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Original Message
Author Iftikhar Ahmad 
Topic Association of Muslim Governors 
Date Entered 11/05/2007 22:52:25 
Message Established 1981
London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Email: info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667
Association of Muslim Governors
There is a shortage of school governors and it is difficult to find a Muslim governor in a state schools. A campaign has started to recruit more and more Muslim governors. In 2003, there were only 53 Muslim schools and now there are more than 126 full-time Muslim schools and more are in the pipe line because of racism and anti-Muslim feeling in state schools. The silent majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools. In my opinion, AOMG and MCB should campaign for more state funded Muslim schools rather than asking for more Muslim governors in state schools. Muslim children are disadvantaged by an education system that perpetuates inequalities. British media and schooling tried their best to mirror Islamic cultural values as inferior, backward traditions and unworthy. This cultural obliteration is being made possible by the negation of the right to speak Urdu and Arabic as well as choice of dress.

I think that Muslim governors in state schools are not going to bring any kind of change. I became the first Muslim governor in Newham in the 70s but left after three years. I was the only Muslim governors and I found it a waste of time. In the 90s, Stratford school in Newham was opted out by the board of governors from the LEA. Majority of governors were Muslims. Within a year there was a conflict with the non-Muslim head teacher and the Secretary of State for Education dismissed all the governors and appointed new governors. The head teacher took early retirement and was awarded round about two hundred and fifty thousands pounds as a reward for getting rid of Muslim governors

There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, those schools should be designated as Muslim community schools. State funded Muslim schools are the solution and not the problem. Muslim pupils are bilingual. Bilingualism strengthens their cultural identity and foster educational success. It is such a gift to a child, that it is irresponsible not to encourage its natural development. Trilingual 11-years olds outperform monolingual children in reading tests. They are five times more likely to get five A-C grades at GCSE than those who don’t. Bilingualism and biculturalism should be valued and recognized by the teachers. If children’s education leads them to believe that the language of their parents is somehow “inferior”, the chances of their feeling out of place in their extra-familial environment are likely to be greater (“banlieux” of Paris, November 2005?). Telling them to “go home”, to a “home” where they were not born, is no sort of a solution. The price of ignoring children’s bilingualism is educational failure and social exclusion. Learning to read in three languages has social, emotional and cognitive advantages, according to a study of 5-7 years olds in Watford. The children learn English, Urdu and Arabic at the same time at the age of five.
Iftikhar Ahmad

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