Eastern Eye – Mosque leaders oppose religious schools clampdown


A group representing 400 mosques in Britain has rejected government proposals which require around 2,000 Islamic religious schools to be registered and inspected.

The government earlier launched a consultation on the new rules as part of its counter-extremism strategy which ends on Monday.

In its response to the consultation, the Northern Council of Mosques said it encroached upon religious freedom.

“Government sanctioned religious education will lead to alienated faith communities and unduly encroaches on the legitimate right of faith providers to teach their children their faith,” the council said.

“We believe the definition of ‘extremism’, which lies at the heart of the regulation of religious education in out-of-school settings, is open to abuse due to its vague definition. The term ‘extremism’ is potentially all encompassing, vague and lacks any legal certainty,” it added.

David Cameron first announced his intentions to register the schools known as madrassas in October last year.

In response, a coalition of mosques and Muslim organisations have been promoting the “Keep Mosques Independent” campaign opposing the plans which will be drafted into law next week.

“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 had announced.

There are believed to be around 2,000 madrassas in the UK. They teach Muslim children subjects such as Arabic to recite the Quran and lessons in the principles and practices of their faith.

The Northern Council of Mosques, with a membership in cities including Bradford, Manchester and Rochdale, has said the proposals to monitor their “out-of-school settings” would adversely affect children’s development.

Source: Eastern Eye

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