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Original Message
Forum Muslim Schools 
Topic There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the UK 
Author Faisal K 
Date Created 01/11/2003 07:14:26 
Message Hi there (a.a.),

I'm a secondary school teacher, who has been teaching in the London area of the country for the past four years now. It is my first time on this website, I was just struck by how opinions are skewed towards the idea of Muslim schools being the panacea for the woes that trouble the Muslim communities around the country.

I work in an ordinary state school and aside from being a boys' comprehensive there is little in common with any notional 'Islamic' school that we may have in our minds. Nevertheless we have two Muslim teachers within the school, who help co-ordinate a programme of prayer meetings every Friday, Zuhr prayers every lunchtime at this time of year, and generally deal with the everyday issues that trouble Muslim pupils within the school of 700, of which at least 10% of pupils are practicing Muslims.

I cannot see and have not heard of any convincing argument that would place the establishment of a Muslim-only school, at a better advantage over having more practicing Muslim teachers within the state sector. Teacher shortages are at an all-time high and with such a recruitment crisis the Muslim professionals of today should actively be encouraging ourselves to enter teaching upon graduation. Unfortunately, banking and other work sectors seem to have the same amounts of attraction as they do towards the more talented graduates from secular and other faith backgrounds. The same dilemma have affected the NHS with the recruitment of nurses from abroad. As well as language difficulties, the lure of money in this country may not necessarily equate to something justifying an end to its means.

My final point is concern for academic success - I cannot see any real reason to think that having a child educated in a faith school will boost academic results. Furthermore if we are more concerned about their moral and spiritual development, aren't we fighting for the wrong cause? Should we not be focussing on having better parenting from Muslim families?

I'm interested in anyone's replies.

Faisal K.

Muslims seem to want things on a plate I conclude from the majority of people that I speak to about this who have no real arguments or the establishment of Muslim faith schools. Why cannot Muslims engage themselves and partition their own time into caring and understanding their children's experiences in the schools that they are at? Parents are a powerful force within education and if the majority of pupils are muslim in a school they can bring about changes through the Parent Associations that are in place already. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Where do these supporters of Islamic schools think that they can get teachers from? I think the idea of getting the right quality staff from abroad is just pie in the sky. Is it right also to take away good quality staff from other countries that may be economically less well off? The same moral  
Topic Re: There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the UK 
Author Penny 
Date Created 15/11/2003 12:54:57 
Message Dear Faisal,

What an excellent post! It is good to hear from someone actually teaching! You have very eloquently put the case; lack of parental involvement and language difficulties are probably the major problems that exist in state schools. Elsewhere on these threads, I have advocated more involvement at a primary level, particularly by mothers; unfortunately, the language barrier is one of the obstacles to this solution. Iftikhar is very keen on bi-lingualism, but only in one language! Thank you for your sensible comments. It is to be hoped that others will read them! 
Topic Re: There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the UK 
Author Nigel 
Date Created 21/07/2004 20:51:02 
Message Super post - odd that there is no reply from Iftikhar.... 
Topic Re: There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the 
Author abby 
Date Created 27/07/2004 08:08:16 
Message Hi,

I don't think its a case of Muslim parents not wanting to help their kids in education but rather a case of not knowing how to. I, for example, went through the British educational system - from nursery to University - and i've now started work as an English teacher. throughout my educational life, my parents could help me only in Mathematics and nothing else, because they struggled with the language. I had to make do with going to the library and working things out on my own. I think many other families are like this too. if we could raise the level of English amongst Muslim families, we would see a near universal change in parental attitudes and contributions to their children's education.

Topic Re: There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the UK 
Author shahzad 
Date Created 16/09/2004 18:13:23 
Message kabuter waa kabuter baaz waa baaz 
Topic Re: There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the UK 
Author Sunni 
Date Created 29/09/2004 16:09:27 
Message I just received an e-mail that I am so angered by, I must respond and enquire as to who funds this educational trust. Any public body would distance themselves massivley from this utter rubbish.

"It is very difficult to find a virgin teenager in modern British society. Abstinence is the only way to stay disease and pregnant free."
I don't know what circles you hang around in Iftikhar but I know of many virgin teenagers.

"The British Humanist regards it the latest cranky Christian concept from America and has the full support of George W Bush with one million dollars as part of his campaign to replace sex education."

George Bush supports this. Iftikhar, if that doesn't provide a hint then nothing will.

"Western society is really un- interested in having sex free life before marriage."

Nice generalisation.

"Thousands of high street chemists are to be told they may be allowed to sell the morning-after pill without prescription to girls under 16."

Don't moan about high pregnancy rates and then dispute methods intended to reduce them.

"Muslim pupils need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers to develop Islamic Identity."

What has that got to do with the rest of your argument? Besides many good arguments have been made against your constrant stream of effluent about Muslim schools and you've responded to none of them.

"In Afghanistan 99.9% of teenagers are virgin."

I strongly suspect that this is a lie. where did you get this statistic? Does that include the teenagers raped by the Taliban?

"The reason is that all teenager girls leave homes wearing Afghani Burkhas. There is no mix gathering. They attend single sex schools. They marry as early as possible.
The success of chastity crusade will depend on the number of teenagers leaving homes for schools with Jilbab or Afghani Burkhas."

Are you seriously suggestring that women should be encouraged to wear Afghani Burkhas in school? In our commmunities? I think you should wear an Afghani Burkha Iftikhar- maybe this will present you from propogating your lies and stupidity. I have never come across such foolishness- not since I last heard from al muhajiroun (I'm sure they are very good friends of yours). Nothing has depressed me this week as much as your e-mail, for it shows a level of ignorance I had hitherto considered the sole property of racist bigots.

Thank you 
Topic Re: There is no need to have Muslim Schools in the UK 
Author Iftikhar 
Date Created 28/10/2012 22:17:26 
Message More than 200 pupils from Al-Hijrah Primary School are taught at a school in Saltley because there isn’t room for them at the Bordesley Green site.

It's the Birmingham school which is the top choice for parents – yet is so cramped that playground games are banned.

Lessons are taught in leaking classrooms, while pupils jostle for somewhere to sit and eat a hurried snack every lunchtime.

But despite staff complaining some students feel like “third class citizens”, Al-Hijrah Secondary School in Bordesley Green is one of the most oversubscribed in the country.

The Birmingham Mail revealed earlier this month it was by far the top choice secondary for city parents, with nearly 20 children battling for every available place.

The voluntary-aided Islamic school was deluged with 1,101 applications for just 60 places for the 2012/13 intake.

Yet it occupies an ageing Edwardian building, just off the Bordesley Green Road, along with the Al-Hijrah Primary School.

The building, which is run by the Al-Hijrah School Trust, can cope with a maximum of 780 pupils.

The trust is working with the local authority to find to a new site but until then teachers and students are making the best of what limited space they have.

Deputy head Mohammed Nawaz said the school had “outgrown” the existing building.

"Our main, and only, hall is used as a lunchtime hall, and has little dining facilities,” he said.

“We are in a situation where children have just minutes to eat their meals sitting on the floor.

“Girls and boys eat separately, and they have a few minutes to get their lunch, eat it and then tidy up for the next group to come in.

“The playground is a small open space and there are just too many pupils. We’ve had to ban any football games or ball games to stop accidents.

“All the children can do is stand in packs, which isn’t conducive to the idea that every child matters.

“How can children be healthy when they have little choice in what they can eat, have to rush their food and have limited access to an outdoor playing area?”

Break-time isn’t the only part of the day which poses problems for staff, as a lack of outdoor space means some PE lessons are taught in nearby parks, schools and colleges.

“We have very few places for children to play,” added Mr Nawaz.

“In terms of changing facilities there just aren’t any – you are getting children having to change in the classrooms, or in the toilets, it’s not ideal.

“We have used parks, but that is a risk. You come across people that are drunk, dogs chasing pupils.

“The Government asked us to put in two hours of PE per year group, per week, but it’s difficult. We do work with Joseph Chamberlain College and Bordesley Green Girls School for our PE, but it takes time to get there and back.”

Nearly 240 pupils from Al-Hijrah Primary School are currently being taught at Nansen Road School in Saltley because there just isn’t room for them at the Bordesley Green site.

And it was hoped a number of temporary classrooms installed at the front of the site could ease the crowded conditions.

But planning permission could be rejected after it was found that the cabins were in a “hazardous zone” as they were constructed next to a factory.

The matter is to be discussed at a Birmingham City Council planning committee meeting.

Until a decision is made, the cabins lie empty while children continue to be taught in two classrooms which have been partitioned off due to ceiling damage.

The headteacher has to keep five buckets in his office at all times to collect rainwater in case of downpours.

“I know the local authority is trying its best to help us bridge the gaps, but there is no money for a new site,” said Mr Nawaz.

“The difficulty we have is that we are successful and popular school that is not being given access to a bigger building.

‘‘We are city-wide, we do not have catchment areas so we could be placed elsewhere.

“The most important thing the community needs is a timeframe drawn up that the school will be placed on a bigger site.”

Birmingham City Council said it was “offering support” to the Al-Hijrah School Trust to resolve the accommodation issues.

“As a result of a recent planning application submitted by the school, new information has come to light regarding planning restrictions on the site,” a council spokesman said.

“Consequently, temporary provision that the school has provided to accommodate increased pupil numbers cannot yet be occupied.

“Temporary alternative provision has been offered by the local authority in partnership with Nansen Primary School and Park View Academy, to ensure Al-Hijrah School students can attend school.

“The local authority will continue to offer support to the Al-Hijrah School Trust as they seek solutions to their current accommodation issues.”

Despite the issues, Al-Hijrah remains successful.

Pupils hail from all parts of the city and Mr Nawaz said the trust wanted to open both the primary and secondary schools to take children from other faiths, once a suitable site is found.

He said: “Not only are we popular, but we get good results, despite the predicament we are in. If we had a bigger site with more pupils, then we could achieve far more given more space and more opportunities.

“It would be wonderful to offer the education we have here to people of other faiths, or people of no faith, as well as the Islamic faith.

" But the fact is that we can’t cope with the number of Muslim students, let alone anyone else across the community.

“The pupils feel themselves that they are third class citizens. They see their cousins, their friends, their neighbours going off to other schools with all these great facilities. We barely have what other schools have.”

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