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Old 10-16-2006, 02:25 PM   #1
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UK Schools, Colleges Drawn Into Fears Over Muslim Separatism

http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/...923366,00.html
Quote:
Universities urged to spy on Muslims

Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, October 16, 2006


Lecturers and university staff across Britain are to be asked to spy on "Asian-looking" and Muslim students they suspect of involvement in Islamic extremism and supporting terrorist violence...They will be told to inform on students to special branch because the government believes campuses have become "fertile recruiting grounds" for extremists.

The Department for Education has drawn up a series of proposals which are to be sent to universities and other centres of higher education before the end of the year. The 18-page document acknowledges that universities will be anxious about passing information to special branch, for fear it amounts to "collaborating with the 'secret police'". It says there will be "concerns about police targeting certain sections of the student population (eg Muslims)". The proposals are likely to cause anxiety among academics, and provoke anger from British Muslim groups at a time when ministers are at the focus of rows over issues such as the wearing of the veil and forcing Islamic schools to accept pupils from other faiths.
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The document...claims that Islamic societies at universities have become increasingly political in recent years and discusses monitoring their leaflets and speakers. The document warns of talent-spotting by terrorists on campuses and of students being "groomed" for extremism. In a section on factors that can radicalise students, the document identifies Muslims from "segregated" backgrounds as more likely to hold radical views than those who have "integrated into wider society". It also claims that students who study in their home towns could act as a link between extremism on campuses and in their local communities.

The government wants universities to crack down on extremism, and the document says campus staff should volunteer information to special branch and not wait to be contacted by detectives. It says...radicalisation on campus is unlikely to be overt: "While radicalisation may not be widespread, there is some evidence to suggest that students at further and higher educational establishments have been involved in terrorist- related activity, which could include actively radicalising fellow students on campus." The document adds: "Perhaps most importantly, universities and colleges provide a fertile recruiting ground for students."
..................................
The document gives five real-life examples of extremism in universities. The first talks of suspicious computer use by "Asian" students, which was reported by library staff. In language some may balk at, it talks of students of "Asian appearance" being suspected extremists. A senior education department source told the Guardian: "There's loads of anecdotal evidence of radicalisation. At the same time there are people who pushing this who have their own agendas, and the government has to strike the right balance."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...6/nfaith16.xml

Quote:
Faith schools told to take in non-believers

By Toby Helm and Liz Lightfoot
The Telegraph, 16/10/2006


All new faith schools will have to offer up to a quarter of places to non-believers, in a move ministers believe will promote integration and ease growing fears that British society is splintering on religious and race grounds.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, is expected this week to announce the plans in changes to the Education and Inspection Bill. The move follows warnings from David Davis, the shadow home secretary, that the country was slipping into a system of "voluntary apartheid" in which there was a danger of creating "a series of closed societies within our open society."

The Church of England has already announced it will set aside a quarter of places at its new schools for people outside the Church. However, under Mr Johnson's plans Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim institutions will be asked to do the same.
....................................
Mr Davis said there was a "growing feeling that the Muslim community is excessively sensitive to criticism and unwilling to engage in substantive debate".

The Catholic education service reacted angrily, saying it was deeply saddened by Mr Johnson's proposal. Its director, Oona Stannard, said: "Far from leading to improved community cohesion it would lead to division. It is hardly a recipe for cohesion and parental choice when Catholic families seeking to bring their children up in the faith are turned away from Catholic schools to make way for quotas of children from families of other religions or none at all. The Government is treating Catholic schools as part of the problem when in fact they are part of the solution."

Idris Mears, the director of the Association of Muslim Schools, said only 0.5% of Muslim children in England have access to state funded education in Muslim schools, compared with a third of Christian children and two-fifths of those from Jewish homes. "Parents would be very unhappy if they moved to be near a Muslim school and found it had to provide a quarter of places to other children," he said. [Relevant statistic from today's Times of London: "There are 7 Muslim state schools in England, and 5 more are recommended for public funding. Tony Blair hopes to bring more of the 150 private Muslim schools into the state sector. There are 2 Sikh schools, 37 Jewish schools, 2041 Catholic schools, and 4646 Church of England schools." ~ y.]
Are these measures reasonable and in proportion to proven education-related threats? What's the potential for abuse?
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:56 PM   #2
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I dont agree with the Spying I agree that Faith schools should allow non-believers who want to get an education.
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:16 PM   #3
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Originally posted by Justin24
I dont agree with the Spying I agree that Faith schools should allow non-believers who want to get an education.
I don't agree in the spying, either. If a campus group is acting sufficiently suspiciously, any investigations should be left to the police.

I also don't think that any private school should be forced to accept any one they don't want if that person's belief system is contradictory to what they teach. Now, it might be a good idea for them to do so, because it would expose that child to religious teachings. But I don't think the government should be able to force them.
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


I don't agree in the spying, either. If a campus group is acting sufficiently suspiciously, any investigations should be left to the police.

I also don't think that any private school should be forced to accept any one they don't want if that person's belief system is contradictory to what they teach. Now, it might be a good idea for them to do so, because it would expose that child to religious teachings. But I don't think the government should be able to force them.
I agree on both. However, it seems odd a school would deny admission to non-believers. If a non-believer wants to subject him or herself to a religious education, wouldn't the school see this as an opportunity for evangelism? I've gone to private schools and private university and met tons of people who were atheists, agnostics, or members of a different religion. If they want to pay way more money, hey why not?

And like 80s said, the government can run their schools as they see fit and the church will run its schools as it sees fit.
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest

I also don't think that any private school should be forced to accept any one they don't want if that person's belief system is contradictory to what they teach. Now, it might be a good idea for them to do so, because it would expose that child to religious teachings. But I don't think the government should be able to force them.
What if the religious schools are public?
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irishteen


What if the religious schools are public?
then maybe they should consider a public school system not based on religion?
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irishteen


What if the religious schools are public?
I really don't know anything about religious public schools, because I don't think the US has any.

Excuse my ignorace; do they exist in the UK?
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Old 10-16-2006, 06:54 PM   #8
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I don't know what the case is in Ireland, but *I think* I can explain how the distinction works in the UK. It is not uncommon there--in fact, it's the norm--for religious schools to be owned and run by a church, yet to receive sufficient government funding such that no tuition need be charged--I believe the technical term for this is "voluntary aided school." This is distinct from an "independent school," which is more like what we in the US think of as a "private school"--little or no government funding (or oversight, save for certain curricular stipulations), full tuition charged and, typically but not always, high academic prestige as well. Complicating things is a confusing terminology quirk where these "independent schools" are sometimes still called "public schools"--a holdover from the days when most schools were wholly run by guilds or individual village headmasters (and when many aristocrats' children were educated at home by tutors)...as opposed to the (often church-owned) "public schools" which, while not at all "public" in the modern sense of the term, were nonetheless in principle open to anyone (who could afford their high fees) to a degree that the guild and headmaster-owned schools were not.

If I understand the above article correctly, A) on the one hand, Blair wishes to bring more "independent" religious schools into the "voluntary aided," state sector (and thus, under firmer government control); B) on the other hand, this new education bill would apply to all new religious schools, state sector or not.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:54 PM   #9
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The schools should be allowed to deny believers places - unless of course they recieve any money whatsoever from the government.
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Old 10-16-2006, 10:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The schools should be allowed to deny believers places - unless of course they recieve any money whatsoever from the government.
They sure should, if they are not federally funded.

But I can tell you this; believers wouldn't want to go to a school like that anyway.
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Old 10-17-2006, 03:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


I really don't know anything about religious public schools, because I don't think the US has any.

Excuse my ignorace; do they exist in the UK?
Not sure about the UK

But in Ireland they're probably the main type of schools, privately owned but government funded schools. My school's an example of it, it's a public Catholic school owned by a group of Marist brothers
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


I really don't know anything about religious public schools, because I don't think the US has any.

Excuse my ignorace; do they exist in the UK?
Yes. This is the whole point, the UK government are just referring to religious government funded state schools, rather than private schools. It is confusing though as in England private independent schools are also called public schools!
I'm in favour of the scheme in principle but I'm not sure how it would operate in practice. As I understand it the scheme would only apply to new schools, rather than existing ones and if the quarter quota wasn't taken up by children of different faiths then the schools would be able to offer spare places to those who practised the main faith of the school. At the moment there are very few faith schools other than Church of England schools. These tend to be heavily oversubscribed as they generally have better results, with places often only offered to children whose families attend church regularly -with the result that some families go to church even they don't believe just to get their chidlren into theschool!
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:18 AM   #13
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I disagree on both counts.

Spying on muslims just because a tiny percentage of them are involved in terrorist activites is crazy. Way to make muslims feel appreciated and accepted at uni!

Two, i dont think religious schools should hav to accept non believers into their schools. I sadly had to go to a private christian school, and let me tell you, its no fun being there for a non believer! Over my dead body would i send my children to a religious school!

Also, i dont think religious schools like the conotations that they are breeding hatred from non belivers of faith. (and you'd hope not!)
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Old 10-17-2006, 04:15 PM   #14
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I don't like this spying business one bit. It's playing on the public's fears of terrorism and who's likely to do it. True, suicide bombers are Muslims, but it's also true that suicide is a big time sin in mainstream Islam, which is the kind of Islam followed by the vast majority of Muslims.
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