religious practice within the overall law which applies to everybody, or the children will be confused and have difficulty finding their place in society.

    • The only narrow-minded dogma here is your belief that “God” is an opinion. It might be for your ancestors but it is the height of ignorance to presume it to be universal for all.

      I wonder if you would treat other propositions deduced from first principles as ‘opinion’ too, such as trigonometry.

      • Trigonometry isn’t “deduced from first principles”. It rests on axioms which do not always apply. Look up non-Euclidean geometry for more information.

        • LOL
          You might want to google what “first principles” and “axioms” mean, mate. You don’t need a maths degree to know that in mathematics axioms ARE first principles.


          I admire your zeal though…

          • Axioms are taken to be true for the sake of argument. However, the axioms of trigonometry have been demonstrated not to be universally true, therefore they cannot be first principles.
            Equally, with the hypothesis of “God” or “gods”. That any god exists is an unverifiable hypothesis. That any particular god exists is an unverifiable and unlikely hypothesis.

            • Well I suppose for argument’s sake you can have your own personal definition of axiom being different to first principles, but you leave yourself open to being mocked just as one who has a personal definition for a triangle being different to a three-sided shape.

              As for the attempted conflation between God as some kind of creator as known by all human beings (as inferred using the same deductively valid reasoning as a plethora of other things that atheists don’t have a personal grudge against yet, such as maths) and “any god” (as inferred using the same standard of intellectual cogency as your failed attempt at painting axiom as different to first principle) then this is precisely the reason that you people are called trolls.

              You are noticeably quiet on the host of articles outlining the deductive logic of the epistemological *properly basic belief* concerning “God”, but fill the comments sections of completely irrelevant article topics with your carefully crafted logical fallacies about gods hoping you’ll pick off some unsuspecting layman as though they’re from some kind of intellectually-impoverished western Christian heritage.

              • “A triangle being … a three-sided shape” isn’t an axiom. Nor is a triangle a three-sided shape, however – or, rather, nor is a triangle just a three-sided shape.
                What is the difference between “God as some kind of creator as known by all human beings” and “any god”? What is your evidence that ” God as some kind of creator… known by all human beings” is known by any human beings?
                You too are noticeably quiet on the host of articles outlining the deductive logic of the epistemological *properly basic belief* concerning “God”, or, indeed, the improperly basic beliefs concerning “God”, God, god or gods. However, as they are completely irrelevant to the question of which – if any – collections of superstitions should be compulsorily taught to children it doesn’t matter.

      • Hello Ben-having a go at me again? I must be touching the right nerves for you to take the time to respond to an ignorant moron like me. Take my advice, learnt over seventy years on this earth: don’t argue with a deluded idiot like me. It’s a waste of breath.

        Mathematics has no relationship with ancient religious belief systems, of which there are thousands, all of which disagree with one another; that’s why they’re always killing each other. It’s a flawed analogy, which reveals the depth of the effect that religious indoctrination has had on your power of impartial abstract reasoning.

        They call people like me atheists, but I would no more define myself in relation to a non-thing than, as a psychiatric nurse, I defined myself in relation to the various ravings of the poor people I cared for, for over 23 years.

        Why are you so touchy? You believe in God; I don’t . So what? I just wouldn’t like my children (now grown up) or my grandchildren to be indoctrinated by whatever brand of religion that happens to be peddled in their schools and communities. My son is currently participating of his own free will in some Hindu inspired meditations in Taiwan, where he lives. He has never had his mind polluted with dogmas, religious or political, and is a very independent thinker (and was a very good mathematician at school).
        You mentioned my ancestors. Many of them were vicars and preachers, and one of them was excommunicated for repairing his farm walls on a Sunday, when Britain was still Catholic. Plus ca change…..

        • Mathematics has NO relationship with ancient religious belief systems, ey?

          You’re certainly right about one thing. It probably is a waste of time arguing with someone like you. Especially if your mind has been made up for decades longer than I’ve been alive.

  3. It is a crime against humanity to send Muslim children to non-Muslim schools with non-Muslim teachers. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. They must develop their cultural. linguistic and spiritual identity before they are exposed to out side world, otherwise, they would be lost in western Jungle.

    Muslim community in all western countries need Masajid, state funded Muslim schools , Halal meat and Muslim cemeteries. West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. Don’t these hypocrites idiots know what their ancestors did to Native American Indians they slaughtered 150 millions of Native American Indians! and also do they know that Great Britain invaded 80% countries around the world? They should call them terrorist first and as well call their ancestors terrorist! British did the same to Native American Indians and sadly they still treat Native American Indians badly! So Americans Indians know how you Muslims feel! They stolen Indian land and killed 150 millions of Indians the British did! They were forced to go to the white man’s school and learn the language, culture and faith of the white man. Inspite of that, they are still the under dogs of the American society.

    Children from minority groups, especially the Muslims, are exposed to the pressure of racism, multiculturalism and bullying. They suffer academically, culturally and linguistically: a high proportion of children of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin are leaving British schools with low grades or no qualification.

    In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a “school hijacker” by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different.

    Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. The whole world belongs to Muslims. It is a crime against humanity to send children to non-Muslim schools with non-Muslim teachers. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    Muslim children in state schools with non-Muslim teachers are not in a position to develop positive self-confidence and self-esteem. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    Muslim community would like to protect their children from the evils of the western society. You better educate your children and let Muslim community educate their children according the needs and demands of the parents.

    Muslim schools teach Muslim children that sex outside marriage is a sin. Homosexuality is also a sin. Sex before marriage and homosexuality are western values and Muslims are not supposed to adopt them.

    British values, which are said to include respect for legally protected characteristics such as homosexuality, religion, gender change, disability, race and marital status. what a warping of British values, the British values I was taught are respect for the institution of marriage, freedom of religious pursuit, freedom of speech, respect for the monarch. respect for others.

    Indiscipline, incivility, binge drinking, drug addiction, gun and knife crimes, teenage pregnancies and abortion are part and parcel of British schooling. These are the reasons why majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Only less than 5% attend Muslim schools and more than 95% keep on attending state and church schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.

    There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

  4. Islamic studies should be a compulsory subject in all state schools so that native Brits could learn how their next door neighbours are living as Muslims. At the same time, Muslim children must be educated in state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    Muslim children must develop their cultural. linguistic and spiritual identity before they are exposed to outer society. otherwise, they would be lost in western jungle.

  5. Why aren’t they teaching other religions in RE? If religion is going to be studied at all, then every religion from animism to zoroastrianism should be studied. This article is a example of the kind of opinion held by religious thinkers that take pride in illiteracy and an impressive certainty in their own ideology, but are unable to distinguish it from fact.

    • If you were genuinely interested in that question you would have learnt from a simple Google search that SACRE committees in each local authority determine the syllabus for RE. You would have also withheld the question until you actually confirmed via a second Google search that animism and Zoroastrianism are not taught, before embarrassing yourself.

      But instead you take shots at this article despite your illiteracy – which is by choice since you obviously have access to Google.

      But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of getting something off your chest.

      • And?
        If RE is going to be a compulsory subject, then it should not be governed by the whims and prejudices of a local authority and its standing advisory council .
        Which schools study animism or zoroastrianism then, Malcolm?

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