England: Muslim schools under threat of closure

England: Muslim schools under threat of closure

Many independent Muslim schools in England are under threat of closure, according to the Association of Muslim Schools (AMS).

The organisation, which represents almost 100 independent Islamic institutions, said many could not afford to stay open.

Most schools use fees and donations to cover costs and need about £2000 per pupil per year to stay afloat.

But the recession has seen donations fall and parents unable to pay fees.

The threat applies to "almost all" of the 130 Muslim faith schools in England, according to the association.

Among these, 119 are independent and reliant on fees and donations, but 11 are in the state sector so have guaranteed income and are not under threat.

Dr Mohammed Mukadhum, the chairman of AMS, said the schools, attended by thousands of pupils, were hand-to-mouth organisations, operating on a shoestring budget.

Dr Mukadhum said: ''Many of them have been relatively recently established so there has always been some financial struggle.

"But the economic crisis has put them under enormous pressure and they are getting through each day with great difficulty,'' he said.

''The possibility of closing down is a looming reality and the smaller schools are the ones that are most vulnerable,'' he added.


Zainab Rahman, 11, is in year seven at the secondary school.

''I love it here, I get to learn about my religion and I can talk openly about it.

"But if this school shuts down, I won't have anywhere to go," she said.

She said because there were no other Muslim faith schools in Oxford, she would be sent to Pakistan to study and would have to live with relatives there.

Her best friend was sent to Pakistan last month to be educated there, she said, because her parents could not afford the school fees.

''She didn't really have a choice and had to go abroad.

"I've lost touch with her since," Zainab said.


Source: BBC, h/t IslamOnline

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