Published On: Mon, Dec 28th, 2015

Head of UK Muslim schools calls for teaching Judaism

And vice versa: Jewish schools teach about Islam; The British government will require 25 percent of religious curriculum be dedicated to teaching a second faith

creditsphotos  YOUTUBE Ashfaque Chowdhury,   head of the Association of Muslim Schools in Britain

 

The chairman of the Association of Muslim Schools in Britain has recommended that Muslim schools teach pupils about Judaism, echoing calls by the UK’s Chief Rabbi that Jewish schools teach about Islam, Jewish News Online reports.

“It is more important than ever that our children have a better understanding of Islam and that we build strong relationships with British Muslims, ” a spokesperson for Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told a Jewish Chronicle reporter.

“As such, the Chief Rabbi has recommended that schools take this opportunity to teach students Islam, a faith which is widely discussed but often poorly understood in public discourse.”

In response, the Association of Muslim Schools announced that it will write to its 130 member schools urging them to “reciprocate”.

“We were hoping to recommend Catholicism and Judaism as we can complement the teaching by visits to each other’s schools and joint activities between students. We feel it will contribute to community cohesion, British values and interfaith relations. I also feel that amongst Abrahamic religions Islam and Judaism are most similar, ” Ashfaque Chowdhury, head of the Association told Jewish News Online.

The British government has announced that beginning in September religious schools will be required to dedicate at least 25 percent of their curriculum to teaching about a second faith in order to receive a General Certificate of Secondary Education in religious studies – a move intended to promote tolerance and counter religious extremism in the country, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reports.

The new laws have been protested by religious lobby groups, Jewish News reported.

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Jonathan Rabson, Executive Director of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools described the new requirements as an “unwarranted intrusion into religious freedoms”.

Chowdhury, who is also head of the Alhikmah school in Luton, has already committed his school to teaching Judaism and said that around 20 other Muslim schools expressed interest in the initiative at a conference last month.

The office of the Chief Rabbi welcomed the Muslim Schools Association’s announcement, telling Jewish News Online:

“The news that the Association of Muslim Schools will now be recommending to its members that they teach Judaism to their students is extremely significant. We often talk about tolerance and understanding between communities as an ideal but education is the vehicle that will get us there. It is so important that every child learns from a young age that all people are created in the image of God, no matter what their faith or ethnicity and it is my hope that other Muslim schools will follow their lead”.

By i24news

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