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Original Message
Author iftikhar 
Topic Muslim Community Schools 
Date Entered 17/11/2002 18:00:21 
Message Established 1981
London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
E-mail: info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667

Muslim Community Schools

According to Runnymede Trust, education is the home of institutionalized racism and even the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality also thinks on the same line. British schools are not doing enough to tackle racism and promote race relations. Many teachers are unaware of racist attitudes amongst pupils. Schools have a responsibility not only to deal with racist incidents but also to prepare pupils for life in multicultural and multiracial society. According to an opinion poll race relations has deteriorated over the past ten years and are set to get worse still. Recent newspaper reports clearly indicate that Black as well as Asian pupils are victims of discrimination in state schools. The minority children, especially the Muslims are exposed to the pressure of racism, multiculturalism and bullying. They suffer academically, culturally and linguistically.
The Muslim community started to set up Muslim schools in the early 80s. London School of Islamics was the first Muslim school set up in January 1981, and now there are 102 schools educating approximately 10,000 Muslim pupils, while majority of them have no choice but to attend state schools. Only 4 schools have achieved Grant Maintained status. The needs and demands of the Muslim children can be met only through Muslim schools. His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, while visiting the first GM Muslim School in North London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam, but what about thousands of others, who attend state schools, classified as ‘Sink Schools’.
OFSTED blames the state school for the failure of the Muslim children. Its report clearly indicates that the religious schools are on the top for good examination results and discipline. There is a growing demand for such schools and the Church of England is going to double its schools in the next ten years. The Think Tanks of the Labor and the Tory parties recommended for the abolition of the LEAs and all the state schools will be handed over to the private companies, charities, religious groups and educational Trusts. The time has come for the Muslim Community to manage those state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. Such schools may be handed over to the Islamic Charities and Trusts for their management and day to day running. The DFEE will be responsible for funding, inspection and maintenance. The management will be in the hands of educated professional Muslims. The teaching of Arabic, Islamic Studies and Urdu by qualified Muslim teachers will help the pupils to develop an Islamic identity, which is crucial for mental, emotional and personality developments.
Sir Trevor McDonald is a champion of introducing foreign modern languages even at primary level. The Muslim community would like to see Arabic and Urdu to be introduced at nursery, primary and secondary schools along with European languages. In this way, the Muslim pupils will have a choice to learn a foreign language according to their own choice. There should be a choice in education and for the time being 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 as a ‘SCHOOL HIJAKER’ by the editor of the Newham Recorder in his editorial column. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools inspite of meager resources have excelled to a further extent this year, with two schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCS’s. They beat well-resource state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.

Haji Iftikhar. Ahmad

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