Here, via the Daily Telegraph, is a reminder on where multiculturalism can lead:
“Music, chess and cricket are just three things banned in some Muslim schools in the UK. Others are drama, dance, sport, Shakespeare, and, in some cases, any aspect of Western culture whatever. According to the management committee of London’s Madani Secondary Girls’ School, this is because “our children are exposed to a culture that is in opposition with almost everything Islam stands for”. The response to this sense of danger is often to forbid outright any kind of relationship with non-Muslims: “Allah has warned us in the Koran, do not befriend the kuffaar. The Jews and Christians will never be content with you until you follow their way,” says Riyadhul Haq, a teacher in Kidderminster.
“Attitudes such as these run counter to everything education stands for. We want children to grow up to be successful, well-integrated members of society. Most British people want to see Muslims play a part at every level. To be lawyers, doctors, teachers, and scientists. And to be musicians and composers, painters, and writers. Not to lose their Muslim identity, but to reshape it as part of being British.
“Some Muslim schools teach social cohesion, others regard it as a deadly sin. Some schools impart the skills necessary for a fulfilling life alongside non-Muslim friends and co-workers, others try to recreate a Pakistani or Bangladeshi lifestyle and to make it exclusive.
“Several recent surveys have noted an unusual phenomenon among young Muslims here and in Europe: that 16-to-24-year-olds are more hardline in their opinions than their parents or even their grandparents. The youngest generation is moving away from mainstream society, not towards it. The reasons for this are complex, but there can be little doubt that Islamic schools play a role in encouraging children and teenagers to isolate themselves. More than 50 per cent of the establishments I examined for my report on Muslim schools showed indications of strong fundamentalist influence and control. Some were set up by organisations that have been banned in some countries.
“Not infrequently, Ofsted inspectors give glowing reports to schools that require much closer examination. Al-Mu’min Primary School in Bradford is linked to the al-Mu’min journal, which carries material from schoolchildren. Its website teaches that Western culture is “evil”, photographs are “an evil practice of the unbelievers”, and that “the person who plays chess is like one who dips his hand in the blood of a swine”.
Read the whole thing.
I don’t think it’s just the fact that I played a lot of chess at high school (nerd, moi?) that was responsible for the fact that I found what the author of this piece recounts infuriating, alarming and, in the implications for the lives of children being forced to live this way, utterly tragic.
Looking at it from a U.S. perspective it also raises awkward questions for those of us who favor school choice: Do we really want taxpayer-funded Madrassas?