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Monday, November 22, 2010

In Britain’s Saudi-Backed Islamic Schools, Objectionable Lessons

LONDON — A British network of more than 40 part-time Islamic schools and clubs with 5,000 students has been teaching from a Saudi Arabian government curriculum that contains anti-Semitic and homophobic views, including a textbook that asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, according to an investigation by a BBC television documentary unit to be broadcast on Monday .

A Web site article and accompanying video clip released in advance of the 30-minute Panorama program quoted the textbook as saying that Jews “looked like monkeys and pigs”. The article quoted a separate part of the curriculum — for children as young as six — saying that someone who is not a believer in Islam at death would be condemned to “hellfire”.

A commentary on the video said the textbooks had been obtained by an “undercover” Saudi Arabian researcher from one of the schools and clubs, which meet in the evenings and on the weekend in a network overseen by the cultural bureau of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London.
Read the rest here.

7 comments:

gdelassu said...

The article quoted a separate part of the curriculum — for children as young as six — saying that someone who is not a believer in Islam at death would be condemned to “hellfire”.

Are we supposed to find this objectionable? I can certainly agree that anti-Semitism is bad and that the examples from the textbook about Jews looking like monkeys are objectionable. I would have no qualms, however, about my son (age 4) learning in his Sunday school that those who do not believe in Christ will go to Hell. Why should one object when Islamic schools teach the analogous lesson vis-à-vis Islam?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Orthodoxy does not teach that everyone who isn't Orthodox at death will necessarily go to hell.

Anonymous said...

One reason to find it objectionable is that it is false.

It is also not the teaching of Holy Orthodoxy that "those who do not believe in Christ will go to Hell."

Anonymous said...

But many Christians do teach that those who do not believe go to hell.

Anonymous said...

"But many Christians do teach that those who do not believe go to hell."

And we call them wrong.

gdelassu said...

It is also not the teaching of Holy Orthodoxy that "those who do not believe in Christ will go to Hell."

If you say so, I (a Catholic) will happily defer to you. I have no idea what Orthodoxy really teaches on this point and strongly suspect that no one else does either, but it is not a point that I particularly wish to debate.

And we call them wrong.

Fine. I would note, however, that the article being quoted here suggests that more is being contemplated than just calling the Saudi textbooks "wrong."

"Michael Gove, the education minister in the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, said ... that Ofsted, the government-appointed agency with oversight of education and children’s services, would be 'reporting to us shortly' on measures to tighten oversight of part-time schools, whose teaching is currently free of the controls imposed on full-time schools."

Now if "tightening oversight" means simply excising the anti-semitic bits from the textbooks, fine. I can certainly see why a government might want to stifle calls for inter-ethnic violence in its domain. If, on the other hand, it means dictating what Islamic schools are allowed to teach about Islamic soteriology, that strikes me as a touch more worrisome. That is a slippery slope onto which we should be wary of treading.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

If, on the other hand, it means dictating what Islamic schools are allowed to teach about Islamic soteriology, that strikes me as a touch more worrisome.?

Don't worry. Wahabbists and Shi'ites will soon be a market-dominant majority in much of Britain and you can be assured that their children will be steeped in 100% unexpurgated Islamic soteriology.