UK Orders "Urgent Review" of University Islamic Courses

The British government has ordered an urgent review of university Islamic courses on claims that young Muslim students were being exposed to radical teachings, the Yorkshire Post reported on Wednesday, May 17.

"There are weaknesses in the way young Muslims are educated about what their faith really requires," British Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell said Tuesday, May 16.

Rammell said that there was evidence that "narrow and unhelpful" interpretations of Islam were available to many young people.

"There is a concern that the teachings which the great majority of Muslims would want to stress about living in peace, protecting the vulnerable, avoiding harm to others, are sometimes sidelined."

The review will be conducted by Muslim scholar Dr. Ataullah Siddiqui to make sure that courses were not restricted to narrow interpretation of Islam.

He will also examine the nature of the spiritual advice which students are exposed to on campus.
Siddiqui is a Senior Research Fellow at the Islamic Foundation, Leicester, and Director of the Markfield Institute of Higher Education.

He is also a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for the History of Religious and Political Pluralism, University of Leicester.

Rammell said that some students were exposed to what he described as "wrong-headed influences" in the name of religion.

"In particular, exposed to teachings that either explicitly condone terrorism, or foster a climate of opinion which is at least sympathetic to terrorists' motivation.

"I am worried about this, so are colleagues in Government, so above all are Muslims that I have spoken to."

The minister also hit out at what he said demands by some Muslim students to dedicate prayer rooms in university libraries and re-arranging lectures to suit with the Friday prayers.

He claimed that such demands carried "big dangers", calling for an open debate on the issue.

"The alternative is that we drift into a position where some British Muslims begin to feel aggrieved because their expectations are not being met and no-one is commenting that those expectations are not appropriate for today's society.

"Pockets of discontent emerge, impressionable young people become vulnerable to extremists and Muslims become less integrated and more isolated."

A British government-backed study has concluded that the Muslim minority in Britain faces some of the most acute conditions of multiple deprivation.

The report said that Muslims were more likely than any other faith group to be jobless and living in poor conditions, which a leading Muslim activist blamed on Downing Street for only paying lip service to Muslim social woes.

"The problem is firstly what is being done by the government to alleviate this problem," Anas Al-Tikriti, the former president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), told on Tuesday, May 16, over the phone from London.

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority estimated at some 1.8 million people

Source: Islam Online (English)


nouille said...

Ah yes......the nice muslims of Great Britain, with their signs that read: God bless hitler, and Europe your holocaust is coming.

Esther said...

I think Rammel has a good point. If you have high expectations (for example, that Britain will do everything you demand just because), then you will feel wronged when they don't materialize (and then you can start threatening about how you'll get revenge).