You may have read in the news lately about allegations against schools in Birmingham (UK) which claim that there was a coordinated plot by extremist Muslims to take over the schools. Whilst headlines have blared words such as ‘extremist,’ ‘takeover’ and of course ‘Muslims,’ just stop for a moment and think about how impossible such a thing would be and how absurd these claims are.
Firstly, these allegations were revealed when an anonymous letter was ‘leaked,’ suggesting that there was a plot by a ‘hard-line’ Muslim group to takeover schools in Birmingham. Of course, this would cause alarm but the fact the letter was leaked from a source no one knows anything about implies that it may simply have been a fake.
Even if the letter contains some truth, the claims it makes are simply silly. The first thing that comes to mind is how can a group takeover a school-not only one, but many. Surely, there would be complaints by parents and carers at the first sign of anything they disagree with? These are schools containing thousands of pupils from all faiths which means if one is favoured, then the pupils would immediately complain. I am sure you would.
Thirdly, just what does a takeover actually mean? What do so called hard-line and extremist Muslims even believe in that they would actually be able to implement on a school? Scratch that, do these people even exist? The BBC news website says that some allegations were boys and girls were being segregated and that sex education was banned. Now even if these allegations are true, they cannot really be called extremist values. If that was the case, you would have to call the British education system of fifty years ago, an extremist one. People may disagree with these things but at the same time there are many, of all types of faiths who are for these things.
Let me instead tell you what a Muslim parent would want from a school. They would like their children to be taught well, treated with respect, to learn manners and good habits. They would like them to be provided a space to pray when it is their prayer time and they would like them to have the option of halal school meals or simply to be able to bring in their own lunch. Some may also want their children not to participate in activities that go against their faith such as music lessons or sex education. I have never heard of a Muslim parent who sought the segregation of boys and girls after intentionally sending them to a state school. If they wanted this, they would have simply sent them to a single-sex school.
So I urge you to have an open mind when you read the news. To not only read it but to analyse it. Every news outlet has a slant that they want to portray so it is up to you to decipher where the truth lies.
Until Next Time,
A Worried Student