Monday, April 02, 2007

School Daze in the UK - jihadi style

Apparently Britain's educational establishment has a new way of coping with domestic jihad - they'll stop teaching about the Crusades and the Holocaust and give courses on "civic leadership" to Muslim `opinion makers' like imams.

Ruth Kelly, the Labour Communities and Local Government Secretary, is going to announce details of a £6 million "hearts and minds" plan to deal with growing radicalism among young British Muslims.

Also part of the plan are school-twinning projects, in which pupils from mainly Muslim schools will undertake joint projects, such as music and drama, with children from predominantly white schools.

Another part of the plan includes civic leadership sessions, in which Muslim `opinion-formers' will be given special training in moderation and tolerance...after which the British government expects these same people, who have now presumably seen the light to go to places like prisons and hardline mosques and affect the hearts and minds of potential jihadis.

At the same time, a study by the UK’s Department for Education and Skills has found that British schools are dropping teaching about the Holocaust or the Crusades to avoid offending Muslims.

The study, funded by the same Labour government Department for Education and Skills found that a fair number of teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust because they're afraid that Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.

The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city (Manchester, I wonder?), which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework.

The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'.

It added: "In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils. "But the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds) because their balanced treatment of the topic would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques."

A third school found itself 'strongly challenged by some parents for their treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict-and the history of the state of Israel that did not accord with the teachings of their denomination'.

The report concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

And no, this is not an April Fool's joke.

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