Islam serves all races and cultures

9th June 2000 at 01:00
IN his article on the purported connection between "poverty and lack of success in school" (TES, May 26) Trevor Phillips labelled Muslims as an "ethnic minority... mired at the lower levels of school".

This will come as a great surprise to the Muslim girls at Manchester Islamic high school, for example, 100 per cent of whom achieved five or more GCSE passes at grades A-C last year.That success was mirrored in schools, both state and independent, around the country. "Clusters of success", yes, but "racial groupings"? Surely not.

There are many Muslims within Indian, African and Chinese communities, as well as Caribbean and Irish. I suspect that what he really meant was Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, not Muslims per se.

Given his work with the Runnymede Trust which commissioned the ground-breaking Islamophobia report a few of years ag this lack of clarity is surprising. Or perhaps not. The limited language of race has so dominated multicultural debate that it is hard for people to remember that Muslims belong to a community made up of multi-racial, multi-cultural sub-communities. The sort of race-speak used by Mr Phillips is meaningless in such a context.

I hope he is successful in his search for answers to the racial paradoxes thrown up by educational research. However, as long as race-industry pigeonholes have no real place for white, native-born Geordie Muslims like me (and I am not unique, by any means) and my co-religionists from the 95 per cent of the world that is not the Asian sub-continent, I suspect that the answers he seeks will remain elusive.

Ibrahim Hewitt


Association of Muslim Schools (UK)

1 Evington Lane, Leicester

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now