22 November 2010

Let's Hear it for Tolerance...

In a move that is sure to ignite heated debate not only about education, but also the direction of the United Kingdom, an undercover investigation by the BBC has discovered that schools under the auspices of the "Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland" organisation have been teaching some really interesting content. The investigation also uncovered that this content is being taught in some schools in the UK that are owned by the government of Saudi Arabia.

The schools in question are located throughout Britain and are "teaching" somewhere up to 5000 impressionable students from the ages of six to eighteen. The challenging content includes teaching students about Sharia Law, particularly the more brutal and heinous punishments available. For example, students are being taught that thieves will have their hand cut off for a first offense and then a foot for any subsequent offense.

Interestingly, the students are being taught that the process is humane as the stump where one's hand used to be is cauterised so as to prevent the thief from bleeding to death.

Some of the other juicer educational experiences include reminding students that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of Allah. Therefore, suitable punishments for homosexuals include stoning them to death, burning them to death, and throwing them off a cliff. The common denominator here being that homosexuals must die for their sins.

Funnily enough, the Jews do not miss out either in these weekend schools. Students are taught that those evil Jews are hell bent on world domination. And, if given the chance they will seek to take over and control all of the world's wealth and resources.

Ultimately, the theme of all this content seems to be "if you do not follow Islam, or convert immediately, then you are going to be damned to hell!"

Nothing like preaching a little love and tolerance, is there?

Apparently, Ofsted, the British educational watchdog, is doing a little investigating of its own and will soon report to the Education Minister, Michael Gove. I might try and see if I can follow this story through to its conclusion, if for no other reason than I am interested in the implications of teaching such content in schools generally.

To be honest, I do not see any problems with teaching the fundamentals of Sharia Law and what punishments are available under that system. It could be done in a manner that is comparative and without bias. However, the teaching of content that suggests that Jews are focused on world domination through control of financial and natural resources combined with the idea that any one who is not Muslim is damned to hell is likely to be much more problematic and controversial.

The anti-Semitism in the textbooks is surely going to get people fired up. The whole affair is likely to see some interesting to and fro in the cyber-sphere on all manner of things ranging from political correctness to tolerance.

I am surprised that I am yet to see the arguments rehashed that suggest within 20 years Britain will be a Muslim State under Sharia Law. Perhaps even the more extreme protagonists will start to suggest that this is the tip of the iceberg and it will not be long before Europe is an Islamic Caliphate. Hence, the poster and the idea that it will not take long to ignite differences to a flash point.

Does it all start with education?

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