Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Muslim children are not born Jew-haters

A most encouraging story from The Independent, (with thanks to Anglicans for Israel). The King David School, in Birmingham, England is a state primary school, where the children learn Hebrew, recite Jewish prayers, eat kosher food and wave Israeli flags. King David is a strictly Jewish school: Judaism is the only religion taught, there's a synagogue on site, the children learn modern Hebrew, the official language of Israel, and they celebrate Israeli independence day.

But half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school's catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day, and hang out with the same people whom some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world - Jews.

The Muslim parents, mostly devout and many of the women wearing the hijab, say they love the ethos of the school. The school is also respectful to Islam, setting aside a prayer room for the Muslim children and supplying Muslim teachers during Ramadan. At Eid, the Muslim children are wished Eid Mubarak (Blessed be Eid). Muslim students are allowed to wear a traditional Muslim head covering, but dozens choose instead to wear the Jewish kipah.

Muslim parents are not shy about telling observers why they love this Jewish school: “We actually bought a flat in the catchment area for the children to come here," says Nahid Shafiq, the mother of Zainah, four, and Hamza, nine, and wife of Mohammed, a taxi driver. "We were attracted by the high moral values of the school, and that's what we wanted our kids to have. None of us has any problem with it being a Jewish school. Why on earth should we? Our similarities as religions and cultures are far greater and more important than our differences. It's not even an issue."

Muslim parents are pleased that ‘all the kids mix and go to one another's parties and are in and out of each other's houses’. The Jewish parents and teachers too are just as enthusiastic: “You know, in these difficult times in the world, I think we show how things should be done. It's really a bit of a beacon," says one teacher, whose three children all went to King David and ended up at Oxford University. One Jewish parent commented: "My son is eight and has loads of Muslim friends." And perhaps most important of all is that some of the cross-cultural friendships forged at King David last a lifetime.

Who says all faith schools should be abolished?

22 Comments:

Anonymous View from the Solent said...

Your Grace,
I must thank you for your thought-provoking article. I have had doubts about religious-based schools on the basis that, despite potentially admiral attributes, they can become a source of division. You have described exactly the opposite. The directors and staff of the school deserve commendation.
And I shall have to reflect on my doubts.

13 March 2007 at 10:43  
Blogger botogol said...

I think the question is not whether faith schools should be abolished - of course they shouldn't - it's whether the government should to fund them, out of public funds.

It shouldn't.

13 March 2007 at 11:31  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I think it illustrates just why the Gramscians wanted rid of Grammar Schools and anything that suggested structure, discipline, ethos, and team activities.

To weaken the society you must isolate the strands that bind it together and invert the structure of values. Then play off one group against another.

In general conversations in what is one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in Britain, it is law and order and discipline that Muslims and Hindus most miss in our society and which makes them fearful for influences upon their children which they see as malign.

It is hard to integrate into a disintegrating society

13 March 2007 at 15:02  
Anonymous Colin said...

A most interesting story. Thank you, His Grace!

13 March 2007 at 17:16  
Anonymous Miss Jelly bean said...

"Our similarities as religions and cultures are far greater and more important than our differences".

Similarities and differences betwen Jews and Muslims... now there's a thought.
We have no doubt heard of numerous accusations of Islam being spread by the sword, but I never realised that this idea of spreading religion by the sword in reality began with the Jews.
"And they (the Jews), utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman... with the edge of the sword"(Joshua 6:21).

13 March 2007 at 18:35  
Anonymous Jimmy said...

Miss Jelly Bean,
Joshua did not spread religion by the sword, this was a simple massacre. There are other examples from the bible of forcible conversion to Judaism but they were highly unsuccessful. By the time Rabbinic Judaism had taken hold in Roman times forcible conversion was ruled unacceptable.

The Talmud tells Jewish people that if somebody seeks to convert you must turn them away three times. This is designed to be a protection against forcible conversion and has been in place for many hundreds of years, possibly well over 1000 years. I'm afraid the same is not true for other major world religions, including Christianity.

Jews and Muslims have lived together in peace for centuries, it is only in the last 80 years that things have gone wrong.

13 March 2007 at 19:11  
Anonymous Colin said...

Miss Jelly Bean,

Good to finally read some substantial contribution from you. Interestingly, in the direction predicted by His Grace.

"And they (the Jews), utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman... with the edge of the sword"(Joshua 6:21)."

That was more than 3,000 years ago and latest historical research even indicates that many stories in the Old Testament appear to be exaggerations of their priests produced for motivating their people who faced extermination from other tribes. The history of the Jews is the story of persecutions for more than 2,000 years.

In regard to the present situation, let me quote what Dr. Wafa Sultan said on Al-Jazeera:

"The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results."

For your viewing pleasure, here the link to the video.

13 March 2007 at 21:32  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Interestingly, in the direction predicted by His Grace.

Indeed, indeed, His Grace is quite perceptive on such matters.

Yet His Grace hopes that Miss Jelly Bean will stay longer than the other Mohanmmedans (remember Mr Al-Amin, who frequently went away 'training'?), and that communicants will treat her with courtesy.

She is an endangered species on His Grace's august blog.

13 March 2007 at 22:08  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace,

"His Grace is quite perceptive on such matters."

I have to admit that you were right and that I am obviously a bit too naive assuming that more people are like the educated Mohammedans I know, i.e. similarily open-minded like those who send their kids to a Jewish school if it is in the best interest of their children.

Miss Jelly Bean,

"His Grace hopes that Miss Jelly Bean will stay longer"

That's the invitation by His Grace, you were hoping for.

So please stay and criticise us from time to time with hard facts so that we don't become the victims of intellectual boredom.

13 March 2007 at 23:42  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

A great post Cranmer. If you don't mind I'll replicate in full over at CP. There are those of course in the Jewish community, who would be concerned as to the "watering down" of Jewish religious life in a Jewish school. However, it's great to hear such initiatives. We need much more of this sort of thing.

Also very interesting to read the piece from Colin about Dr Sultan.

14 March 2007 at 08:36  
Blogger Tony said...

If only more people in society could adopt such a healthy respect and tolerance of others.

I too wish to commend His Grace on his vision and his status as a prognosticator of real worth.

14 March 2007 at 14:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

There are those of course in the Jewish community, who would be concerned as to the "watering down" of Jewish religious life in a Jewish school.

There are those who would wish to have a strong Christian Ethos sufficient to be "watered down" rather than so dilute and inspid that noone can find it in a C of E School

14 March 2007 at 16:29  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

Colin, my intention wasn't to critise Judaism. My reason for using such 'hard facts' as you put it, was only to exemplify how people so very overtly quote scripture out of context(which is what many do with the Qur'an). I'm not anti-jewish, eventhough you may perceive it to be so, neither am I dogmatic.
I can't say that I disagree with Dr Sultan because I know that many Muslims have and are committing such atrocious acts. But Islam, from what I know, is very intolerant of suicide bombings and murder of such nature. It views suicide as 'haraam' (unlawful).
Islam must therefore not be judged by how people put it into practise, but on the basis of whether it is, in reality,teaching Muslims to commit such acts (which it doesn't).
On your point about Cranmer inviting me to stay, well I wasn't 'hoping' for any invitation. I don't mind if I'm not welcome.

Having made the point I wanted to make (however insignificant it may sound to other communicants on this blog), I guess it's time for Jelly Bean to say her farewell (for now).

I'll still be around...lurking somewhere in the background...observing...with my small critical eyes.

14 March 2007 at 16:53  
Anonymous Colin said...

Miss Jelly Bean,

Thank you for this excellent, thoughtful and enlightened reply. It's good to see your assertiveness.

And it's a pitty that you already want to leave us again when the discussion is becoming more interesting. Again, Cranmer predicted such a development. It seems to be a pattern among Islamic communicants. Very likely you are better able to understand the reason for such behavior than I do. So please enlighten me about the causes.

Moreover, why don't you stay and criticise our biases or whatever you like. Most of us can stand that.

As as long as you don't constantly preach to us (and you never did so far), I would be happy to learn more about your country, your culture and/or your views. No harm is done to anybody by an exchange of opinions.

14 March 2007 at 18:19  
Anonymous Colin said...

This might be of interest for His Grace: "Muslim schools make a positive contribution": "There are, however, only seven state funded Muslim schools compared to over 4,700 Church of England schools, 2,100 Catholic schools, 37 Jewish and 28 Methodist schools."

15 March 2007 at 23:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Colin, what is the point of that posting ? It says nothing except to those hostile towards "faith schools".

Feversham College is one of the secen you quote but Belle Vue Girls School is a State School which is almost entirely Muslim so your figures are fatuous

4700 Church of England Schools exist on paper only - very many in Central Bradford are 100% Muslim as regards pupils. Were so-called C of E Schools to be devoutly Anglican you might have a point, but of all religiously-oriented schools a C of E School is the nearest to being secular.

http://www.bvg.ngfl.ac.uk/history.htm

the school still serves the traditional heartland of Bradford and most of our girls come from Asian heritage families living in Manningham and Girlington.

It is fatuous to contrast the number of schools available to the majority population including any immigrants with those whose appeal is purely to religious minority groups.

You forgot the Moravian School Fulneck where Sir Len Hutton was educated

16 March 2007 at 07:27  
Anonymous Voyager said...

School

He was a student at St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College, North Kensington, London.

I somehow think this is simply a "bog-standard" comprehensive without much religious ethos - somewhat different from the London Oratory R C State School

We do not believe that a Catholic college is one that only serves Catholics. The educational and spiritual life of St. Charles has always been enriched by the presence and contribution of many students from the other great faiths of the world. It is important, now more than ever, that the voices and faces of different faiths meet and work together in single communities, and we hope that the multi-faith nature of St. Charles College will continue to be one of its most distinctive strengths.

Our commitment to providing a comprehensive education means offering courses appropriate to students, whatever their previous levels of achievement. Although most of our learning programmes are at advanced level, we also have a good choice of options available at foundation and intermediate standard. Foundation and intermediate programmes are provided for those students who do not do sufficiently well at GCSE to qualify for advanced level courses immediately. We recognise that students learn at different paces and in different ways.

Do you have to be Catholic to work at the College?

No. It is not necessary for teachers or support staff to be from a Catholic background. This requirement only applies to the positions of Principal, and Vice-Principal.

16 March 2007 at 07:38  
Anonymous Colin said...

Voyager,

"Colin, what is the point of that posting ? It says nothing except to those hostile towards "faith schools"."

On the contrary. The author advocates more Islamic schools. This reminded me at the predictions of the demographer Dr. Volkmar Weiss about the gradual development of ethnic conflicts. He investigated ethnic conflicts in Romania, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia and Palestina and came-up with the following development, here briefly summarised in six steps:

(1) Peaceful cooperation as minority
(2) Demands for freedom of religion
(3) Demands of equal rights for religion and language in education
(4) Demands for quotas by own religious or ethnic parties
(5) Building of organisations by the ethnic elite to fight for power
(6) Gradual ethnic cleasing and secession.

I found it most interesting that the author of the study at Bristol University, Mr. Nasar Meer, has put forward a demand in agreement with step 3 of the observed development. According to his website at the university , he researches and writes "on the topics of British Muslims and multiculturalism with a particular focus upon Muslim Schools and Discrimination legislation." This and reports about his activies in The Guardian and the Christian Science Monitor suggests that he might belong to the elite involved in steps 4 and 5. Hence, my attempt to draw His Grace's attention to this most interesting development. Don't worry, faith schools are not in danger. On the contrary, there will be more in the future.

16 March 2007 at 18:20  
Anonymous Colin said...

Voyager,

There is no reason to worry about a lack of teaching religion at school. Environmentalism is taught nearly at all schools in Europe.

"God died, then Marx, so now they’re worshipping the planet." (Bruce Ames, famous American scientist)

"Environmentalism has largely superseded Christianity as the religion of the upper classes in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States"
(Ray Evans: Nine Facts About Climate Change)

The Great Global Warming Swindle.

16 March 2007 at 18:35  
Blogger Meg said...

Interesting article indeed. Those Muslim parents are very enlightened and long may that happy state continue.
To Miss Jellybean perhaps for a more accurate translation of the Qu'ran you dshould visit www.faithfreedominternational.com where the Arabic of the Qu'ran is translated for you by an Iranian former Muslim called Ali Sina.
The Holy Book of Islam was written in the language of Arabia by those who conquered other lands and it remains halal to be taught by rote in Arabic, (the translations into the language of the conquered sometimes means you miss so much.)
The problems seem to occur when the infidel "doesn't understand the peace and beauty of Islam", sadly many good Muslim people dont understand the Qu'ran and Hadiths either. Ali Sina, an Arab, is most helpful in providing accurate translation and the debates are wonderful.

23 March 2007 at 02:25  
Blogger prof said...

hello
vous pouvez poster vos infos sur jewisheritage
a bientot

shalom

2 June 2007 at 20:50  
Blogger Lady Jane said...

Salaam wa alaikum

..that is one great story.

30 July 2007 at 13:18  

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