Sweden: Uzbek children skip class

Sweden: Uzbek children skip class

In Strömsund (northern Sweden) some Uzbek refugee children don't participate in all the classes, due to religious issues. Nasiba Shokirova from Uzbekistan is a mother-tongue teacher at the Vattudalsskolan school.

Not all children can participate in all classes. Some call it truancy in the name of religion, in Sweden we have compulsory education and that means that everybody must be in all classes. Others say that people have a right to religious freedom. They need time to pray and they're offended by some of the lesson contents.

In Strömsund, with a large group of Uzbek refugees who are strictly believing Muslims, there are those who cut class or avoid it. Nasiba Shokirova tones down the criticism. She comes from Uzbekistan and works at the Vattudalsskolan as a mother-tongue teacher and study tutor.

"We want to follow the religion completely, for me faith is the most important thing," she says.

In all beliefs there are of course similar orthodox interpretations. One can say that a living faith makes demands on individuals and religious communities, and affects one's entire life, possibly also after life. Nasiba confirms that some children stay away from class due to their faith. But she tones down the problem.

According to the principal of Vattudalsskolan, Lars Rönnestrand, there are quite strong demands for space for religion. People don't want to be part of whatever has to do with people's bodies or showing pictures. A naked body, for example, or pictures of sexual organs are incompatible with their orthodox interpretation of religion.

All musical instruments except for drums are forbidden. It of course makes teaching difficult, starting from kindergarten and throughout the whole elementary school. But why is that so? What happens if you play the piano.

Nothing happens, says Nasiba Shokirova, but when you believe in God, you don't want to do wrong.

Source: SR (Swedish), h/t Muslimska Friskolan

See also:
* Sweden: Uzbek news site critical of imam refugees
* Sweden: Mosque attacked

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