Friday, April 27, 2007

CRE Get it Wrong

Nick Johnson, of the Com­mission for Racial Equality, has warned that the apparent racial segregation of schools in Britain is a "ticking timebomb waiting to explode”. He is quoted in the Daily Express as saying:

“If a Muslim child is educated in a school where the vast majority of other children are also Muslim, how can we expect him to work, live and interact with people from other cultures when he leaves school?”
Perhaps, Nick, the same way other people do? Most White Christians are educated in a school where the vast majority of other children are also White Christians and yet, amazingly, they manage to interact fine with people from other cultures. Ah, you say, white people are different because they form the majority and so spend most of their time talking to other people who are part of the majority. So, OK, let's take an example of the oldest segregated minority in Britain; Jews.

The Jews' Free School has been around since 1732 and in over 350 years has only accepted Jewish pupils. Those pupils have been educated solely with other Jews, and yet, there has never been a problem with these pupils interacting with people from other cultures when they left school. So, what's the difference?

The answer is that these are Muslim schools. The fuss about segregation in schools seems to only revolve around Muslim schools. Those making the claims do not seem to have a problem with any other ethnic group. But more than that, the only real grounds for complaint is about religious Muslim schools. A report commissioned by the Home Office indicates that Muslim pupils in majority Muslim, non-religious schools are more tolerant than pupils from predominately white schools.

The question, then, is why the fuss over religious Muslims? To answer this we need only look for the other example of complaints about racial segregation in schools: Northern Ireland. There, during the fighting, people said that there must be no segregation between Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren as this led to more trouble. The same is the case here. What is really concerning the CRE and others is the danger that religious Muslims apparently pose to the West; they just cannot actually bring themselves to be so blunt.

Now, two points. Firstly, is there a problem with all Muslim, religious schools? Who knows? No study has been made that I am aware of, and certainly none are cited by these spokespersons. The second point is more important. Even if there is a problem or potential for a problem is this the right solution?

The answer is no. Since the real issue here is the danger of radicalising Muslims how can preventing them from having their own religious schooling help? It will just make them more radical. Surely the only sensible solution is to ensure that schools are not brainwashing their pupils. Isn't this why we have OFSTED? So, let them do their jobs, let them go into these schools and check that the pupils are not being radicalised.

Remember; the danger of Islamic extremism doesn't come from religious Muslims; it comes from radical Muslims.