|Message ||. Multi-faith Schools
• A Muslim charity In Swindon is bidding to run the first Multi-faith Muslim School for Muslim and non-Muslim children and have teachers from different faiths. An hour of the timetable each day would be dedicated to studying Arabic and the Holy Quran. Non-Muslims pupils would be able to be exempted from the lessons, but it is hoped that the majority would choose to stay in class to gain more “insight” into the Islamic faith.
• In my opinion, Multifaith school is not going to be successful because non-Muslim parents would not send their children. In the past, a plan for a Multi-faith secondary school in Westminster for 1000 pupils could not be materialised because faith groups could not come to any agreement. Now even Hindu community has set up state funded school in Harrow. Black community is also thinking of setting up its own school with Black teachers.
• According to David Lammy MP, there are still too many inequalities in the education system which prevents disadvantaged children from applying to study for a degree. British schooling is wholly responsible for the inequalities. A culture of low expectation and a lack of rigour holding these pupils back. Every child must reach his full potential regardless of his background. Justice Secretary Jack Straw MP said British society should be one which recognizes and celebrates differences. One in which we all have an opportunity to flourish, regardless of who we are or where we are from. British schooling has been trying to integrate and assimilate Muslim community through education in the name of integration. The Imams and Masajid have been playing their parts to keep Islamic faith alive, but that is not enough. British schooling does not promote global cohesion. It does not encourage dialogue and increases understanding.
• Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. They need to learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. They need to learn and be well versed in Arabic to recite and understand the Holy Quran. They need to learn and be well versed in Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.
• Iftikhar Ahmad