Unregistered religious schools are promoting intolerance

Unregistered religious schools are promoting intolerance

The British Humanist Association has praised a move by UK education watchdog Ofsted to shut down unregistered schools operating outside the law in England.

After Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw, above, was reported here as saying there is a serious and growing threat to the safety of children of schools run mainly for Muslims, the BHA said it was glad the problem of unregistered schools –” the majority of which we know are religious” – is finally being tackled.

Every year that these schools are either allowed to stay open, or else are able to evade detection, thousands more children are subjected to indoctrination, to abuse, and to an education so limited and blinkered that it can scarcely be described as an education at all.

Ofsted says it found a narrow Islam-focused curriculum in the latest three schools it investigated in Birmingham. In the three Birmingham settings, 94 children were being subjected to hardline Islamic indoctrination.

In one, conditions were described as unhygienic and filthy, with staff who had not been screened for their suitability to work with children. Inspectors also found books described as inappropriate, with texts including:

Misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic material.

The three places visited by Ofsted at the end of November brought the total of unregistered education centres inspected in recent months to 18.

Of these, the only one to have been named is Bordesley Independent School, in Birmingham.

Writing formally to the education secretary, Sir Michael says he believes the number of children in unregistered schools could be far higher and warns that Ofsted’s work to promote British values is being undermined by the growth of these unregistered schools.

Sir Michael told the BBC:

While most of the places visited by Ofsted so far have been in Muslim communities, inspectors may also turn their attention to similar unregistered tuition centres operated by other groups.

It will apply across the board, to any religious group whether Muslim group, Jewish group, or Christian group who wants to operate this sort of provision in unsafe accommodation, in unhygienic and filthy accommodation.

It will apply to all religious groups, I want to make that absolutely clear.

Meanwhile an employment tribunal in Birmingham has heard evidence that a teaching assistant at the Trojan Horse-linked Adderley Primary School in Saltley was left with a stammer over taunts she wasn’t a “good Muslim”.

Shakila Hussain claimed that colleagues taunted her and said she wasn’t a “good Muslim” as she refused to wear a headscarf.

Hussain said the bullying by fellow Muslim teaching assistants Rehena Khanom, Yasmin Akhtar and Shahnaz Bibi left her feeling so stressed she developed a stammer.

Hussain was giving evidence at a tribunal in which the three teaching assistants from the school are claiming unfair dismissal – along with a fourth teaching assistant, Hilary Owens.

They allege that resignation letters they purportedly signed and sent to headteacher Rizvana Darr at the end of 2012 were forgeries .

Visibly emotional while giving evidence, Hussain said:

They were always making disrespectful comments about me, about the way I was dressed, telling me I couldn’t bring my daughter up properly because I wasn’t a good Muslim and I wasn’t a good role model.

Hussain, who has worked at the school for almost 15 years, said in her witness statement:

The claimants questioned the strength of my faith and alleged that I could not be a good Muslim as I chose not to cover my head.

I felt extremely intimidated by this confrontation and personally offended by the nature of their comments.

She said Khanom and Akhtar targeted her as soon as she returned from maternity leave in April 2006.

They would regularly visit me and ask if I had yet become a good Muslim. I was always so taken aback at the rudeness that I rarely responded.

And she claimed a group of Salafi Muslim parents also critcised both her and Mrs Darr for they way they dress.

Last week the tribunal heard evidence that Darr demanded all images of pigs be removed from the school’s library books, as well as instituting Islamic assemblies and bringing in an imam to conduct Friday prayers with male pupils.

15 responses to “Unregistered religious schools are promoting intolerance”

  1. Actionman says:

    Terrorist Incubators …
    Faithschool menace …
    There is no room for Faith Schools if you want a country of cooperative mutually respectful grown up rational constructive well educated inclusive well balanced citizens.
    Vet Governors to elimate Trojan Horse fundamentalists squeezing out staff that respect educational standards.
    Outlaw all faith schools. Outlaw home education (indoctrination).
    Ban religious icons and clothing from school.
    No segration of sexes or faiths.
    PE for all.
    RE only to put religion in its true context.
    No religious observance in schools.
    Replace the compulsory religious observance with a celebration of human achievement.
    No Priests or Clerics allowed on the premises.
    Really …I mean it. If parents want to retard and convert kids into bigots emigrate to a country where their beliefs are rampant.

  2. Broga says:

    The most effective response is the one the government doesn’t want to consider. Encourage secular thought; expose the incredible beliefs on which religions are based; reveal the toxic contents of their holy books and tackle with vigour and determination vile religious practices like FGM, halal and the abuse of women.

    Instead we are forced to pay for faith schools and the BBC, which censors secular opinions, is a blatant propagandist for religion. We need to uproot the toxic weed of religion instead of nurturing it.

  3. barriejohn says:

    Only the unregistered schools? Pull the other one, Mr Wilshaw!

  4. Newspaniard says:

    Time to stop taxpayer subsidies to religious education establishments. Time to insist that all education paid for by the state be totally secular with no concessions to religious dress codes or symbols.

    While they are at it they can also throw the bishops out of the House Of Lords as they are an anachronism and should have no influence in the drafting of UK law.

  5. Angela_K says:

    We are now reaping the whirlwind for failing to stop these religious schools as those that have been through this indoctrination now conspire against the West and our freedoms. And it isn’t just Muslim schools, Christian and Jewish schools teach intolerance, leave out bits of the curriculum they don’t like and redact exams question that may challenge their dogma. Religious schools have no place in the 21st because they are divisive.

  6. gegsieline says:

    Faith schools have one and only one reason for their existence and that’s to get as much dogma into young minds in the shortest time possible. If our parliamentarians held the same worldview of the vast majority of the public there would be no faith schools. As it stands there’s just too many opportunities for the superstitious to get into parliament and the classroom and promote ideas that have nothing to do with the career’s they follow and everything to do with the worldview they follow.

  7. SallyinMI says:

    Interesting that he is only targeting Muslim schools right now. I know what he says he wants to do, but time will tell whether this roundup will include schools of other faiths.
    Religious indoctrination starts early because those kids are the future of the faith. I was in a Presbyterian Church recently, and the pastor warned the congregants that if they didn’t have their kids on board before they were 18, that the church would be ‘lost.’ Frankly, if you have to brainwash children to continue the church, of what value are your beliefs? Seems to me that you should be concerned about having thinking adults accepting your beliefs, if they are valid at all.

  8. barriejohn says:

    SallyinMI: I’ve said this here before. When we were arranging my father’s funeral, I heard the local – very evangelical – Anglican vicar telling the guy who was to conduct the service that they were getting church members onto all the governing bodies of the local schools. This gives them influence in setting the curriculum, access to school assemblies and RE lessons, and, of course, something which those who have never been involved in the education system don’t always appreciate, the appointment of new teachers (I know that it was being such an outspoken Christian that got me my first appointment!). That’s the way that they work, and they are always so thankful that “God” answers their prayers.

  9. Gerald says:

    I was a Primary School Governor for 6 years in a very small village school. I had to fight an Evangelistic Head over many issues. The only way I could stop him burning candles around a make shift altar with a wooden crucifix and draped with synthetic lacy mesh flounces was to get the Fire Prevention Officer in to declare it a serious fire hazard. The FPO signed my H&S Report. Thereafter the Head had to use little battery powered ‘flame’ lights and he was not at all happy. He thought the candle flames represented something spiritual or living and the solemn candle lighting precursor part of his mini services had to be replaced with just flicking a few switches. He considered it a travesty … He’d rather risk setting fire to the place than giving up his ‘living flame’candles.

  10. Gerald says:

    Expell god from school … totally. It’s the only way. The pious know religion will be extinct in a couple of generations once they cannot pollute the minds of children.

  11. John says:

    This problem exists because those in power want it to exist.
    How could it possibly be otherwise?
    They want fully centralised control while – at the same time – wanting to withdraw the state from all forms of social provision. Square that circle!
    They want social provision to be borne by others, which is why they are happy to preside over the growth of food banks and cult schools.
    It enable them to stay in power through levying low taxation.
    The only real alternative is for secularists to open their own schools for the benefit of secular freethinking parents and their children.
    Expecting central government to do the job for us is delusional stupidity.
    “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein.
    Until freethinkers take direct action on this matter, nothing will change.

  12. andym says:

    Some people put up with faith schools because they think that at least the religious are funding education. Not true. As I understand it, the faith in question has to put up a certain amount of money at their inception. Henceforth they are funded in perpetuity by the state.

    Imagine the admittedly unlikely scenario of a Humanist school refusing pupils the chance to debate religious ,matters. The right-wing press would have field day. But the equivalent censorship exists every minute of every school day.

  13. David Anderson says:

    Calling Iffy…1…2…3.

  14. barriejohn says:

    David Anderson: You’re too late. He visited last night and left another of his wonderful copy-and-paste jobs. I immediately notified Barry, who vaporized it!