Scottish first minister backs state funded Muslim faith school

    Scotland’s first state-funded Islamic school could get the go-ahead within months after First Minister Alex Salmond declared he was “sympathetic” towards the controversial move. Campaigners are planning to submit a detailed proposal for the faith school to Glasgow City Council within two months and officials last night confirmed they would consult on the proposal. But former Scottish education minister Sam Galbraith condemned the move as a “retrograde step”, arguing that it would be bad for the Muslim community by hindering integration. Scotland has around 43,000 Muslims, about 18,000 of them in Glasgow. While there are more than 100 Islamic schools south of the border, both private and state-supported, Scottish Muslims have so far failed to establish a faith school and some in the community question whether it is a good idea in an age of increased ethnic and religious tension. Scotland has more than 400 publicly funded Roman Catholic schools as well as three state-supported Scottish Episcopalian schools and a publicly funded Jewish school. A spokesman for Salmond said: “We are very much sympathetic to the idea. The First Minister is supportive. He thinks that faith schools are a good thing and they make a great contribution to Scotland. The issue is whether there is a sustainable demand for them. “We would expect a local authority to react positively where there is a sustainable case.”

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