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Charity puts its faith in Muslim boarding school

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 18 December, 2009 | By: Richard Vaughan

But MP says plans for country’s largest Islamic college will threaten community cohesion

Original paper headline: Charity puts its faith in Muslim boarding school to rival size of Eton

An Islamic charity is planning to open England’s largest Muslim faith school in Burnley, accommodating up to 1,500 young women.

The TES understands that the Mohiuddin Trust, a Birmingham-based organisation, is in the process of setting up the Mohiuddin International Girls’ College after purchasing the former site of Burnley College for £2 million.

The new institution will accommodate post-16 students and, when at full capacity, will be more than double the size of the country’s current largest Muslim faith school, Feversham College in Bradford.

The news follows a similar proposal in nearby Pendle where another Birmingham-based charity, Islamic Help, put forward a scheme to open a 5,000-pupil all-Muslim girls’ boarding school. But the plans were scrapped due to public opposition.

The new Mohiuddin International Girls’ College will provide boarding facilities of its own to attract young women from across the globe, making it the largest boarding school in the country - bigger than the 1,330- pupil Eton.

According to the charity, the school is being privately funded thanks to donations from members of the trust and will provide a range of qualifications, understood to be a mix of mainstream and faith studies.

Dr Mohammed Iqbal, a Mohiuddin trustee, said: “At this moment in time it’s difficult to offer a detailed response about the courses hoped to be offered as we are still in the preliminary planning stages.

“We do, however, expect to offer a variety of skills and courses. A-levels are also being considered but may not necessarily be available as soon as the college starts. Our objective is to offer young women the opportunity to empower themselves with better qualifications with the aim of improving chances of securing better employment.”

The college expects to open with approximately 500 students, expanding to 1,500 over time.

But the proposals have been vehemently criticised by Gordon Prentice, Labour MP for Pendle. He believes the creation of the new college will be to the detriment of the existing schools and colleges as well as the local community.

“There has been huge investment in schools in Pendle and Burnley thanks to Building Schools for the Future,” he said. “The last thing we need is single sex, single faith schools for girls. It pulls against community cohesion. It makes me weep to think so much time, energy and effort has gone into the community to get people to mix together. (This) goes against all public policy.”

The Mohiuddin Trust, formerly known as the Al Ehya trust, states that it aims to promote community cohesion by “strengthening inter-community relationships”.

All eyes on Islam

Muslim faith schools have been under particular scrutiny over the last two weeks …

  • An investigation was carried out into the north London-based Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation (ISF) school after Conservative leader David Cameron claimed it had links to extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
  • Last weekend, both Haringey Council, which carried out the investigation, and Schools Secretary Ed Balls dismissed claims that there was any evidence of “inappropriate influence” at the school.
  • Teachers working at another school run by the ISF have claimed the foundation is being “used” by politicians.
  • There are approximately 130 Muslim faith schools in the country out of a total of more than 7,000 faith schools in England.

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Comment (24)

  • "The new Mohiuddin International Girls’ College will provide boarding facilities of its own to attract young women from across the globe, ..."

    Yet another way to get into the UK. No doubt most pupils will then attend a UK university and get married in order to stay in the UK permanently. We need to be more careful in examining the motives of new schools set up by so called charities.

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    18 December, 2009


  • The comment that this type of school is just a stepping stone for girls to gain permanent UK residence is a worryingly xenophobic one that appears to be based on the current tabloid media attitude towards Islam. I wonder if MrJob would have the same opinion if it had been reported that an American or Russian school of a similar size was being mooted. Another worrying platitude is the assumption that the charity is not a legitimate one. Of course one should be vigilant of the potential for this or even extreme religious doctrine to be practiced but we must not immediately jump to these similarly extreme views.

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    19 December, 2009


  • "Extreme views", snazzysc2001? Who are the people who have extreme views? Well, there is no doubt that many Muslims living in the UK are clearly not terrorists or criminals. They are decent, hard-working, law-abiding folk, who pay their taxes and make valuable contributions to their communities, in lots of different ways. On the other hand, are British Muslims typical of Muslims all over the world?

    Let me put it another way. If you really wanted to see Roman Catholicism in action, would you go to Sweden or Wales? No, you would go to Italy or maybe Poland. If you wanted to see what Capitalism was all about, would it be a good idea to go to Wall Street? Of course it would. By the same token, where would you get a true and clear idea of what Islam is all about? Surely the answer to that one has to be in Saudi Arabia, where Mohammed was born and where Islam first started. And would you find that moderate, democractic and liberal views are widespread in Saudi Arabia? I don't think so. This is why anyone who cares about human rights must be opposed to the spread of Islam. I'm not a feminist, but anyone who is against the oppression of women must feel uncomfortable about the growing power of Islam in the UK.

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    20 December, 2009

    the hippo

  • My comment is realistic, not xenophobic. Look at the reports in high quality newspapers, not tabloid media.
    20th Dec 2009
    22nd Nov 2009
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    11th April 2009

    There is good reason to be very sceptical about foreign colleges and it is also important to ensure that foreign students recieve genuine education and are not conned.

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    20 December, 2009


  • Dearest 'the hippo',
    You really have some funny ideas tht really did make me laugh when reading your comments. So you believe that the only way to understand about capitalism is to go to Wall Street. The way to learn about Roman Catholism is to go Italy, and the only way to learn about Islam is to go to Saudi Arabia? Oh my dear 'the hippo'. I guess you haven't learnt anything about anything then if you have groen up in the UK! Islam does not opress women, PEOPLE opress others. Do not use Islam, the religion, to attack Muslims (who are the people of Islam - not the religion itself!). Please 'the hippo', go and read literature that will open your eyes more.
    Regarding the media; well Mr Job, it doesn't really matter what media you read, they do not always tell you the truth. If you believe everything you read in the papers, tabloid or not, you will only have a very narrow view of the world. Go out there into the world and go to peoples homes, mosques, lectures, debates, other t.v. stations and internet sites which give you a broader view of the news before making judgements.
    It's such a sad and sorry state to hear people haveing very little of limited knowledge of information before they speak out.
    Personally, I have to read more about this boarding school idea before I can persoanly comment on it. I want to know who is running the charity and where the money comes from etc.... before I can give a my personal opinion rather than attacking the idea. Personally, it doesn't bother me, but I would like to know more and reading it from just one article is not sufficient.
    All I ask is that you think before you speak or in this case type.

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    20 December, 2009


  • No, I did not suggest that the only place to learn about Capitalism is Wall Street. However, it is not silly or foolish to suggest that this is probably where you will see it in its truest, most full-blooded or concentrated form. In the same way, it is no exaggeration to say that Saudi Arabia is the home of Islam. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that where the Prophet Mohammed was born and where the Qu'ran was written? The holy cities of Mecca and Medinah are both in Saudi Arabia, aren't they? And when people go on the Hajj, where do they go? To Sweden? To Australia? No. They go to Saudi Arabia. Therefore any fair-minded person would have to say that Saudi Arabia has a very good claim to be regarded as the most "Mulsim" or the most "Islamic" country in the world.

    And what kind of society does one find in Saudi Arabia? One that is built upon tolerance and respect for human rights? I do not think so. I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year and with my own eyes I saw a Saudi man repeatedly hitting his own wife. A Saudi traffic cop saw what the man was doing and he did nothing to intervene. (Nor, to my shame, did my wife and I. Our only excuse is that we were in a foreign country and too frightened and shocked to do anything.)

    Don't you know that the one colour that no one in their right mind would ever want to wear in 50 degrees of heat is BLACK? So why is it that in Saudi Arabia, the women wear black and the men wear white? If the men really want to "protect" their women, why not allow them to wear white and the men can wear black? Perhaps you were not aware, sumaiya001, that in Saudi Arabia women are not even allowed to drive a car. If denying women the same legal rights as men is not "oppression", then could you please tell me what is?

    I have not "attacked" Muslims in the UK because many of them (probably nearly all of them) are decent, hard-working, law-abiding citizens of their adopted country. Many Muslims living in the UK were born there and should therefore have every legal right that any other British citizen has. Having said that, it seems to me that Islam is not simply a religion that should be tolerated, like any other religion. Islam has a political agenda that is incompatible with the values of a liberal democracy.

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    21 December, 2009

    the hippo

  • Islam is a religion of peace, if more people actually read up about what Islam actually is then they could speak from knowledge not from opinion. What Muslims do is not what Islam is. Unfortunately not all people follow the teachings in the Quran and Sunnah (actions of Prophet Mohamed Peace be Upon Him) If they did this world would be a much better place. Islam teaches to be kind, fair, and to treat wives with the utmost of respect. I'm sorry you witnessed what seems to be the opposite of this in Saudi.

    'The troubles' terrorism amongst christians, that happened in Northern Ireland does that mean the religion of Christianity should be deemed a religion of violence? No. It was the actions of a few people who happened to be Christian.

    Unfortunately we are only human and there will be Muslims that do things that go against the religion of Islam.

    Gordon Prentice yes your strategy "to get people to mix together" is positive but not girls mixing with boys. That has many negative impacts as we have seen over the recent years with climbing under age pregnancy rates, STD's amongst very young adults, alcohol/drug abuse etc. Britain needs to look at how it is teaching good morals to its future generation. A single sex Islamic boarding school looks a good answer.

    A British Muslim revert.

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    21 December, 2009


  • Interesting comment about teenage pregnancy rates in the UK. There is a flip side, when adolescents are denied contact with the opposite sex and, indeed, proper sex education. Not wanting to go into great depth, but a statistical study of homosexual teenage rape in Kuwait would raise a few eyebrows...

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    21 December, 2009


  • Sorry to throw a spanner in the works Amy, but to attribute all of the sexually transmitted errors to western non-Muslim generations is clearly wrong. Muslim countries account for as many HIV adults and people with sexually transmitted diseases as any western country - and (what I find more alarming) is that young female adults in many of these such countries are pregnant but it is acceptable, to have pregnant child brides (we call it pedophilia), so it is not reported - I would be very careful about the moral high horse here! I echo the MPs misgivings I think we need to be brave enough to say and act as a pluralistic society and stop all segregational practice, whatever the premise, religion, and every group of people should be subject to the law of the country, and the society they should be mixing with. Otherwise we will just proliferate groups of people growing apart and when that happens, where people live side by side, but want there own laws it is a recipe disaster

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    21 December, 2009


  • The article mentions community cohesion, but in the school I am at Christmas is celebrated openly, regardless of its claim of secularism, but other faiths are ignored. In fact every street in the UK is lit with Christmas lights - the obvious reason is that technically this is a Christian country. When Muslims wish to celebrate EID they face mockery and humiliation, why?. I am a Muslim geography teacher and I often have to justify why I wear a hijab (Islamic head covering) and why I pray, suprisingly by staff not students. I urge all of you on this forum to take a minute and think...we all have a right to live on this Earth. If Muslim girls feel discomfort mixing with males, then let them guard their modesty. If a lady can walk on the beaches of Dubai in a pikini, then why is a veiled women questioned in the UK? If a women is allowed to wear a hat and scarf in the winter, then why is a Muslim women not allowed? Who is making the 'norms' of society? Who decides? If western fashion is acceptable, then so should Muslim attire be. Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries have given the west many riches and resources, therefore the west should not forget that countries are interdependent - we all need each other to keep the world going. We don't have to change each other, we should tolerate difference and diversity. Another is racist to suggest that Muslim girls from abroad will only come to Britain for stay.. the UK is not better than other countries, rather it has its good aspects and bad just like any other country. I was born and bred in the UK, but I have never been accepted by the 'British Society' and probable never will - so the problem is not with me... the problem is with people who are proud of their heritage but fail to see the works of the people that helped them build that empire. Asalaamualaikum - Peace on you all.

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    21 December, 2009


  • Firstly, IT_2007, I have no quarrel with many (maybe most) Muslims. I fully accept that many Muslims in the UK are in fact a lot more law-abiding than a lot of non-Muslims. You don't see many Muslims going out on a Saturday night binge-drinking and vomiting in the street.

    Secondly, I fully accept that many Brits are cold, unfriendly and evenly hostile and racist towards visitors and guests in their country. This is shameful. Recently my wife and I were on a camping holiday in the mountains in Oman. We were amazed by the kindness and generosity of the Omani people we met.

    Thirdly, I agree that girls and women who wish to dress modestly should not feel humiliated or pressurised. (A lot of non-Muslim young girls in the UK dress like prostitutes.) That does not, however, mean that a Muslim woman should have to wear a BLACK veil over their face and even gloves when the temperature is more than fifty degrees. If their menfolk want to treat their ladies with respect, as you claim, why don't the men wear black and the women wear white for a change? Or could it be that getting the women to wear black is really just a way of showing them how inferior they are?

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    22 December, 2009

    the hippo

  • I can not speak for every Muslim woman, but I can say that I prefer wearing black myself. I have worn black in the hottest summer of Abu Dhabi and Pakistan - I choose this colour because it is not see-through and it feels good, I feel white can sometimes be see-through although I have worn it in the past - many ladies in the arid regions of the Middle East still wear white, even the women in Prophet Muhammad's (May peace and blessings be upon him and all the prophets before him) time 1400 years ago. I am married to a man from Pakistan (born and bred there), but he did not force me to wear the hijab, I wore it in the UK in his absence, way before he arrived. In fact he told me, 'If you do not feel comfortable wearing the hijab, you should take it off'. I told him that I do not wear it for him, rather I wear it for my Here After - I just want to go heavan at the end of the day and I really want Allah (Arabic for God almighty) to give me an easy account on the day of judgement. I feel that no matter how hot it gets on Earth, it is less than Hellfire. Please do not be offended by my comments, I just want you to understand Muslim women more - we love and respect our men, but this does not mean that they are opperessing us - we have more rights in our religion that protect us than any protection offered by the most democratic or liberal societies of the world. I am content, and the happiest I can be on this Earth, we all have different goals in life. Asalaamualaikum - Peace on you all.

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    22 December, 2009


  • Well, if you really are happy wearing black, that's fair enough. (I wanted to wear a black shirt the other night and my wife said, "You can't wear that! You'll look as though you are going to a funeral!") I think that most fair-minded people in the Uk would say, "Yes, wear it, if that is your choice." The bad news, I'm afraid, is that in many Islamic countries (and I have already argued that Saudi Arabia is the most Islamic country) opting out or doing something different is not permitted.

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    22 December, 2009

    the hippo


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    22 December, 2009


    Rising terror threats, massive growth of muslim population through both immigration and high birth rates, growth of Islamic schools, little integration, unofficial Sharia courts, increasing crime including bogus colleges, muslim drug gangs, honour killings, increased fraud and selling passports, illegal immigration, etc, etc.
    Well you did ask!

    MI5 and GCHQ are both currently recruiting language specialists to cope with an increase in threats to UK national security. See the jobs below.,3487524034&key=4906901&c=688872020225&pagestamp=semesxlijrcxkjzlls

    How many ordinary Muslims have been influenced by radical and dangerous Muslim clerics such as Abu Hamza and Anjem Choudary ?

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    22 December, 2009


  • Dear Mr Job - although you have highlighted the threats felt by UK nationals regarding Muslims, you fail to notice the threats faced by many innocent Muslim people around the world today in war zones. As I said before, who decides the 'norms' of society in the world? I suppose you might not understand what I am trying to say, because the truth is that educated people in the west have often refered to those parts of the world as the 'Third World' and their own part of the world as 'First World'. Let me tell you a secret - WE ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO A PEACEFUL LIFE - Muslims and Non-Muslims. Believe it or not, we can all live in peace, but with nasty media representation of Muslims and negative attitudes towards Islam, Muslims have a lot of hard work to do. Trust me, I am a Muslim living in the UK and the comments I have heard from the very people you say are threatened by Muslims, have shown terrorism towards me and my family - but I suppose I am from the 'Third World', so my life to you probably means nothing. Right now a tear is trickling down my cheek as I speak, a tear that means nothing to people who consider the world outside their own 'Third and Fourth Worlds'. Mr Job, you have highlighted criminal activity and attached it to all the Muslims of the world, but know this: your prisons, your country and your society also has its fair share of criminals and terrorists - no society is free from this, not even yours. I am glad that I have read some of these comments on this forum, because it confirms that I am not paranoid. Another thing, try and think outside the box, make your own mind up...learn about the people you hate by going to their lands, find out what is really going on. Go to their hospitals, go to their mosques, go to their gatherings, talk to them and ask them what they feel. You will never know until you travel there and mingle with the locals - perhaps even go to a refugee camp in Palestine, Pakistan or Jordan, ask the people about their lives. Asalaamualaikum - Peace on you all.

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    23 December, 2009


  • Dear IT_2007,

    You seem to be a kind and genuine person.

    Yes, I absolutely agree that it is grossly unfair when all Muslims are "tarred with the same brush". I am an English primary teacher and I have taught in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE and therefore I know from my own experience that many Muslims (probably the majority) are indeed peace-loving people, who want to look after their families and get on with their lives in peace. I also know that some people in the UK are very quick to comment about immigration and about "bloody foreigners" coming to their country, but they often forget that many Brits are expats (I am one myself) and they live in other countries, not in the UK. This is really just hypocrisy and racism.

    Let me repeat a point I made earlier. My wife and I were recently on a camping holiday in Oman, a Muslim country, and there we were treated with kindness and hospitality. I, for one, am disgusted with the cold, unfriendly, hostile and even blatantly xenophobic way in which so many Brits treat guests and visitors to their country.

    At the moment I am teaching at a school in the UAE, where the Emirati children are a lot more polite and hard-working than the children in a lot of schools in the UK, I can tell you. (My colleagues at the school are nearly all from the UK and again and again in the staff room I have heard similar comments.)

    No, I am not a Muslim and I do not think that I will ever become one. That does not mean that I cannot recognise that many Muslims are good people and should be treated with respect.

    Now, to return to the point you made about the hijab, I would say that it is difficult for me to comment on this because I am a bloke and I don't know much about dresses and veils and so on. Having said that, I still cannot get rid of the idea that it is wrong for women to be pressurised into wearing black, while the men get to wear white! Where is the fairness in that? If black is a more modest colour, well why don't the men wear it too? If white is really see-through, as you say it is, then why don't the men wear black, so that the ladies won't see things they are not supposed to see?

    The rights that women have in the UK, such as being able to vote and inherit property, not to mention the changes to the divorce laws, have not happened by chance. Women in the UK (and in other "western" countries) had to fight long and hard for these rights. Some of them went to prison and were force-fed when they went on hunderstrike.

    I do not believe that Islam will improve the lives of women in the UK: it will make it much worse. Don't you know that the Taliban have gone out of their way to bully women, to blow up girls' schools and to make women totally subject to their men? Or let me put it another way. How many Ayatollahs are women? How many imams are women? Isn't it true that, according to the Shariah, husbands are allowed to beat their wives if they think that they deserve it?

    I am a Christian, but if I were to become a Muslim my family and friends would be a bit surprised and maybe try to talk me out of it. However, under Shariah law it is the duty of the family and friends to murder anyone who leaves Islam and converts to another religion. Is this true or not? You know that it is true. How can this be compatible with the idea of freedom of religious expression? I cannot see how it can be compatible in any way.

    You have mentioned going to heaven. Well, I hope you get there. On the other hand, if you are a Muslim man and you go to Paradise, what happens? Is the story about all of the virgins (and the little boys) who will be provided for a man's pleasure just a lot of nonsense? Or is this really what Islam teaches?

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    23 December, 2009

    the hippo

  • Mr Job.....Islam is currently the fastest growing religion in the world. One of the reasons for the increase in Muslims in the UK is also due to British people embracing islam. If Islam was really a religion of war and terrorism would this have happened, if Islam made women opressed would so many females be embracing islam? My advice to all of you is seek sound knowledge, find out for yourselves what the religion of Islam is really all about. Don

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    23 December, 2009


  • Dear the Hippo,

    It is good to hear that you have experienced the good in some Muslim communities. However, I have also noticed that there are concepts in Islam that you quote which are incorrect.

    Before I give a response to some of your misconceptions, the main goal of reaching paradise is to meet the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, Allah (Suhanawatallah). The meeting of God is the most exciting thing for a person who believes - the other things are gift offering he desires to give his creations.

    Firstly, about the virgins - Allah has promised men and women eternal companions, these could be the ones you already are married to on Earth. Secondly, about the 'little boys' - Allah has promised pearl like children scattered around the place in paradise, similar to what you get in extended families, e.g like little cute kids that are at parties and functions, it is innocent, NOT for sexual pleasure. Dirt and filth is not permitted in Heaven, not even a drop of arrogance. It is believed by the Muslims that shyatan (satan) had to leave heaven because he showed arrogance.

    Islam is truly a beautiful way of life. Women have rights in Islam, but they have different rights to men, as they need different things from life - some rights are the same. For example, in the UK women bear children and take maternity leave - or women have their periods and need time off when the pain gets too much. Just like this, Islam acknowledges a woman's needs. What is wrong in that? In Islam, the woman's earnings are not permissible for her husband unless she gifts it to him. However, a man has an obligation to provide for his wife and kids - and mother (and any other female in his family considered a mehram - a person that you cannot marry). In fact, the woman in Islam is not obligated to even ween her babies, she may do it out of the goodness of her heart and maternal instinct. Islam is not as difficult as people think, it is easy and comfortable for women - Allah knows his creations best.

    As for the men you talk about that wear white and make their women wear black – it is just clothes, is it that important? It might be cultural, not religious. In the Hajj pilgrim women and men both wear white, that is Saudi Arabia – and the most holy place for Muslims. Anyway, in Islam men and women should lower their gaze in the presences of a non-Mehram, regardless of what they are wearing. Cruelty of any kind is not permitted in Islam so if men are rotten to their wives, mothers, sisters or any other female or human they will have to answer to Allah. I hope some of your questions are answered – and by the way I am looking to move to Abu Dhabi with my husband in August to teach there – Is it a good move? Asalaamualaikum - Peace on you all.

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    23 December, 2009


  • I have been reading the comments made above. Like IT-2007 is trying to point out there is a lot of misunderstanding about Islam. There are many reasons for that, Muslims acting incorrectly according to the laws of Allah (God) and the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) and this in effect is seen by others as 'Islam', the propaganda agenda against Islam taken on by the media and then the ignorant who base their assumptions on what they hear rather than finding out the truth themselves.

    If someone speaks to you about someone or something, it is the duty of a Muslim to find out the facts on the subject before they pass the info onto someone else so as not to pass on false accusations/info. This is the teaching of the Prophet (PBUH).

    Unfortunately, many people see people who are Muslims carry out an unkind act and automatically assume 'that's what Islam teaches them!'

    Islam is not a mere religion but A WAY OF LIFE. It is the same message that started from Adam down to Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and then finally Mohammed (BPUT). They all had the same message to give to mankind and that was to believe in the oneness of God, summit your will to him and seek his pleasure, in that will you find peace and tranquility.

    After Mohammed (PBUH) Islam was complete, it taught humans how to live their lives personally (within their homes) and politically (within communities, the world and even with animals, inscets, trees etc) Allah says in the Quran (holy book) that he made different communities so that we get to know one another.

    When a Muslims is seen to carry out an act of cruelty it is automatically said 'That's what Islam teaches them', well they are far from the truth. Islam, which is the law of Allah (God) and the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) teaches us how to be kind to one another. the Prophet said 'If you can't say something nice then don'e say anything' (just one of the teachings from thousands).

    Being Muslims is not by name or birth, it is by accepting that truly there is a Lord who created everything thing and that he sent messengers down to guide us so that we seek his pleasure. A Muslim who belives in gaining Allah's pleasure will NOT hurt anything, as this would not please the Lord.

    Woman in Islam recieved their freedom 1400 years ago at the time of the Prophet. What you see nowadays, is not Muslims carrying out the law of Allah or the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) but in fact they are those who do not believe that their final meeting will be with their Lord and carry out their own whims and desires and act according to man made laws. One mans thinking will not be the same, so what you may say is correct I might disagree, this is the nature of man. Then why follow the laws of another when we can follow the laws of the One who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

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    23 December, 2009


  • According to Wikipedia, Mohammed was not a very peace-loving chap. He fought in numerous skirmishes, raids and desert punch-ups.

    The Qu'ran is supposed to be Allah's revelation, so why are many events related in the Qu'ran similar and yet different from those of the Bible? For example, according to the Bible, Isaac was the true son of Abraham, whereas the Qu'ran says that it was Ishmael. The Bible says that Jesus died on a cross and the Qu'ran says that he was saved at the last minute. So which came first and which one is the truth? Muslims claim that the Bible was "corrupted" by naughty Jews or Christians or maybe both, but there is simply no evidence for this. Manuscripts of the Old Testament and the New Testament were written long before the Qu'ran and they were not altered or changed.

    "Cruelty is not permitted in Islam" - if only this were true! The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death. Any encyclopedia will tell you this. Read "The Torn Veil" or "I dared to call him father" (both of which were written by ex-Muslims) and you will find that anyone who converts to another religion will face death. This does not seem a terribly kind or gentle thing. If one of my friends were to decide to become a Muslim, yes, I would try to talk them out of it and reason with them. But I would not murder them. Shouldn't your religion be a matter of your own conscience?

    Muslims are free to go to the Vatican or to visit Canterbury Cathedral, but non-Muslims are not allowed into Mecca. I know this because my wife and I drove to Taif and saw the signs forbidding non-Muslims from entering the city of Mecca! Does this show toleration of other religions? Is this fair? Is this a level playing field? I do not think so.

    While I was teaching in Egypt, my TA was a Palestinian lady. Her story was tragic. She was the only person in her family who had a job, but she also told me that if she returned to see her family in the West Bank, the Egyptian authorities would never let her back into the country. (So much for Muslim solidarity!) But how does anti-semitism lead to peace? Is it really helpful and constructive for Muslim countries like Iran to supply extremist groups with weapons? Does denying the Holocaust and Israel's right to exist as a state, as some Muslims do, mean that my Palestinian friend is more likely or less likely to be able to see her family and to keep her job?

    Many people are afraid of Islam because it is a religion that is against tolerance and one that will not put up with any kind of criticism. Writers and artists who have made fun of Islam have been the subject of death threats (e.g. Salman Rushdie) and some have even be killed. If a Muslim were to draw a cartoon making fun of Jesus or depicting the Archbishop of Canterbury as a twit, some people in the UK might be a bit upset but he or she would not be murdered. (In fact many Muslims have a deep respect for Esa, the name Jesus is given in the Qu'ran.)

    Please do not misunderstand me. I am not against Muslims and I have met many Muslims on my travels in the Middle East. I know that many Muslims are kind, generous and sincere people, but is this because of their religion or in spite of it?

    I am a primary teacher and I know that in most Muslim countries only one religion is taught in schools: Islam. In the UK, most teachers try to give their students a balanced and informed view by teaching comparative religions.In other words, children in the UK are taught a bit about most major world religions. Is this a good thing or not? Is toleration okay, but only when it is given to Muslims in a non-Muslim country? I did not see much in the way of toleration in Saudi Arabia, the spiritual home of Islam.

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    25 December, 2009

    the hippo

  • hippo.....
    I praise your inquisitive nature however anyone can upload information onto wikipedia, I advise you to seek knowledge from reliable sources. To look at the true character of the Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessing be upon him) it would be best to listen to the people who witnessed him with their own eyes. Try reading authentic hadeeth like Al-Bukhari, they say that after the Quran, Al-Bukhari is the next most reliable source of islamic knowledge.

    I would take up a lot of space here if I was to answer all of your questions so I advise you read from someone who is more knowledgeable than me.
    Yusef Estes has many videos and websites that may interest you, he also has good links on you tube.

    Yes you may see similarities between the bible and the quran that is because Jesus came before Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon them both) As Muslims we believe that Jesus was given revelations from God however we cannot trust the bible as a reliable source of divine guidance anymore because today there are so many different versions of the bible we wouldn't know which one to turn to. The Quran on the other hand which was revealed after Jesus; was recited so it has remained pure. The companions of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would spend hours reciting in their spare time to preserve the scripture until it was written down into the quran we know and love today.

    If the Quran was written by a human hand how could any human being have known the scientific miracles that are contained in the Quran which have only recenlty been confirmed by scientists using powerful machines? A lucky guess you may reply......but there arejust too many! If you believe they were lucky guesses then its only natural that there would also have been piece of information that science has now revealed to be not true, however there are none. Again I ask that you read from someone who has more knowledge than me, check out this site if you would like more information.

    Bible vs the Quran

    Proof that the Quran is the word of God:

    Seek knowledge.

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    25 December, 2009


  • Just watched the news these past tweo days. Yet gain, A very peaceful young man from a very peaceful religion has tried to bring carnage, death and destruction over thousands of people, all in the name of his ever so peace-promoting religion.
    Enough said.
    Do we really need even more breeding grounds for such destructive and dangerous attitudes? A lot of the problems are existent because a big part of the muslim community do not interact and mix freely with the rest of the UK's citizens. Then they moan that they are not "accepted", at the same time demanding their own schools, dress code and religious beliefs and customs (even those that violate UK legislation) to be taken on board by all and sundry. No. Thanks, but thanks, no. I do not want this country ruled by sharia law, however useless our present law system appears at the moment, but it is still preferrable to stoning people and hacking off limbs.
    And I don't want our young girls being forced under long, nylon veils or wearing masks to hide their faces. That is all freely available in many countries, so I suggest anyone wanting to live that way...why not emigrate to yemen of some such place? Many Britons are fed up with how things are here and emigrate to Spain, France, Australia....everyone is free to go. But nobody shoudl be free to stay and force their beliefs on others.

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    27 December, 2009


  •, Updated: 03/01/2010 08:17
    Town defiant over Islamic march

    Residents of a town famous for honouring dead British soldiers returning from Afghanistan have reacted defiantly to news that a controversial Islamic group is to march through its streets. Wootton Bassett is famous for honouring dead soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Residents of the town famous for honouring dead British soldiers returning from Afghanistan have reacted defiantly to news that a controversial Islamic group is to march through its streets. Islam4UK - which calls itself a "platform" for extremist movement al-Muhajiroun - plans to parade through Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, in the coming weeks. The group's website says the event is being held "not in memory of the occupying and merciless British military" but of the Muslims it says have been "murdered in the name of democracy and freedom".
    Leader Anjem Choudary said the protest, involving 500 people, would be peaceful one, with "symbolic coffins" being carried to honour Muslim victims of the conflict. But the walk will not coincide with the return of a dead soldier's body, added Mr Choudary, 42, a former lawyer from east London. Hundreds of people regularly line the market town's High Street to watch servicemen's bodies being driven through from RAF Lyneham. Family and friends of the fallen, shopkeepers, and British Legion members wait in all weathers to pay silent tribute to a cortege of Union flag-draped coffins. Ex-mayor and councillor Chris Wannell said: "We don't do what we do at Wootton Bassett for any political reason at all, but to pay our respects to those who have given their lives for our freedom. "We are a Christian country and a traditional old English market town who honour very much our Queen and country. We obey the law and pay respects to our servicemen who protect our freedom. "If this man has any decency about him he will not hold a march through Wootton Bassett."

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    3 January, 2010

    the hippo

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