Muslim School Funding

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/may/26/reussite-france-muslim-school

I read the above story with interest this morning.  It seems that the French are happy to fund faith schools for Christians but not for Muslims.  Quite why they (or any other nation) fund faith schools is beyond me. 

Shouldn’t the faith of people be a personal matter?  Shouldn’t faith be separate from state interference and support?  Can’t we leave religion alone and expect it to leave us alone?  Why should we expect schools to indoctrinate children into a faith at all?

That said, if you have one rule for Christian or Catholic (I know they’re Christian too) schools then that rule should apply to Muslims, Buddhists, Baha’i, Hindus, whatever.  Shouldn’t it?

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10 Comments

Filed under Atheist, Religion

10 responses to “Muslim School Funding

  1. school should be school no matter who you are or what religion. just school. not Christian/Muslim/Catholic.

  2. Any rational, intelligent place would be a truly secular society; where religious beliefs are personal things and excluded from state-provided and state-funded circles.

    Mind you, who said we live in a rational, intelligent place?

  3. Quips

    Personal beliefs aside, I would contend that the fundaments of most religions form the basis for most civilisations. An education in it, therefore, is completely essential to understand our roots, our philosophies and the moral groundwork which makes us who we are today. Ignorance of such things is shirking off the shawl of informed understanding.

    In this vein, I can see no need to discriminate support for different religions provided that the education is of the highest possible standard one might expect of the relevant society.

  4. Salaam

    Muslim children have been attending state schools for tha last 60 years. They have been suffering from Paki-bashing and bullying. Majority of them have been leaving schools with low grades. They have been leaving schools without learning their cultural and linguistic skiils. The result is that they do not know where they belong. They suffer from Identity crises. Now Muslim youths are victim of terrorism. Thousands of them are being searched in streets and hundreds of them are behind the bar without any trial.

    Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools.

    Bilingual Muslim children need to learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time, they need to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.

    A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notorioulsy monolingul Brit.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    London School of Islamics Trust
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  5. Pinky, but that would be equal…

    Brennig, I agree but shouldn’t we want a rational, intelligent place to live? I know I do.

    Quips I disagree. Religion does not form the basis for civilisations, rather religion has reflected and codified the morality of society in terms that the society best appreciated. Thousands of years later civilisation is still trying to shirk off the baggage of religion and get on with the business of actually being civilised to one another. If we can eradicate tribalism\nationalism and religion from our way of thinking then we might actually stand a chance of of surviving as a species.

    That is beside the point though because the issue isn’t whether we should be educated about religion but whether a religion should be publicly funded in providing an education. I’m saying that it should not, in principle, be funded but in practice should attract an equality of funding no matter the faith of the educators. That means that as long as society chooses to fund Christian schools it should have no qualms about funding Muslim schools or schools that teach the wonder of those touched by His noodly appendage, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  6. Iftikhar, your message was in the spam filter.

    Firstly your bringing up a separate issue of racism and claiming that as an excuse to segregate children in terms of where they are educated. Surely we have learnt that segregation breeds greater racism than integration. If you keep people apart they are thought of as “other” and nothing exists to dispel that error.

    As for cultural identity crisis I have to say that it is not and should not be the role of a school to indoctrinate a child into a culture. A school’s remit is to provide an education within quite narrow categories. Also cultures evolve and it is wrong to expect a culture from the Middle East to remain perfectly intact in a nation that is very different environmentally, culturally and linguistically. What we see and would expect is a blending of cultures, not units of culture in isolation.

    There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    This is precisely what is wrong with faith schools. They foster a “them and us” attitude. If a school provides a place for education then it can serve the local community best by doing so. Matters of faith are of secondary importance.

    On the poor standard of language education in England I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with you. Our education system teaches language too late and too weakly for it to be of value. This is not an issue of culture or faith though but one of the education policy of the state.

    I’m also going to take issue with your use of the phrase “Muslim child”. Isn’t a Muslim someone who has chosen to embrace the teachings of Mohamed and serve God with all their heart just as a Christian follows the teachings of Jesus and chooses to serve God? By what stretch of the imagination is a young child capable of freely choosing a faith? Children are inculcated into religion, they do not choose a religion, they are incapable of doing so. Faith schools then become vehicles for doctrine rather than vehicles for education. Why would we want such a thing?

  7. Damn, HF, that was well-said.

  8. Quips

    Mr F, firstly I agree with your intial response to Iftikhar on segregation (although I think your final paragraph is an attempt to make religion sound like Nazism – “inculcate” indeed, Ha!). Naturally though, I take issue your response to me.

    Firstly, “Religion does not form the basis for civilisations, rather religion has reflected and codified the morality of society in terms that the society best appreciated” – yes, from the very beginning and as such it has formed the basis for civilisation. Your refutation is more of a substantiation of my point. To qualify it further, to disband and ignore the mass of religious literature that records the the lifeline of human morality is an absurd suggestion. Religion (of whichever ilk) is a formative part of who we are today, just because it doesn’t appeal to your Jovian sensibilities doesn’t make it less the case. Orwell anyone?

    With regard to your *sigh* “Spaghetti Monster”, I believe there are qualifications a group must have in order to be classified as a “religion” (I confess to not knowing them but I would expect that there is some reference to a belief system and a “following” of sorts). Hence new religions such as Jediism are now classed as a religion in the UK and can expect the appropriate funding. This is despite the fact that it was dreamt up by US iconoclast George Lucas. So be it, it is a result of people’s freedom of choice.

    Further, you state, “I’m saying that it should not, in principle, be funded but in practice should attract an equality of funding no matter the faith of the educators.” So which exactly are you saying? That it should not receive funding or that it should be distributed evenly? Your original post also states, “Shouldn’t faith be separate from state interference and support?”. It seems as though you are muddying your opinions.

    In conclusion, this is what I am guessing you are trying to say. You object to state funding for religion, but if there is to be such a thing then it should not be in any way discriminative between each religion irrespective of their validity.

    My standpoint is that education on religion is not only constructive, it is vital to the appreciation of our moral, social and cultural roots. Sharing your view, there should be no discrimination but I would contend that certain religions hold a higher social credence than others, Judaism over Universalism, for example. This can be judged intellectually by their historical impact, their influence in the world and so on.

  9. inculcate
    –verb (used with object), -cat⋅ed, -cat⋅ing.
    1. to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly (usually fol. by upon or in): to inculcate virtue in the young.
    2. to cause or influence (someone) to accept an idea or feeling (usually fol. by with): Socrates inculcated his pupils with the love of truth.

    I think it is appropriate when referring to raising children to be religious. I’m sorry that you think it is similar to Nazism but that isn’t a connection that I’d expressed.

    I disagree that religion has formed the basis for civilisation for one very good reason. There is no proof. It seem to me that religion has risen with civilisation rather than acting as a precursor to it. There is plenty of historical evidence for the evolution of religion with the evolution of societies. I’m not suggesting that we should simply ignore religion and eradicate it. Religion has certainly been a part of our culture and cultural development and we should obviously be concerned with where we came from. That wasn’t the point I was making.

    As for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster I am shocked and appalled that you refuse to recognise it as a valid faith. I refer you to venganza.org for the appropriate information about this religion. There is a belief system and a following (even a schism) that grants it just as much right to be called a religion as Scientology or Catholicism.

    That it should not receive funding or that it should be distributed evenly?

    In principle people should be free to practice their faith in whatever manner they feel appropriate, within certain society boundaries. They should have the right to raise their children in any faith if they so wish. I do not feel that it is appropriate to take money from the communal “pot” of taxes and support what is essentially a personal choice. Pragmatically though we have an education system that was extensively supported through church sponsorship and assistance. We have schools that were created through religious action. To remove funding from these schools would not be practical or in the best interests of the nation. However, as we continue to fund faith schools and to provide new funding for new schools it seems counter intuitive to deny funding for one faith that is provided for another. That leaves two choices: Drop all church school funding or fund schools regardless of their religious background. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear.

    My standpoint is that education on religion is not only constructive, it is vital to the appreciation of our moral, social and cultural roots.

    There is a difference between education about religion and education by religion. The former is informative and it enhances the richness of knowledge that we pass down to the next generation. The latter is putting forward a particular religious view. It is inherently exclusive rather than inclusive.

  10. Pingback: Dalai Lama offers $100,000 to religion department « The Magnificent Frog

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