Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old shot by the Taliban for promoting female education and who later became an international advocate for children’s rights, has warned British girls not to take their schooling for granted. Malala, now a pupil at Edgbaston School for Girls, urged British students to regard education as precious. “Reading a book, having a pen in our hands, studying, sitting in a classroom is very special for us because once we were deprived [of] it and because [of] what we have seen in Swat.” Adding, “I don’t know why people have divided the whole world into two groups, west and east. Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it’s the right of every human being.”
The Mayor of London said the burka, or full Islamic veil which leaves only a mesh for the eyes cannot be described as a school uniform. He was speaking after it emerged a number of secondary schools have forced children as young as 11 to wear the full covering when outside school.
The Madani Girls’ School in Tower Hamlets, east London, stipulates that girls must wear a full burkha and a black coat when outside school. Girls at the Jamea Al Kauthar school in Lancaster are required to cover their faces when outside the school and wear a jilbab, or long flowing black gown that covers the head and body but leaves the face exposed, when inside. The Ayesha Siddiqa Girls School in Southall, West London, requires girls to wear the jilbab when travelling to lessons. All three are independent fee-paying schools. There had been plans to turn Madani girls’ school into a state-funded Muslim school.
Parliament said this week it backed the rights of schools to set and enforce their own uniform policies but Mr Johnson said: “I don’t think it can be classed as any kind of uniform. I’m totally against any kind of compulsion in this matter. If a school is forcing children to wear the veil, that in my view is completely wrong, adding: “That is against my principles and it’s against the principles of liberty that London should stand for.”
10 September 2013
Ibn Ghaldoun School, the Rotterdam secondary school which was the focus of an exam theft earlier this year, is to lose its government funding and close down. According to Sander Dekker, the Netherlands’ Junior Education Minister, the closure is based on a recommendation from school inspectors.
The school has financial difficulties, and according to Dekker, almost 80% of its upper school teachers do not have sufficient levels of Dutch or educational qualification.
The school was the scene of an exam theft in May 2013, when it emerged that 27 national exam papers had been stolen and distributed to students.
Two years ago, Amsterdam’s only Islamic secondary school was also closed due to standards and financial difficulties. The country has some 40 Islamic primary schools.
Back to school means back to the culture wars for Minneha Core Knowledge Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas.
On the very first day of school, someone snapped a photo of a bulletin board display in the hallway featuring the Five Pillars of Islam and then posted it on Facebook.
The Islam display went viral migrating from the “Prepare to Take America Back” page on Facebook to likeminded pages and Web sites. Islamophobia is a cottage industry on the Internet.
School officials were immediately inundated with complaints from gullible and misinformed people who apparently believe the canard that public schools indoctrinate kids in Islam – and persecute Christians.
I wish I could report that Minneha administrators faced down the Facebook smears and courageously defended their bulletin board display.
But sadly, the school surrendered to ignorance and fear and removed the Five Pillars of Islam display – ostensibly to “alleviate the distraction.”
As it turns out, a bulletin board in another part of the school features an image of the Last Supper as part of teaching about the religious art of the Renaissance. Other religious images are featured on bulletin boards at other times of the year. These inconvenient facts were left out of the Facebook posting.
A raucous crowd of supporters and protesters from both ends of the political spectrum showed up outside President Barack Obama’s appearance in Phoenix, Ariz. on Tuesday, with some of his detractors turning to racially charged attacks to express their opposition.
From the Arizona Republic:
Obama foes at one point sang, “Bye Bye Black Sheep,” a derogatory reference to the president’s skin color, while protesters like Deanne Bartram raised a sign saying, “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!”
The Republic reported that hundreds of people gathered outside Desert Vista High School as Obama unveiled a plan to overhaul the nation’s mortgage finance system. Some protesters came from Obama’s left, urging him to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline and take other actions on climate change. But a prevailing theme among many in the protest appeared to be issues of race. Some even suggested that Obama himself was to blame for racial tensions.
“We have gone back so many years,” Judy Burris told the Republic, arguing Obama had taken the nation back to pre-Civil Rights era levels of racism. “He’s divided all the races. I hate him for that.”
Others carried signs calling for Obama to be impeached, Tucson News Now reported, though despite the negativity, the majority of those in attendance were Obama fans.
In March 2010, young engaged Muslims met to initiate a networks called Zahnräder “gear wheels”.
The network´s aim is to provide a professional networking platform for young well-educated Muslims, who either engage in politics, economy, media or the social sector.
Since 2012, the network´s capabilities were boosted when being supported by organizations such as the British Council, the aid organization Islamic Relief, and the education network of North Rhine-Westphalia. Ali Aslan Gümüsay is one of the founders of “gear wheels” and the current board of directors. Gümüsay, is a doctoral candidate at the Said Business School of Oxford University. He underlined the necessity for Muslims to network and participate in German society. Zahnräder does not require participants to subscribe a membership. So far, there are around 90 active people and a German wide circle of contributors participating at Zahnräder’s online forums and annual national conferences in Germany.
The Archbishop of Canterbury declared that he does not want to live in a “monocultural” society as he condemned “unacceptable” and “inexcusable” attacks on Muslims over recent weeks.
The Most Rev Justin Welby spoke of “evil actions”, whether the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby earlier this year or attacks on mosques, as he addressed an inter-faith audience gathered at Featherstone High School in Southall, west London.
He added: “I want, as I have already done, to acknowledge the pressure that our Muslim friends and colleagues have faced over the last few weeks. There have been terrible attacks; I know that the vast majority of those in this country and especially people of faith would join me in condemning utterly any act of violence against anyone because of their faith.
The Islamic secondary school in Rotterdam which has been involved in a scandal over unauthorized early access to final exams, now faces different management. There had been calls for the school, which also faces financial problems, to close down. Rather, NOS reports that the school is to be run by a Christian secondary school association for the coming years.
12 June 2013
Fifteen national secondary school exams were stolen from the Ibn Ghaldoun Islamic school in Rotterdam.
With last week’s initial discovery of one stolen exam the national French exam was cancelled, and 17,000 pupils across the country had to retake a new version of the exam the following day.
After this incident a further 14 exams went missing from Ibn Ghaldoun. It is unlikely that students will retake exams nationwide, as the Education Ministry believes that these exams have not been distributed to pupils of other schools. However the city of Rotterdam has suspended its diploma presentations until the end of June while the issue is under investigation. Students have been given until Friday evening to admit to having viewed a stolen exam.
Three Ibn Ghaldoun students have been arrested in connection with the theft. Police say there was no sign of a break-in. However the Education Ministry says that there is no reason to believe that school management is involved, and rector Bart Renders insists he is “almost 100 per cent sure” teachers are not involved in the theft.
Police are investigating a fire started by intruders at an Islamic boarding school on the south-east outskirts of London as suspicious, amid continuing fears of reprisals after the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Two boys were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out at the Darul Uloom Islamic School in Chislehurst, Kent, on Saturday night.
In a statement the police urged the public to remain calm and not to speculate on the cause of the fire. It said extra police had been deployed to other “potentially vulnerable” buildings in the area. It but did not elaborate.
Darul Uloom Islamic School is about six miles (10 kilometres) from Woolwich, where Rigby was killed last month. It is a £3,000-a-year, boys’ boarding school, was established in 1988. Students wear salwar kameez and skull caps, typical of Pakistan, and study a mixture of the national curriculum and Islamic studies. The school was established in 1988. Its website says it aims to “prepare Muslim students to be good Muslims and responsible citizens; to embed in the student a sense of discipline; to enable them to grow up to become upright, respectable and worthy citizens of their respective countries.”
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police chief commissioner, said: “These are difficult times for London’s communities. The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.
Four teenagers have been arrested over the fire which saw 182 staff and pupils evacuated and two treated for smoke inhalation. The four – two aged 17, and two aged 18 – were arrested on suspicion of arson late last night, the Metropolitan Police confirmed. They are currently in custody at a south London police station.
The incident is the second suspected arson attack perpetrated against a Muslim institution in the capital after graffiti reading “EDL” was found at a burned out Islamic Community Centre in Muswell Hill. Met Police investigators are still trying to establish the causes and circumstances of the school fire. They appealed for calm and asked people not to speculate as to the cause of the fire.