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    You're right, there is absolutely no way any Orthodox school would implement this, and I completely agree with your reasoning. I find that committed Christians are far more tolerant of my Orthodoxy, despite knowing next to nothing about it, than secular people, who are often threatened because they are threatened by faith itself, not a particular faith.

    The worst, of course, are non-observant Jews, who can't get over the feeling that observance is somehow a personal criticism of them...


    I can't speak to how Orthodox Jewish schools in the UK will or won't deal with this requirement, but I'm not sure their refusal to comply would be the greatest problem with this Education Ministry directive. No, the far greater problem will be how students will be taught about other religions. To an extent, I'm sure that young Muslims are being told plenty about Judaism and Christianity, but all of it false and, of course, very negative.


    Waterdragon, in the context of Muslim state schools in the UK, I strongly disagree. I have worked with an Islamic school, and worked closely with one of the leading Islamic scholars in the UK, Sheikh Zaki Badawi, who sadly died very recently. I have found them to be enlightened and positive.

    England's state Muslim schools are no more advanced than are the Jewish schools in teaching about other religions, but they have had interfaith events with other denominations (I know of some with Jewish schools). They have also been supportive of programmes to organize shared football coaching through the Maimonides Foundation, which aims to promote interfaith co-operation between Muslims and Jews.

    All the inspection reports I have read on England's few state Muslim schools are positive about the good qualities of the moral and social education they provide. It would be identified and criticised immediately if there were any evidence of negative teaching about Judaism and Christianity.

    Steve M

    I don't understand what problem there is in teaching awareness of the tenents of other faiths.


    >> It would be identified and criticised immediately if there were any evidence of negative teaching about Judaism and Christianity.
    I find it highly significant that when Muslims, and Christians, talk about “interfaith” relations, education and so on, the discourse is strictly limited to 3 monotheistic religions, the so-called Abrahamic religions, and all others are passed over in silence, as though there is a tacit agreement not to notice them. My observation is that muslims, if they tolerate those of other religions, tolerate only those who are monotheistic, and they may be allowed to live as dhimmis. I cannot imagine that muslims would ever willingly teach anything positive about those of non-abrahamic religions, particularly Hindus, who they appear to hate above all others. Look up mushrikun in a search engine.



    I am glad to hear your experience in the UK is quite different from Canada, at least in the state-supported schools. We only provide public funding to Catholic schools in "anglo" Canada, and not to any other denominational school so any comparison won't be exact. What I do recall, not long ago, is the story of two Muslim teachers in Ottawa who were caught encouraging a student who drew a picture of himself machine-gunning Israelis to illustrate a story about wanting to grow up to be a freedom-fighter. Word somehow leaked out and the school principal dumped the teachers. And I'm sure that's only the tip of the iceberg.

    As for the "interfaith outreach", it's not surprising that Muslims would outshine on that count because this is a favoured means of da'wa -- enticing converts by showing the prettier side of the faith.

    Yusuf Smith

    [The many left liberals who rail against faith schools regularly trot out the case of sectarianism in Northern Ireland, which they see as related to the almost entirely sectarian education system. Yet they ignore the fact that although 25% of the schools in England are faith schools, there is little or no sectarianism in mainstream English society.]

    Worse than this, they totally ignore Northern Ireland's history. The origin of the NI situation is the British decision to plant Scottish Protestants in Northern Ireland, who do not care to live in an Ireland ruled by the Irish. You can find this out by reading any basic history book on Ireland.

    I agree about England and sectarianism. I went to a Catholic junior school and while the headmaster was a dreadful reactionary and generally not a nice bloke, they never taught us to fear, suspect, hate or despise our non-Catholic neighbours. And I don't recall being taught at that level about other religions. (My first secondary school, also Catholic, did, although I was only at that school for a year.)

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