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     Why should Muslims be taught differently?



Over recent years a lot of discussion has centred around the efforts of Muslim communities to provide separate Muslim schools for their children. Some half-heartedly conceded that Muslims should have such schools in the name of fair play, considering that other faith- communities have them. Some expressed fear about low standards in small schools (in which case government finance would surely be the solution), others were worried about the teaching of fundamentalism (whatever that term means to imply). Yet others talked about racial (not religious) segregation and apartheid. This debate over the entitlement or otherwise to their own schools has blurred the real issue at stake: The purpose and objectives of an Islamic education. Both, Muslims and non-Muslims seem to show little awareness of the underlying approach of teaching from an Islamic perspective. 

There are some distinctive fea tures that separate a Muslim school from simply a school for Muslim children. However important the Islamic ethos and atmosphere are, effectively provided by the presence of well qualified Muslim staff, a school falls far short of expectations if it provides nothing more. Not only are teaching standards to be high, considering that Islam founded the first university and was the teacher of Western civilisation when it emerged from the Dark Ages, but teaching contents have to enable the children to realise that vital difference between a believer and someone who rejects faith. The teaching of attitudes towards life and fellow humans is as important as the training of cognitive abilities. A child who has gone through a proper Islamic education is to emerge as a mature young adult of good character and conduct. It is here, where the contemporary British education system has failed despite some of its impressive academic achievements.

Author: Islamic Party of Britain
Date Published: July 1992

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