Monday, July 28, 2008

The opening of more Islamic faith schools in Britain should be stopped amid fears they will fuel social segregation, according to teachers

Government plans to create more state-funded Muslim schools in Britain will divide communities along racial and religious lines, it is claimed. In a speech to be given at the union's annual conference, one teacher will claim Labor's policy to expand Muslim schools is "about trying to defend minorities". In 2007, Ed Balls, the schools secretary, pledged to remove "unnecessary barriers" to religious groups bidding to open their own schools. He said additional money would be made available to allow the hundreds of private religious schools to convert to the state sector. The move raised the prospect of more schools for faiths including Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, which have few schools of their own, despite representing significant minority groups. Speaking at the conference, Wesley Paxton, a further education lecturer from Hull, will say: "More faith schools in 2008 is probably going to mean more Islamic schools." He adds: "As is often pointed out, there are already many schools with more than a 50% non-white enrolment. What benefit will there be by emphasising difference, by removing what non-Islamic influences these people will have, and reduce their chances of having a balanced upbringing? For girls in particular, can you imagine a UK Madrassa being a hot-bed of liberty, co-education and having Cosmopolitan in the school library? I have a vivid imagination, which is why I never read horror stories, but I can't envisage that. It has been announced [that] Saudi Arabia will not send female athletes to Beijing. Need one say more? No, we are all people, we all breathe the same air, we need fewer distinctions, not more."

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