School governors urge parents to reconsider mosque visit after ‘guns and violence’ fears

22nd May 2015

Elham Asaad Buaras

Parents who withdraw their children from a RE trip to a mosque over fears they would witness “guns and violence” have been asked to reconsider the decision by governors from Lostwithiel School.

The governors correspondence – ahead of the trip due on May 7 – comes as Muslims in Cornwall revealed they are becoming targets of Islamophobic abuse due to concerns over the ISIS.

According to media reports 10 parents refused permission for their children to take part in the trip. The visit trip, which is part of the curriculum, will include Exeter Cathedral, followed by a tour of the mosque, where pupils will “observe a congregational prayer and be able to ask questions.”

One parent told the school they had “grave concerns” about the safety of children due to news coverage of ISIS.

Education Secretary of the Cornwall Islamic Community Centre, Mostofa Abdul Rahman, said that local Muslims had noticed a change in attitudes towards their faith in recent months.

Mosques in Cornwall have been defaced with graffiti and community members have become concerned about the amount of misinformation about Islam circulating among local people.

“There are definitely some changes. The police come to the mosque quite often and ask people if they’ve suffered because of this,” said Mr Rahman. “From what people hear in the news, that’s what they’re expecting [Muslims] to think. This will bring their children into thinking that way too. There will be a big problem later on.”

Rahman welcomed teachers’ efforts to help pupils understand the religion.

“The parents have to really learn a bit more about Islam themselves, from the right sources, before they make a decision. I have been trying all my life to clear this nonsense up.”

In a statement Chair of the governors at Lostwithiel school, Kat Smith, said: “The visit to the mosque will provide an insight for pupils into the nature of British Islam, help them understand how Islam is presented in the media and that groups like Isis are not a true reflection of the Islam followed by the vast majority of Muslims in Britain

One Response to “School governors urge parents to reconsider mosque visit after ‘guns and violence’ fears”

Iftikhar AhmadMay 24, 2015

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 a multicultural and multiracial 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.

Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? I would love to see you go to a foreign land where you don’t have any friends, you don’t even know anyone and you don’t speak the language, and start from scratch. I would just LOVE to watch you do that. Let them integrate and stop segregating them. What I want is people being nice to each other. I don’t care about race.

The problems of racism in the school system and wider society are permanent features of Western society and will become more entrenched and institutionalised. On this basis it is time to build a new kind of education, which can equip students with the necessary instrumental skills to participate in society; that does not prejudice experience of Muslim young people; and one that critically engages with the endemic racism present in British society. Developing an education from a Muslim critical perspective can be a part of mounting a significant challenge to the racism that lies at the heart of British society.

Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one’s culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children’s alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grandparents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector.

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.


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