Who is responsible for Islamic education in Britain?

Western curricular and Muslim needs are always a source for dispute. An article in The Economist demonstrates a visit to a state school with 98 percent Muslim pupils. While the non-Muslim head teacher praises the children’s spirituality and the school caters for their needs, some concessions are controversial. After the intervention of some parents sex education no longer takes place in the lessons. Swimming is segregated by sex and some families withdraw their children from aerobics because they disapprove of music. There is also a huge demand for Islamic schools where these issues do not have to be debated.

The article also points to the fact that a lot of time is spent on religious education outside of school, but the instructors fail to apply faith to everyday life. Learning by rote and the focus on Urdu and Arabic has little connection to the lives of British Muslim teenagers. This illustrates that it is important to teach religion since Islam plays such a significant role in British urban life. However, it is the government’s responsibility to step in and set the curricular for religious and all other education.

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