Friday, 18 May 2007

Ruth Kelly's Bright Idea

Mosques are being urged to provide citizenship lessons for the thousands of youngsters they see daily.

About 100,000 UK youngsters attend Islamic religious schools attached to mosques - madrasas - every day.

A horrifyingly high number.

A new curriculum aims to tackle extremism and counter messages about perceived clashes between Islam and British culture.

"Perceived clashes". Because there are no real differences between Sharia culture and the British way of life, and saying that there are is just racism, okay?

It was drawn up by a group of mosques in Bradford and is being backed by the Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly.

It comes after an independent study into radicalism in local communities by academics at Durham University suggested a "step change" in traditional religious leadership was needed to tackle radicalism.

Ms Kelly said: "We cannot afford to allow our young people to be intimidated and influenced by extremist messages.

"Madrasas have a pivotal role to play in winning hearts and minds and supporting young people to reject the messages of extremist groups.

"This project ensures that young Muslim students learn the true teachings of Islam and encourages them to play an active role in their local communities and as citizens."

I hadn't realised Ms Kelly was an expert on "the true teachings of Islam". Clearly she is, and I must crave forgiveness for my ignorance. Although I do wonder which true teachings she was referring to? Sura 5.51 ("take not the Jews and the Christians for friends"), perhaps? Or maybe the infamous Sura 9.29 ("fight against [Jews and Christians] until they pay the tribute readily")? Or was it Bukhari 4.52.177 ("the Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews")?

The citizenship course itself, created by the Bradford Council for Mosques (BCFM) and known as the Nasiha project, aims to show that the spirit and teachings of the Koran are rooted in respect and tolerance.

It has been developed to promote community cohesion and help small communities be resilient to the small minority of extremists who promote violence and hate in the name of Islam.

While any plan to try and teach Muslims to behave like civilised people is worth encouraging, one suspects that, given the fact that many imams are proponents, not opponents, of violence and hate, setting them to teach children to be good citizens is not likely to have the desired effect.


MrSmith said...

Isn't this the same Ruth Kelly who is supposedly a Catholic yet remained with the New Labour party during and after the SOR implementation?

I propose that we begin calling Ms. Kelly a 'House Catholic', in the same way that the black activists in the excellent televised drama Shoot the Messenger called the protagonist a 'House Nigger'.

All in favour?

najistani said...

Brilliant British piss-take of Islam! Make sure you see it before it's banned!!!