• Islamic ‘inspired’ stabbing; government approves 25 faith schools; exclusivist policies abound

    So a British soldier was stabbed to death in public, the atrocity being caught and shared on social media. They stayed around to be arrested, not afraid of the consequences, and this is the scary thing, the idea bveing that no space is safe or sacred. Now there is a widespread Muslim backlash. To make matters worse, the government has admitted that “thousands are at risk of radicalisation” in the UK.

    So what do we do to unite society? What do we do to make it more inclusive and less exclusive? How do we break the in-group / out-group psychology which fuels the fires of societal discontent and fear? How to we pull down the walls of separation of ‘us’ and ‘them’?

    I’ll tell you how, we give permission for and fund faith schools in the free school debacle that the present idiotic UK government education ministers are lauding. 25  new schools to drive an ideological wedge into our children’s lives and between our children, families and cultural sections of society.

    It’s a disgrace. A poorly thought-out disgrace which will in no way help the current situation. Does anyone honestly, I mean bloody honestly, think that the way to solve the problem of Muslim disaffection and feeling of being out-group is to set up schools for our children which fosters a feeling of in/out-group, which celebrates separation from society, which otherises mainstream secular society? Is this what they did to break down sectarian violence in Northern Ireland?

    No, Northern Ireland recognised that this was part of the problem. For crying out loud, are people that stupid? I am so angry.

    Here is what the British Humanist Association have to say:


    Government approves 25 new religious Free Schools

    The Department for Education (DfE) has today announced the approval of 102 new Free Schools due to open from September 2014. This includes 25 new religious schools, as well as one Steiner school. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed regret at the continuing increase in the number of ‘faith’ schools.

    The 25 new schools include 15 schools formally designated with a religious character and ten schools with a ‘faith ethos’. The DfE are yet to publish the details of each proposal’s religion, or any details about rejected proposals – it intends to publish this information at the end of June (although the BHA is currently fightingfor earlier release in the future).

    However, the BHA believes it has been able to identify the religion of 23 of the 25 schools. These are listed below.

    BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘We are deeply concerned to see the number of state-funded religious schools in England continue to rise. These schools are allowed to select all their teachers and up to half their pupils in the basis of their faith. They are also free to set their own curriculum, teaching from an unshared, narrow perspective that is inappropriate to some pupils.

    ‘Every school should be equally inclusive to all pupils and staff, regardless of religion or belief. We will continue to campaign to make this ideal the reality.’

    The full list of schools:

    Church of England (2):

    Roman Catholic (2):

    Christian (10):

    Muslim (6):

    • Bolton Free School, a secondary school
    • Coventry Leadership Academy for Girls, a secondary school
    • Slough Girls’ Leadership Academy, a secondary school
    • The Birmingham Free School, a secondary school
    • The Preston Free School, a secondary school
    • Waltham Forest Leadership Academy for Girls, a secondary school

    Sikh (3):

    In addition, the DfE have also approved Steiner Academy Bristol, an all-through proposal. Finally, therecently announced London Design and Engineering University Technical College in Newham will be co-sponsored by the Diocese of Chelmsford, making it the first with religious sponsorship.

    The BHA cannot fully guarantee the accuracy of this list but believes it to be accurate at time of writing.


    For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7324 3072.

    Read the Government’s announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-than-100-free-schools-applications-approved

    See the full list of proposals:http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/freeschools/b00222077/pre-opening

    The BHA has campaigned for a full list of Free School proposals to be published, including unsuccessful proposals, along with their faith. This information was ultimately published in February for the first three years of the programme: http://humanism.org.uk/2013/03/22/majority-of-identifiable-free-school-proposals-from-2011-13-were-religious/ and will be published for the latest proposals towards the end of June.

    Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools:http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/faith-schools

    View the BHA’s table of types of school with a religious character: http://www.humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/schools-with-a-religious-character.pdf

    The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

    Category: EducationPsychologyReligion and Society


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • ThePrussian

      Wonderful. Just wonderful. You know where this will lead, don’t you?

    • qbsmd

      “So what do we do to unite society?”

      I’m not convinced it can be done when one group believes in freedom of speech and religion and tolerance for diversity and the other in shariah law, “honor” killings, and death for appostates.

      I think every Muslim applying for a visa, permanent resident status, or citizenship should have to pass a cultural test first (a similar test with slight modifications would be similarly useful for other cultures). This test would involve standing behind a bar and mixing drinks for a woman in a bikini and two gay men who occasionally make out, while a fundamentalist Christian preacher yells about the evils of Islam and tears up a Koran nearby. The applicant is required to remain nonviolent and capable of conversation the entire time in order to pass. This test is important for ensuring that everyone who wants to enter western countries understands what is valued here and what that means for them.

    • John Grove

      This in effect was the rebuttal of the book by Sam Harris, The End of Faith”. We should not respect and tolerate religion. We need to criticize unexamined beliefs that do not have a shred of evidence. It should not be taboo to do that, it needs to be done.

    • Andy_Schueler

      It seems that integration of muslims into british societies has not worked very well (I know, Captain obvious strikes again…).
      We have a similar problem with the integration of muslims here in Germany, although it is not nearly as pronounced as it seems to be in the UK. The funny (in a tragic way) thing about this situation here in Germany is, that this problem was anticipated more than forty years ago – and five(!) times since then, our government paid a committee of experts to come up with possible strategies to solve this problem. All five times, they came up with the same strategies (mostly focussed on early child education (particularly language training) and preventing all forms of segregation (particularly in schools)), and all five times, our government did nothing to implement these strategies – because they were “too expensive”…

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, and I could be way off as this is from distant memory, but is the influx of Muslims to Germany particularly from Turkey? Would it be true to say that that form of Islam , being from a quite comparatively secular ‘Islamic’ state, is more moderate and less problematic for integration (as opposed to more hardline Middle Eastern and subcontinental Islam)?

        • Andy_Schueler

          Yup, most are from Turkey. Although most of those that came in the seventies (the influx was mostly the guest-workers in the seventies and eighties and their families) were not from the big cities like Istanbul and Ankara, but rather from small rural villages in Anatolia (the german government needed lots of cheap guest-workers back then and the people from rural areas in Turkey were much more willing to go abroad for work). And the families from these rural areas are on average much more conservative and traditional than those in urban areas (as it is everywhere else).
          But overall, my hunch would be that you are right – people with a turkish cultural background (particularly back then in the seventies, they´ve gotten much more religious since then) were probably not as hard to integrate in a western society as people from most other muslim countries.