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PM warns ‘poisonous’ religious schools

PM warns ‘poisonous’ religious schools

UK Prime Minister David Cameron issued a warning today that religious supplementary schools in England that teach children intolerance will be investigated and closed down.

According the the BBC, in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, the PM said there
was no problem with kids learning about their religion in specialised faith-based supplementary schools, but children’s minds must be broadened and not “filled with poison”.

He told delegates:

Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at a madrassa? Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it’s at madrassas, Sunday schools or Jewish yeshivas.

But in some madrassas, we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened, not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.

So I can announce this today: if an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected.

And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.

Cameron said extremist religious supplementary schools were part of a wider problem of segregation within some communities, adding extreme madrassas “incubate these divisions”.

Downing Street said that the new inspection regime would apply to religious institutions offering eight or more hours of study a week to children in England.

This could include Christian Sunday schools and Jewish yeshivas, but is more likely to cover up to 2,000 Muslim madrassas.

Many religious supplementary schools offer teaching within places of worship, but others are conducted in homes.

Currently, they are not required to register with the authorities and are not subject to inspection, but under Mr Cameron’s plans, they would have to register with the Department for Education.

Faith groups would be consulted on the precise details of how inspections should be carried out and whether they should be done by the schools watchdog, Ofsted, or another body.

The BBC understands the government will launch a consultation on the plan “swiftly”.

A Number 10 source said that Cameron’s initiative came in response to concerns raised about some madrassas by members of the Muslim community.

It was expected no problems would be found with the vast majority of madrassas, the source added.

The plans were welcomed by the counter-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation. Political liaison officer Jonathan Russell said it was “entirely sensible” to make sure the right checks and balances were in place for supplementary schools to protect all young people.

This is going to be a long-term challenge, but this is a start.

But Pascale Vassie from the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education told the BBC the plans could be counterproductive. She said:

Of course quality assurance is needed but so is support, encouragement and training. If insufficient money is spent on training and supporting what are often voluntary workers, it could be entirely counterproductive. It could even push some organisations underground.

27 responses to “PM warns ‘poisonous’ religious schools”

  1. A Confused Atheist says:

    The First Cameron Administration / Coalition Government / whatever was the creator of academies, faith schools and ‘free’ schools. What right does the PM have to complain about religious intolerance with his previous educational record?

    The only way to stamp out religious intolerance would be to shut down all schools which practise faith-teaching and stop support for CofE-maintained schools.

  2. Mike84 says:

    Damn it, Cameron. I hate having to agree with you, which I do on this issue.

    That said, if I had my way, faith schools would be outlawed completely. They’re bad for social cohesion (separating children by the beliefs of their parents is absurd). Go to after school religious clubs and events, as one would go to karate, swimming or the scouts. But to separate them during their vital school years is damaging. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that one-in-three schools are “faith-schools”.

    As for this more tougher approach to intolerant religious schools, it’s long overdue. I hope it’s more than just words though. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. Vanity Unfair says:

    Education is a devolved power so his plan does not apply to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

  4. Banging my head on the wall says:

    Dear Mr Cameron … What the fuck do you expect will happen in faith schools? Do you really think that muslim kids will be taught to respect and value kuffars, especially Jewish ones? And similarly do you really think Jewish kids will be taught to respect and value muslims? Faith schools inhibit integration, inhibit inclusion,promote divisions and hostility towards those with different beliefs, pollute the minds of children with dangerous fundamentalist dogma, propagate religious bigotry and incubate the fundamentalist trouble makers and terrorists of the future. No Mr Cameron, faith schools do not make things better. Faith schools just incite and inflame age old prejudices and conflicts.
    Faith schools must be eliminated. And anyone who does not like it can go live in the flea bitten sandpit countries where they can indoctrinate their kids as they want. You know, places such as Israel, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia for example.

  5. barriejohn says:

    A Confused Atheist:

    The First Cameron Administration / Coalition Government / whatever was the creator of academies, faith schools and ‘free’ schools.

    While I am with you in principle, you are way off with that statement. Academy Schools were the brainchild of Labour adviser, Andrew Adonis (the most inappropriately named politician ever), who was elevated to the peerage so that he could become Minister of State for Education. He has never stood for election, nor been cross-examined in the House of Commons, and is now being brought back as an adviser by…George Osborne! Isn’t life hunky-dory?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_(English_school)

  6. Broga says:

    So much of the religion in schools is being funded by the tax payers who have no say in what is happening to their money.

    Cameron should also take a look at the religion being shoved down people’s throats by the BBC and funded by the licence payers on pain of imprisonment. Or at least tackle the censorship of secular opinion.

  7. Jobrag says:

    RE in three words, it’s all pretend. Job done.

  8. Broga says:

    @Jobrag: Yup. Going through the motions. Any action will result in such a furious kick back that it will be paralysed. Sod all of significance will happen.

  9. Stephen Mynett says:

    Cameron is just after a few Brownie points for saying what people want to hear, I doubt anything will be done. Anyone wanting evidence should consider the rantings of the deranged and dangerous Iftyshitforbrains who used to post here, he basically advocated an apartheid school system with Muslims not to be educated alongside others, we had a week back a Jewish school which is trying to ban students from using the internet and television, in their homes as well, and the Christian religions are as bad with their “we are holier than thou approach”. As Hitch said: “Religion poisons everything.”

  10. Angela_K says:

    This is a lot of hot air so as not to upset the religious. Cameron’s consultation will be a sham with lots of exceptions granted so the religious can still practice their discriminatory ways. Also, these schools will still be allowed to redact exam questions and exclude parts of the curriculum that disagree with their dogma.

  11. barriejohn says:

    There’s been a reaction to this news already:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/07/muslim-leaders-voice-concerns-about-tory-crackdown-on-madrasas

    The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called on the prime minister to substantiate allegations in his speech to the Conservative party conference, in which he said that pupils in some madrasas were taught not to mix with children from other religions, were beaten, and fed conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

    Actually, almost identical things went on amongst the Plymouth Brethren when I was a member, and no one thought anything of it!

  12. barriejohn says:

    Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the Bradford Council for Mosques, has five children and six grandchildren, most of whom have either been through the madrasa system or will do so. “I think David Cameron is badly, badly informed and badly advised on the role [of] and what goes on in the madrasas,” he said.

    That’s not an old friend of ours, is it?

  13. Cali Ron says:

    Standard religious practice. Name a religion that accepts any other religion as also being the true representitive of god. They all practice us and them mentality. Religion has no place in education.

  14. Stephen Mynett says:

    Too true, one of the few who can unite people of different religions is an atheist, the one thing the religionists agree on, albeit not openly, is they are scared shitless by the thought of a world of educated who people are allowed to think rationally and voice their opinions.

    The us and them they all practice is also what makes blasphemy laws so ridiculous, as every religion is guilty of blasphemy against the others.

  15. Robster says:

    How much is this going to cost? Will the organsations that require or create the need for this kind of (expensive) oversight be meeting the cost? They don’t pay any taxes so will it be once again up to all the taxpayers or those who desires for formal religious indoctrination of their children take care of it?

  16. Trevor Blake says:

    Allow me to help identify some of the poison…

    “Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And I say the truth, why do you not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8.43-47)

    “Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so you do. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7.51-53)

    “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you and judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13.45-51)

  17. Dazed says:

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron issued a warning today that religious supplementary schools in England that teach children intolerance will be investigated and closed down.

    That’s all of them then.

  18. Stephen Mynett says:

    OT but did anyone happen to notice if the world ended yesterday: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/06/end-of-world-7-october-ebible-fellowship

  19. Angela_K says:

    Stephen Mynett. I bet these loons feel a bit silly today:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2015/10/worldend.jpg

  20. Har Davids says:

    Aren’t some of those faith-schools financed by Cameron’s chums in the Middle East, you know, the ones with lots of money and a penchant for killing people who dare to disagree with them?

  21. chrsbol says:

    I have five sons, three of them teaching. About ten years ago one of them, while teaching in London tried on several occasions to get the social services involved as the kids would arrive at school with marks on their faces and I suspect other areas. He was treated as he was the perpetrator and the kids were too scared to say that they had been beaten at the madrasa. He left and moved to a school in Bradford where he found the kids taken out in summer to visit Pakistan (mainly). They would arrive back late for term and he then had to try and catch them up with their studies at the same time trying to explain to ofsted. I mention this because Camerons speech mentioned both of these points so it’s nothing new.
    BTW he now teaches in Bangkok where the English speaking schools are good.

  22. Stephen Mynett says:

    Angerla K, the one on the right looks as though is wearing one of those yellow hard hats they have on building sites. I shall remember this the next time the world ends, obviously a good hard hat protects you against it.

  23. barriejohn says:

    You can bet your life that they won’t be fazed by this apparent failure (again!). There will be some obscure verse in Habakkuk about God delaying judgment due to his infinite and inexhaustible mercy (in which case, why would “judgment” ever come at all?), or else a simple recalculation will be required because they failed to take notice of some detail. After all, it’s all happened before:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/10/07/the-world-is-not-over/73536740/

  24. dennis says:

    @Banging my head on the wall, excellent words but you forgot a country the good old USA. we call it home school here. it so scares to me to talk to some of the children who go to these home schools, then I get those looks like don’t tell my kid that truth as they swish them from my presence.

  25. Brian Jordan says:

    sThat bit about over 8 hours a week sounds like a let-out to me. Ordinary schools teach lot of subjects in less than 8 hours a week. How long does it take to teach hating other religions or atheism? An hour a week should be more than adequate.