Study finds growing Muslim isolation

20th February 2009 at 00:00

Muslim schools in Britain are becoming increasingly disconnected from society, with some carrying web links to hardline anti-Western and fundamentalist teachings, a report released today has found.

The study, by the think tank Civitas, said that of the 166 Muslim schools in the UK, "many" had no Ofsted records.

The report says: "We do not doubt that many Muslim schools pursue a positive approach with regard to inter-faith relations and integration. But... many have affiliations with fundamentalist groups and individuals. And many are deeply embedded within anti- integrationist movements."

Among the schools were two Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation schools, in Slough and Haringey, north London. These were set up by female members of Hizb ut Tahrir, a radical Islamic group that former prime minister Tony Blair promised to ban after the July 7 2005 bombings.

The report says the schools' history curriculum was set up by Themina Ahmed, who has written about wanting to see Western society destroyed.

Feversham College, a voluntary aided school for Muslim girls in Bradford, which Ofsted described as outstanding, has a link on its website to islamworld.net - a site that carries essays from leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood.

An essay on the site by Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the group, states that jihad "involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam, including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship and smashing their idols... Therefore prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death."

The report also highlighted Ofsted's "shortcomings" and said it "must do more" to tackle fundamentalism. It said all inspectors should be trained "in all relevant aspects of Islam, so they can identify suspect lessons or connections".

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "We launched a major initiative last year, supported by all faith groups, to stop extremism from gaining a foothold in schools.

"All schools, faith and non-faith, have a statutory duty to promote community cohesion, which is inspected by Ofsted."

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