Islamic academic out of step with Muslims

Islamic academic out of step with Muslims

A leading academic – Dr Ali Selim – has called on all Catholic schools in Ireland to allow their Muslim pupils to wear the hijab and tailor their uniforms to ‘respect their religious identity’.

But two Islamic organisations as well as atheists and evangelicals have rejected his views.

According to this report, although Selim has been involved in Ireland’s inter-faith dialogue for more than a decade, the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (IFI) and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) – the official body for Islamic education in Ireland – have taken opposing views.

The IFI said said in a statement:

As patron of the Muslim National schools in Ireland since 1990, we can confidently assert that such opinions are neither shared by the IFI, the ICCI nor the majority of participating members in the Islamic community here.

The IFI praised schools and management bodies such as Educate Together and the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA) and said many Muslim children have passed through primary, secondary and third-level education without losing their cultural or religious identity.

We have found that Catholic school managements have made wonderful efforts to make their schools as inclusive as possible without losing their own ethos.

With regard to schools’ admission policies, the IFI said:

We acknowledge that there is always pressure on schools and on parents of all denominations and no faith seeking places, which sometimes results with many parents not receiving their first choice.

Trinity College lecturer Selim said:

The hijab for Muslims is an essential aspect of character. Depriving Muslims of the right to wear hijabs is very threatening to their identity.

Although there is no legal ban on the hijab in Irish schools, Selim said wearing the headscarf is a “divine obligation” for Muslim girls and urged schools to be more flexible about incorporating it as part of their uniform.

In today’s society we need to apply a more pluralistic approach when it comes to the school uniform.

Selim, whose five children attend Catholic schools, also wants religious crests on school uniforms to be removed.

The author of a new book called Islam and Education in Ireland, Selim also accused some Catholic schools of having “discriminatory admission policies”.

Atheist Ireland said Dr Selim’s version of inclusivity was “not practical”. Said chairperson Michael Nugent:

If he wants schools to promote specific beliefs of other groups then he should recognise that the Islamic schools should also openly respect atheism and other religious views. The only realistic way you can have proper inclusivity in education is to have a system that is neutral rather than one than manifests all beliefs.

Atheist Ireland has found an unlikely ally: the Evangelical Alliance Ireland, which has called for a secular educational system in Irish schools, as proposed by AI.

Commenting on the controversy sparked by Selim, EAI has said its position was closer to that of Atheist Ireland.

EAI executive director Nick Park said:

Evangelical Christians have often felt alienated by an educational system that they are expected to fund as taxpayers, but which has largely been run by branches of the Catholic Church. For example, the amount of time devoted to Catholic rites of passage such as First Communion creates a dilemma for evangelical parents.

Should we allow our children to sit through religious activities which are contrary to our beliefs? Or should we ask that our children be exempted?


21 responses to “Islamic academic out of step with Muslims”

  1. Adam Tjaavk says:

    The usual procedure is brainwashing;
    I prefer what’s called education.

    World Religions for Kids


  2. AgentCormac says:

    To quote T. F. Gumby, My brain hurts!

    Why? Because it is so bloody obvious. Just get rid of all religion from all schools. Not only will the perceived problems of uniforms, crests, cultural and religious ‘identity’ and feck knows what else besides disappear in the blink of an eye, the next generation of children might actually grow up to be tolerant, sane and superstition-free individuals.

    Doh!! Stupid me. That is, of course, precisely what their lords and masters fear most.

  3. L.Long says:

    Don’t like the normal dress of the schools? Gather all your women haters into one location, then start your own schools with your own rules.
    Quick way to do this …move to middle east! May not like living there but your girls will have to wear there tents.

  4. 1859 says:

    ‘ …it is a “divine obligation” to wear the hijab…’ Only some self-confessed cretin can really believe this! What does it really imply – that there is some wholly MALE entity sitting in the sky to whom women must show respect by covering their heads and faces. This is such blatant, infantile nonsense! What it really is about, is power, control and submission of women by men – something that has been around for a long, long time. To pretend it is all about some prick in the sky whom a woman must appease and respect is simply dumb.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    “In today’s society we need to apply a more pluralistic approach when it comes to the school uniform.”

    Non-muslims need to accommodate Muslims in non-muslim countries, and Muslims need to be accommodated in Muslim countries by non-muslims. Got it. As long as everyone is a Muslim we can all get along. As Muslims.

    Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

  6. Matt Westwood says:

    School uniforms have their benefits.

  7. TrickyDicky says:

    @Trevor Blake

    “As long as everyone is a Muslim we can all get along”

    That is true as long as they are the right kind of Muslims.

  8. barriejohn says:

    1859: You’ve hit the proverbial nail right on the head. The Abrahamic god is a homophobic, misogynistic old man who finds menstruation and gay sex “abhorrent”. And how do we know that? Because it says so in a book written by homophobic, misogynistic old men over two thousand years ago. You couldn’t make it up! They are terrified of independent, strong-minded women, and must do all in their power to subjugate them. The idea that they are somehow “liberating” them by forcing them to cover their bodies and faces is laughable in the extreme (the men don’t have to do it); THEY are the ones who treat their women as mere sex objects. Talk about turning the facts on their head!

  9. Brian Jordan says:

    [i]Selim said wearing the headscarf is a “divine obligation” for Muslim girls [/i]
    I think that there are plenty of people, more knowledgeable about Islam than I am, who would agree that no such obligation was “handed down” according to their mythology. It’s typical “gold plating”.

  10. sailor1031 says:

    “Non-muslims need to accommodate Muslims in non-muslim countries, and Muslims need to be accommodated in Muslim countries by non-muslims. Got it. As long as everyone is a Muslim we can all get along. As Muslims.”

    It’s called the “peace of islam”. All the rest either dead or enslaved while the muslims get on with the big war – the one between shia and sunni. It’ll be very peaceful when that’s over with but I don’t think there’ll be much left in the middle east.

  11. Broga says:

    It’s to do with mind control and the ancillary bits like dress, FGM, stoning adulterous women, treating women like serfs, killing gays is all part of it. What is essential to them, and why they emphasise the ancillary bits, is that the core psychopathy must never be exposed to analysis and critical thought.

    To think, to accept and never to question is essential. Otherwise the incredible beliefs cannot be sustained.

  12. Angela_K says:

    “Non-muslims need to accommodate Muslims in non-muslim countries”

    Typical intolerant islam, everything one has to kowtow to their bizarre, irrational whims and those that refuse are seen as persecuting them. Muslims have absolutely no desire to integrate or assimilate as others have done in the UK.

  13. Adam Tjaavk says:

    Philip Pullman and Stephen Law

    “Why Philip Pullman wants to
    teach children about atheism”
    in The Independent Education supplement, March 2006

    ‘The War for Children’s Minds is a brilliantly clear and convincingly argued defence of liberalism in moral education. Stephen Law examines and demolishes all the arguments in favour of authoritarian ways of teaching, and shows that in spite of the insistence of popular commentators from the religious right, a liberal and rational examination and discussion of moral questions does not lead to relativism and the decay of ethical behaviour, but can in fact be the best defence against them. This book won’t be read by popular journalists: they will attack it without reading it. But it should be read by every teacher, every parent, and every politician. What’s more, it should form the subject for discussion in every church, synagogue, mosque, and religious youth group. It’s one of the most engaging as well as one of the most necessary books that I’ve ever read in the field of moral education.’ – Philip Pullman


  14. AgentCormac says:

    The BHA is asking for donations to help with its excellent work in combating religious influence and segregation in schools. If you’ve got anything you can chip in you can do so here:

  15. Paul Cook says:

    In Turkey a newspaper publishes photos of new borns and tots.
    It’s sort of cute – until the photo I saw of (about) a four month old baby girl with a headscarf.

  16. 1859 says:

    @Paul Cook: Any chance you can post this photo? Thanks.

  17. Paul Cook says:

    1859 – I didn’t buy that particular paper – but will get future editions- will be a few weeks as am not in TR at present!

  18. barriejohn says:

    Like this one, for example:

    You have to be careful that it really IS for religious reasons, of course. Don’t forget that many fundamentalist Christians also require young girls to “cover their heads” – though not for sexual reasons. You can see them out shopping in little family groups sometimes (the girls are obviously not allowed out without a chaperone). Mothers and daughters (usually several!) wearing long skirts (that IS for modesty) and little headscarves to indicate their “subservience” (they are often referred to disparagingly as “token headcoverings” by other Christians). There has to be something wrong with parents who want to exercise this much control over their offspring.

  19. Maggie says:

    ‘ …it is a “divine obligation” to wear the hijab…’

    First prove “divine”.

  20. Stephen Turner says:

    A bit hard to see why Selim should be taken seriously as an academic if he thinks that wearing something is a divine obligation. It does nothing for the reputation of TCD either.

  21. John Dowdle says:

    I agree with the comment about his academic credentials.
    Could the College not find someone better?
    If this character has his way, he will turn Ireland into the next Islamic State.
    Won’t it be fun having that just across the Irish Sea?