Faith schools

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Postby Tamblius » Wed Dec 12, 2001 5:59 pm

I think we need a little more about current affairs on these boards, and here's a very topical one.<P>The Cantle Report on the Race Riots in the summer comes at the same time as the Home Secretary's slightly un-Blairite yet necessary comments on the state of segregation in the northern mill towns, predominantly between whites and subcontinental Muslims. The situation appears even to have declined over the past decades, with 'white flight' occurring whenever immigrant neighbours appear, so that there is a serious self-imposed apartheid situation. Defeatist and partionist views expressed by the inhabitant whites and Asians on Newsnight on Tuesday seem to demonstrate to me the lack of any great commitment or willingness between the communities to live and work together.<P>The Cantle Report suggests that Faith Schools are potentially divisive. It also recommends that existing ones be obliged to have a 25% intake of non-religious students. Now, as my colleague Ahmed has made clear to me, there are 4696 C of E schools as opposed to 3 Muslim ones. It remains the case, however, that schools in the partitioned areas often have 99% of one ethnicity, which is possibly even worse than organised faith designation. The government has also rejected the 25% non-religious recommendation.<P>My limited knowledge of the topic limits what I shall say at this stage, but it is clear that this kind of isolationism and the resultant vilifying of opposing communities and estates, especially among young people at school, is terribly destructive to a coherent society. Whatever the reasons for the lack of integration in these parts of the country, a cycle has arisen in which the emnity that comes from isolationism prevents people branching out from their existing communities.
Further, how can we expect these people to be proud and responsible members of this country, and to uphold its values, when as children they are completely unexposed to those aspects of British culture that we encounter daily?<P>What is the way forward here? Should schools legally be made to reform, or should the state stay out of this aspect of culture? What of other intitiatives that encourage co-existence, and what do the rest of you think about the causes and future of the current race problems?
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Postby clarice » Thu Dec 13, 2001 9:38 pm

:s
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Postby clarice » Thu Dec 13, 2001 9:38 pm

ahem, that was a worried face.
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Postby ben » Fri Dec 14, 2001 12:03 am

It is certainly worth noting that England is a Christian State. The Queen is the head of the Church of England and our streets are dominated by churches, chapels and cathedrals. Therefore, just as in Islamic states there are only Islamic schools, why should England have anything more than Christian schools?<P>I should mention that I believe that school and religion should be separate but I'm not sure on what basis I can say that, considering i'm living in a Christian country.<P>In areas where there are 99% of one ethnicity I would say that it is the job of the local council to setup a school which caters for that ethnicity. A Christian is certainly not going to setup a school of Hindus and therefore it falls on the Hindus to do so, with funding from the government perhaps?<P>I agree with you that isolating faiths in school does lead to hatred towards other communities but is that necessarily the fault of the faith schools rather than the people who run them or attend them. It is a problem of human psychological nature that if you attach people to a certain group they will automatically be against any other groups of a similar function.<P>I think it is for the government to separate religion from school since you should not learn to believe in God or not believe in God, that should be kept to your religious community. By putting religion in schools, it alienates communities which is what causes tension and discomfort in the first place. Just take it out!
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Postby Tamblius » Fri Dec 14, 2001 5:57 pm

As someone who believes that religion should be kept separate from state education, Ben, don't you also think that the role of any particular religion in the state should be minimal, if there should be a role at all?
Surely it is unworkable and imflammatory for any one religion to be favoured by the state?
In short, I don't think we should regard our country as Christian, even if our collective sentiments are largely parallel to those of that religion, because it would alienate most of the population as well as anyone under the age of sixty-five.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2[/IMG]"I agree with you that isolating faiths in school does lead to hatred towards other communities but is that necessarily the fault of the faith schools rather than the people who run them or attend them."</font>

Is it not the fact that schools exist at all, where 99% of students have loyalty only to their religion and a foreign culture, that is the root cause of division of interests and community? How can the "people who attend them" - children - be expected to come out of such a system with any sort of British identity, or to be able to associate with and live alongside productively people, when the outside world has never meant anything more than the local mosque?<P>You are quite right that it is human psychological nature for people to develop contempt for a group of people with whom they have no contact and of whom they can only be suspicious. But will you not be more radical Ben, and propose that moves are made not only to remove religion from education, but to give children from isolated communities the chance to do better, by letting them work alongside the many other types of Brit that coexist in the UK.<P>------------------
Baelzebub has a devil put aside for me<p>[This message has been edited by Tamblius (edited 14 December 2001).]
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Postby The Muslim Representative » Fri Dec 14, 2001 11:40 pm

The idea being bounced around is that of England being a Chrisitan country, now thats ok if ur just going to use that term as a means of religious identification BUT if ur gonna use that as a basis to decide whether or not to open faith schools then its fundamentally flawed, simply because by the year 2003 the number of practising Muslims will outnumber the number of practising Christians, that is going upon the basis that going to Church is part of being a Christian.....!!
However to my main point, the only way to promote religious and racial understanding is through integration. Not only will this ensure fuller understanding of different faiths but also also ensure a level of equality in education being received by all. Religion should be part of the school curriculum, I think its neccesary for one to be given a sense of religious identity (whatever that identity may be), while education in a particular religion should be kept as an activity outside of school.
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Postby ben » Fri Dec 14, 2001 11:41 pm

It just seems to me that what you're saying is get rid of religious communities and create one British people. Well why stop there, why not create one Human race? <P>I'm afraid people are too quick to join groups/communities/societies in order to feel some sense of belonging that the realisation of a human race is improbable and perhaps not practical. It seems like a nice idea, but is it workable?<P>I think most people would prefer to stick with their religious communities than to be a british community. Religious heritage would be considered more important by religious groups than the need for a patriotic community. After all, being religious gets you to heaven, being patriotic does not!
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Postby ben » Fri Dec 14, 2001 11:49 pm

It's an interesting idea you've raised Faisal. Is a country's state religion dictated by the majority religious sect? I was saying England was a Christian country because it was founded as such. I wasn't saying this is right or wrong just stating the fact that it has been and is now a Christian country. Who knows, it may become a Muslim country by 2003? Image<P>I agree that integration is the key and the more we know about religions the more accepting we become. That certainly happens in the school I goto. It doesn't seem like it for some who go there(!) but the fact that some of my closest friends are christians and muslims shows that integration does work. <P>However, if we are to teach religion in school, surely we must teach ALL religions since how can we discriminate? That's a whole lot of religions. Maybe you are advocating the teaching of the IDEA of religion, using the example of the main monotheistic religions, spiritual religions such as hinduism, buddhism, taoism etc. and any others that may crop up. But I would argue you also have to make pupils aware of atheism whether its as a faith in itself or a lack of faith. It is not the schools duty to impress religion on its pupils and so the syllabus should concentrate only on explaining the religions and the differences between them.<P>Religious identity will come from home and should not come from school.
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Postby nicola » Sun Dec 16, 2001 1:57 pm

i don't think you can compare CofE schools with muslim ones. there are so many half-hearted christians wandering around the uk that it doesn't define them so seperately. also, going to a CofE school says "yeah, i'm a bit of a christian ... but i'm white, what the hell". (they might not say hell, though). muslim schools appear, i would say generally, as more divisive because a) there is a bit of a stigma attached to islam (particularly of recent) and also because it widens the racial gap, religion aside. i hate to say it, but open-minded people aside, most people bung asians and muslims all in one category. it's just one category, and i think people are resentful of them dividing themselves from the rest of the british community in any way. people don't think "oh ... an islamic school ... i bet the have nice little koran readings and feel a real sense of religious identity" they think "oh, whaddaya know ... another load of asians have gone and seperated themselves from the rest of the world"<P>i know this all sounds horribly offensive but i think that is the core of the problem.<P>any way, in my personal review, i think religious schools should be abolished, but then i find religion so proposterous anyway. the fact that i am expected to pray in every assembly, that if i testified in court i would do it on the bible,is rather worrying. i'll tell you why - because it's all based on nooooothing. we might as well all be worhsipping someone's nasal hair. in fact it wouldn't make any difference if we were, but i'm not going to get into anthropomophosising of god because i'm on a crappy keyboard. adios.
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Postby kjeevah » Fri Apr 19, 2002 3:21 am

i live in devon. everyone is white here.

as far as i remember the entire population of peope of any other ethnicity in the whole of the south west is only a matter of thousands.

that asides, im with you nicola.
personally, i find religion's continuing place in our society offensive.
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