Halal meat on Croydon’s school menus: striking a difficult balance


By - Wednesday 14th May, 2014

Rosie Edser examines how the vexed topic of halal meat impacts on children of all ethnicities in Croydon’s schools


School dinners in a time of dissent. Picture by Rosie Edser, used with parental permission.

‘But Rosie – if you buy the wrong kind of sausages for dinner we will burn in a lake of fire when we die!” said my daughter’s schoolfriend. She was 8 years old, coming to tea and we were standing in the aisle of the Turkish supermarket in London Road.

Halal’s a hot topic right now, with family-friendly Pizza Express the latest alleged offender. Food served to ‘routinely duped’ and ‘unsuspecting’ customers has been causing ‘fury’, according to the Daily Mail. Croydon’s church schools – except St Andrew’s – make sure their suppliers use entirely halal-free meat, following a Church of England directive that no pupil should be fed ritually-slaughtered meat unwittingly in its schools. But where does this leave their Muslim pupils?

As one indignant 10-year-old phrased it: ‘condemned to a life of jacket-potato-eating’. Confronted by another slew of national headlines on this vexed topic, I decided to investigate.

Many schools cite animal welfare reasons for avoiding halal

It’s not been easy to unearth the halal meat facts of many of our schools in Croydon, church or otherwise. Some office staff members are cagey, some friendly but uninformed and some happily chat away about the home-made Hawaiian pizzas the Muslim infants were about to eat until the ham was snatched off at the last minute by an alert teaching assistant.

Archbishop Tenison’s High School is entirely halal-free, as is Parish Church Juniors. At St Andrew’s quite a high percentage of the meat is halal but not all, at Harris Academy Purley all the meat is halal but at Oasis Academy Shirley Park none is. The Roman Catholic schools are served by suppliers who don’t do halal. Cypress Junior School went pork-free last June. A very mixed picture.

Pressed on the reasoning behind not serving halal meat, many schools cite animal welfare grounds and some mention the blessing aspect.

Halal slaughter is not necessarily more cruel, but it’s all a bit grim

Time for a swift bit of myth-busting. Is halal meat more cruel than killing animals any other way? Not necessarily, but it’s all a bit grim! The slaughter issue revolves around stunning. Traditionally in Islam, animals are conscious when they have their jugular vein, windpipe and carotid artery slit so the blood can drain out. They apparently lose consciousness after a few seconds and die within 30 but there can be some disconcerting twitching.

This ’non-stun’ method is allowed under UK law under special religious exemption grounds and certified by the Halal Monitoring Committee. You can find HMC butchers in Norbury, Thornton Heath, South Norwood and on London Road. Eden Valley Catering, who used to supply a number of Croydon schools, is also HMC-certified. The reason for not stunning is that the animal might accidentally be killed before it can be gassed/electrocuted/have a bolt shot into its brain. (See – not pretty, industrial meat slaughter, whether it’s halal or not). And Muslims may not eat meat from an animal dead prior to the slaughter process, blood or the products of blood.

The less rigorous Halal Food Authority permits stunning and is supplier to KFC. Over 80% of the halal meat butchered in Britain is stunned but overall it’s impossible to be exact as some is imported. The suffering/method debates will always rage – but I did learn that if an animal is starved or distressed, it cannot be regarded as halal.

The method of death is a peculiarly first-world concern

If we’re talking animal welfare, I’m more concerned about the animal’s quality life before death. The method of death is a peculiarly first-world concern. When I visited the RUSH project in rural Kenya, the goat was roaming freely around the compound until it was taken round the back of the house and – ta dah! Goat curry. I didn’t ask the method used but I did enjoy a lovely meal among people who often lack dietary protein.

The method of an animal’s death is also vitally important if you are Sikh. They are prohibited from eating ritually slaughtered meat, so if I were a Sikh parent whose child had been fed halal, that would be reasonable grounds for fury. Jews also have strict dietary laws but would therefore probably send in a packed lunch.

I think it’s reasonable to inconvenience many children slightly if it’s a very big deal for one child

As a western Christian parent I’m not too fussed. I think the case for church schools providing halal food where possible comes from the bible’s injunctions to care for the ‘alien’ (read ‘cultural minority’) in your society. We sacrifice our nut-related goods in school for the sake of the children with anaphylactic nut allergy, so I think it’s reasonable for the majority to be slightly put out if there’s a genuinely big issue for one child.

So, assuming it’s too expensive to provide both halal and halal-free meat options on the school menu, must my conscientious Muslim schoolgirl live by jacket potatoes alone? Happily, every Croydon school menu I checked had a mouth-watering daily vegetarian dish. It’s just as well: when I asked the lake-of-fire friend’s mother about halal food in schools, she replied: “To be honest, I wouldn’t trust it. I tell her to choose the vegetarian option”.

Rosie Edser

Rosie Edser

Rosie is a member of the team at Croydon Refugee Daycentre. She's a teacher of both adult English learners and (in her day job) children. She relishes the fact that her own offspring have attended a school in Croydon with over forty first languages spoken. She lives in Waddon.

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  • Anne Giles

    Even if an animal dies within seconds, it does feel the cut and that is nasty. We are no longer eating in Indian restaurants run by Muslims, but happy to eat in the South Indian restaurants run by Hindus.

    • Rosie E

      HI Anne it would be interesting to know whether the restaurants have entirely separate meat suppliers from each other. My hunch is that there will be some oer-lap but I may well be mistaken

      • Anne Giles

        Apparently, Hindus are very much against Halal meat.

        • Daniel

          Hindus are against meat full stop, without distinction between halal and non-halal. Those that do serve meat, are more often that not halal to cater for the widest market possible – and indeed, you will find that the majority of places in India do serve halal meat. I have never bought the “Christian” argument – how do you think Jesus killed his meat? And speak to any local butcher – gassing, electrocution are all modern innovations. You only need to go back 20 years to find that butchers used the same method as halal and kosher. Regarding stunning, over 80% of halal meat is stunned anyway, so it kind of negates your argument. The issue is not about halal or non-halal but it is a way that closet “anti-muslims” can rant about it Shariah Law in Britain.

          • Anne Giles

            None of us are anti-muslim at all. That is just paranoia. If 80% of halal meat is from animals that are stunned, we have no way of knowing which ones they are, so it is safer not to eat in those restaurants. The argument that Jesus killed his meat inhumanely and that years’ ago we all did the same does not wash. We are now a modern and compassionate society. A long time ago we were whipping people, putting criminals in the stocks and allowing others to throw things at them, we had their heads chopped off and later we hanged them. We are no longer a barbaric country. It is sad that many other countries still are. I have just read about a poor Sudanese woman who is to receive 100 lashes for marrying a Christian and is to be hanged for becoming a Christian. That is barbaric.

          • Daniel

            “None of us are anti-muslim at all.” Enough said.
            Perhaps there is an argument to help our fellow human beings first then? Just a thought….

          • Anne Giles

            We can help our fellow human beings, but at the same time we can protect our animals by not treating them inhumanely.

          • Daniel

            Then I am sure you will be declaring yourself vegetarian imminently. The fact that you are killing animals in the first place does not bother you? Yet you are up in arms about the way that your animal is killed yet you have no qualms about killing it. Stinks of hypocrisy. So does labeling countries as barbaric. I would be the first to condemn actions but I would never degrade another culture in the way that you have just done. I would be interested to see what would happen if you left your handbag in Croydon and then did the same in the UAE. Anne, I am sorry to say that your argument is blown out by the fact that you are not vegetarian. The overwhelming majority of meat in the world is “barbaric” as you claim, and since much of our food is imported, it is apparent that your dietary requirements restrict you from eating it on that basis. Protection for animals surely means not killing them?

          • Anne Giles

            I can see that you have a very argumentative nature, in which case I shall end this conversation.

  • David Callam

    Many years ago, your ancestors and mine killed and butchered our own meat, often quite painfully, I suspect.
    In living memory, relatives and friends of mine killed their own poultry for the table and, as a boy, I hunted hare and rabbit.
    Killing animals for the pot is, by its very nature, a bloody business, which our sanitised society now leaves to ‘industrial meat renderers’, but that doesn’t make it any less bloody.
    If you don’t like the idea of killing animals, become a vegetarian. Many would argue its a healthier option, anyway.

    • Anne Giles

      I am quite happy with killing animals, but they must be stunned first. Any other method is cruel. By the same token, I won’t buy eggs if the chickens have been battery raised. That is cruel too.

      • Thomas Darby

        I’m sorry to tell you Anne that all methods are cruel and you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. If you visit a slaughterhouse as I have, you can smell the stench of animal blood. That means that the animals who are yet to be slaughtered can too and are extremely distressed. I would describe that as cruel. Many animals shipped in from other countries for the meat and dairy industry die from lack of water and squalid, cramped conditions. You can’t say you care about animals and still eat meat-it is a complete juxtaposition.

        • Anne Giles

          We only buy meat from the Real Meat Company, where the animals run around freely, or Naturally Yours, in Cambridge. However, generally we eat fish every day and only eat meat when eating out or visiting.

          • Thomas Darby

            You sound like someone who has given this some thought and tries their best to be ethical in their choices so I would ask you to reconsider your approach to food (I really don’t mean this in a patronizing way, I just think that you are open to a discussion about this). Fish essentially die from drowning or bleed out from being impaled on a hook.

            Male calves in the dairy industry are separated from their mothers immediately and sent to the meat industry. Dairy cows’ bodies are put under huge strain by being kept pregnant in order to produce milk. When they give birth, their bodies release chemicals meaning they want to nurture and bond with their young. Accordingly, they feel loss and depression when the separation happens.

            Pigs sing to their young, make nests and are (sure you have heard this before!) more intelligent than all breeds of dog, with a higher cognitive rate.

            It is difficult to accept that the way we live day to day, is hurting others and very hard to change when we have become so dependent on dairy and meat. I am a struggling vegan-it is tough as I do miss dairy, but felt hypocritical being just a vegetarian when I had read about the realities of the dairy industry. I tried to read as widely as possible-not just on animal rights sites, but industry magazines too before I came to my conclusion.

            If you are interested in this do try experimenting with new vegan or vegetarian recipies some time (it really is silly to label them that as they are just meat-free food). Have you ever tried Soya? I found it strange at first-but that may just have been due to my mind frame!

          • Anne Giles

            I am not allowed dairy products from cows, as it happens. Can no longer stand the smell or taste of milk of any sort. I use a soya spread on my toast and once a week we both have a delicious soya vanilla ice cream. My husband even prefers it to the dairy version! It’s all very difficult, because I used to love having prawns for my lunch until I discovered that they all came from Thailand and were being picked by slaves. :-(

          • Nik Macve

            Eating fish is no better. Fish also feel pain and the fishing industries are mainly very destructive and wasteful, killing many birds and marine mammals, tearing up the sea-bed and generally leaving chaos in their wake. The difference is, you can see some of what goes on in land-based food production. Eating fish isn’t any morally or ecologically better than eating factory-farmed meat, it’s just more difficult to see the damage done.

  • ..

    Sorry, I disagree. Forcing halal on non-muslims knowingly or unknowingly is persecution. It is not fair. As for muslims they have the onus of making availability of both types a commercial viability failing which they can choose to eat potato as one guy said above. There is nothing wrong with eating potato if muslims feel so strongly about the available meat and don’t have the money to carry their own sandwiches from their home. Too bad if they are inconvenienced.

    • Rosie E

      Hi there anonymous commenter, I’m not arguing that halal meat should
      be forced on anyone, I think it should be clearly labelled and
      communicated. There is indeed nothing wrong with eating potato or the
      other very good vegetarian meal options that Croydon schools provide.

      Persecution is a fairly strong word… which I think implies some intention to
      injure. I think if halal meat has been included in school meals and not
      communicated to parents it’s been more through over-sight than
      intention.

      • ..

        Alright Rosie. Thanks for clarifications. You need to remember the issue is not just that normal meat could be offensive to some or to assume that Halal could be the new universal. Some other people do find Halal as offensive if not more. I agree labelling is the answer.

  • Guest

    Hi there anonymous commenter I’m not arguing that halal meat should be forced on anyone, I think it should be clearly labelled and communicated. There is indeed nothing wrong with eating potato or the other very good vegetarian meal options that Croydon schools provide.

    Persecution is a fairly strong word… which I think implies some intention to injure. I think if halal meat has been included in school meals and not communicated to parents it’s been more through over-sight than intention.

  • http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk IftikharA

    Muslims say a prayer before they kill an animal. Christians say a prayer before they eat it. I’m not sure why either of these practices should be thought particularly offensive. How on earth does eating a piece of meat or poultry that has been slaughtered with a prayer equate to accepting or supporting a religious practice? Why are you so threatened if a person has said a couple of words in Arabic beforehand? With so much crap going on in the world it’s ridiculous (and frankly embarrassing) that
    this is something of major concern to the extent that it is creating so many
    headlines. Granted, people should be told if they are eating halal meat, but the
    vitriolic responses are becoming increasingly disturbing. This is not about food
    standards, it is not about ‘defending’ a secular society, it is not about
    labelling or consumer rights or animal welfare. This is about the fact that some
    people just don’t like Muslims.

    Slaughterhouses are businesses, they also have “the right to choose” to conduct and practice their business in whichever way they wish in order to maximise their customer base. Pizza Express and other restaurants also have “the right to choose” what their
    menu consists of, again in order to maximise their customer base. Both
    halal-compliant slaughterhouses and Pizza Express are doing just that, nothing
    sinister or malicious or untoward. You have the right as the consumer to choose
    what you buy/eat, sure, which is why it’s important that products are labelled
    well and that, say, places which use halal meat say that they do. Which Pizza
    Express was doing anyway. This wasn’t a secret, the company are pretty clear
    about it on their website and if this matters so much to you then surely in
    order to exercise your “right to choose” as a consumer and decide whether/not to
    eat there you have to actually go and do some research? If you want to be an
    engaged consumer you have to actually be an engaged consumer, you can’t
    expect everybody to do it for you, you have to ask. When you buy a
    chocolate bar, do you expect somebody to rush up to you and say ‘BY THE WAY THAT CONTAINS NUTS~!’ or do you read the packaging?

    This is a story about lazy people who couldn’t be bothered to act like engaged consumers and are horrified to find out that they were ‘unwittingly’ being given something they never asked not to be given in the first place. That is all it is. My only concern is mislabeling food. If it is halal – it should be labelled as such. For example,
    the branches of subway which sell halal meat clearly show it. So, you have a
    choice – go in and buy halal food or not. In the case of supermarkets selling
    meat which is actually halal but not clearly labelled, this should change. Just
    like for a muslim it is important they eat halal eat meat it is important for
    some people (e.g. Sikhs) that their meat not be ritually slaughtered. In regards
    to animal welfare its a load of bullcrap. Ask the animal how it feels when it’s
    life is taken. Calling it ‘humane’ is just nonsense. These type of news articles
    are purely about inciting hatred – the only ones who don’t see it are the ones
    who truly believe that they have a right to hate on another group of people
    purely by what they believe. As my son asked “All our tongues are the same
    colour so why do they hate us daddy?”

    You guys can eat anything even pigs that roll in their own filth but you wont eat HALAL which is clean meat. You know, the bible also says you shouldn’t eat pork as it is
    ‘unclean’…..just saying for all of you stating this is a christian country.
    Bit of course it’s nothing to do with the meat, it’s just another excuse to have
    a pop at Muslims isn’t it. I for one am proud to live in a multicultural society
    and am glad that my child is growing up in one. I would hate for her to grow up
    as a little Englander with a hateful, narrow view of the world and frightened of
    anything even remotely different to her. Pork is banned in the christian
    religion. Read the bible and find out. Stop this vendetta against Halal
    meat……how many will get an Asian / Indian halal curry after a night Boozing!
    And as usual I bet the Muslim parents wouldn’t have an issue with pork etc as
    long it was served n cooked separately to the Halal food which would also apply
    if catering for vegetarians and non vegetarians!!

    British Muslims have every right to be catered for. They are as British as the rest. I
    think people are worried in case the ritual prayers are in fact spells which
    will turn them all into Muslims. This week’s row has got nothing all to do with
    animal welfare. The fuss is about people’s fears over the covert Islamification
    of society. You may or may not agree that concerns are realistic or even
    legitimate, but food suppliers and others concerned ought not to deny that it is
    an issue or answer criticisms honestly. I don’t think eating halal meat actually
    turns you into a Muslim. This time it is aimed at Muslims. However assaults on
    ritual slaughter have a long history in terms of European anti-Semitism. This is
    just more of the same, prejudice dressed up as concern for animal welfare.

    Taking lives, foods and shelters of others are cruelty, so, don’t take meat, fish and
    vegetables for food because they have lives. Don’t milk animals because they
    are their babies food. Don’t take drinks because they are the abodes of so many
    living creatures. Don’t let mothers do breast-feeding because it harms their
    beauty…..Just be the champion of saints of mankind! ” – Do this words sounds
    funny? Hope, don’t for those champions who are the modern advocates of “RIGHTS”.
    Stunning is unethical. Stunning causes the animal SO much pain. Halal is HUMANE
    and CARING to the animal. Denmark is a country that SUPPORTS animal cruelty.
    Science has shown the Halal is peaceful. Science has shown that stunning causes
    animals PAIN and SUFFERING. Centuries ago people were more natural. Stop
    perverted GMO and perverted food practices. Islam is the best way of
    life.

    Birmingham school says sorry for serving non-Halal meat to Muslim pupils. Council catering staff had wrongly dished up the non-Halal food to Muslim pupils on December 12, but details have only just come to light. On Monday parents received a letter
    from Craig Jansen, head of the 1,400-pupil secondary school and sixth form, in
    which he apologised unreservedly for the incident.

    There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies so that non-Muslim children could enjoy their own meals in their own schools.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust

    • Stephen Giles

      “Christians say a prayer before they eat” – correction please – a few Christians say a prayer before they eat!!!!!!!

  • http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk IftikharA

    Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they
    need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during
    their development period also. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a
    teacher in a Muslim school.

    Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights
    of parents to ensure that ‘education and teaching(of their children) is in
    conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.’ The schools
    must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils.
    State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to
    satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor
    belt for churning out exam passes – it is a community, a family. A community is
    held together by common values and
    principles.

    Western media and politicians have been trying
    their best to propagate against Muslim schools. Muslim schools are even called
    Osama bin Laden Academies by a Teaching Union. Only less than 5% of Muslim
    children attend Muslim schools while more than 95% are in state schools to be
    mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers. The demand for
    state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim
    community is not asking for any favour. Muslim community pays all sorts of taxes
    and is less burden on social services. Church leaders say it is no longer
    “appropriate” for them to run Sacred Heart RC Primary School which has just six
    Christian pupils. The school in Blackburn, Lancs, could be handed to the nearby
    Masjid-e-Tauheedul mosque.

    The Muslim community has been passing through a
    phase of fourth Crusades. The battleground is the field of education, where the
    young generation will be educated properly with the Holly Quran in one hand and
    Sciences in other hand to serve the British society and the world at large. A
    true Muslim is a citizen of the world, which has become a small global village.
    We are going to prepare our youth to achieve that objective in the long run. A
    true Muslim believes in Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus and without them one
    cannot be a Muslim. My suggestion is that in all state, independent and
    Christian based school special attention should be given to the teaching of
    Comparative Religion and Islam should be taught by qualified Muslim Teachers to
    make the children aware the closeness of Islam to Christianity and Judaism which
    will help them to think about Islam, as “A Pragmatic and Modern Way of Life,”
    during their life time.

    The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents
    who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see
    Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they
    won’t feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their
    faith. Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities.
    There is a belief among ethnic minority parents that the British schooling does
    not adequately address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could
    result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up
    Muslim school is a defensive response. State schools with monolingual teachers
    are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual
    teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother
    tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second
    language if his first language is ignored.

    It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and
    Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views.
    It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss
    them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong
    to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what
    German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach
    children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before
    marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is
    against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to
    hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

    Extremism, homophobia and
    anti-Semitism are nothing to do with Islamic teachings and beliefs. Islam does
    not teach that Jews and Christians are pigs and monkeys. The Policy Exchange
    Think-tank should concentrate on institutionally racist British schooling with
    chicken racist teachers. Muslim parents do not want their children with
    behaviour problems that include unprovoked aggression, promiscuity, violence,
    eating disorder, bullying and alcohol. According to ATL, teachers believe
    behaviour is worse than it was five years ago, with even five year olds being
    disrespectful, intimidating and violent. This is the true picture of British
    broken society and the Muslim community does not want to be integrated. The
    British government is again asking us, Muslims, to adopt the” British values”
    and to integrate fully into the British way of life. But many so called “British
    values” are not acceptable to us. The Muslims don’t want to integrate or abide by western law.
    Just because they don´t want to wear nude clothes or at least cloth that can
    show how big her breast are… so these people failed to integrate. Just because
    they don’t like free sex, then these people failed again. What a dirty Bush mind
    you have!

    British schooling and the British society is the
    home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to
    develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leaves
    schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. British
    schools are not doing enough to tackle racism and promote race relations. Many
    teachers are unaware of racist attitudes amongst pupils. Schools have a
    responsibility not only to deal with racist incidents but also to prepare pupils
    for life in a multicultural and multiracial society. At least one racist
    incident is reported daily in Bolton schools, according to stats obtained from
    Bolton Council by Mancunian Matters. Bolton Council of Mosques
    Manager, Ibrahim Kala, said the data is only the “tip of the iceberg” and that
    Islamophobia makes up a large portion of the reported incidents. Stats obtained
    through the Freedom of Information request show 2,397 cases of racism in Bolton
    schools in the years from 2004 to 2013, meaning on average there are 1.26 racist
    incidents occur daily – and these are only the ones being reported.

    British society must learn to respect and tolerate those who
    are different. God has created diverse human beings to live in this tiny global
    village of one family. Creation by its very nature is diverse with different
    species, different communities, different cultures and languages. These
    differences represent the beauty and wonder but diversity is sometimes not fully
    appreciated, resulting in all sorts of clashes. The British society and
    Establishment must learn to respect and accommodate others, as if in a family. A
    report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were
    deserting some schools after finding their children outnumbered by pupils from
    ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly
    segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and
    colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent
    years.

    This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism.
    A study by Bristol University reveals that a high level of
    racial segregation in Oldham schools and tension between communities resulted in
    recent riots in 2001. The solution is that those schools where Muslim children
    are majority may be designated as Muslim community schools. The native parents
    do not want their children to be educated along with migrant children. As soon
    as they find that the number of other children is on the increase, they remove
    their children to those schools where native children are in
    majority.

    Truth is always bitter. You must learn to listen
    to those who are culturally, linguistically and spiritually different. Education
    is should be more than providing pupils with the skills they need to get a job
    or enter university: we should not forget that we have a duty to pass on a body
    of knowledge through generations.

    Prince Charles, while visiting the
    first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would
    be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who
    attend state schools, deemed to be “sink schools”? You better teach your
    children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children
    according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and society should
    concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way
    of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British
    society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture,
    binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. In education, there should be
    a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s
    and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was
    declared a “school hijacker” by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper.
    This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and
    diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are
    different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a
    further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for
    five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in
    Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of
    the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism,
    multiculturalism and bullying. According to a recent report, Muslim schools
    performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the
    country’s 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos
    and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children
    what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structured
    guidance.

    You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach
    their children according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and
    society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to
    change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate
    with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug
    and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. Prince
    Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north
    London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what
    about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be “sink schools”?
    In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim
    community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim
    community schools, I was declared a “school hijacker” by an editorial in the
    Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British
    media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has
    no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager
    resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools
    achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state
    and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing
    better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed
    to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.

    There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim
    Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim
    schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to
    succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence
    in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and
    respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society.
    Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better
    discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and
    boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role
    models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and
    demands.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust

    • Anne Giles

      This is really scary!

      • http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk IftikharA

        Why it is scary? The demand for state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim community is not asking for a special favour. With out immigration, British society and economy would bleed to death.

        The problems of the British are nothing to do with immigrants..they are just incompetent..look at every project every attempted by them, it always goes over-budget and with massive delays…immigrants mean expansion, building new homes etc, the British rather than taking the positive can do American approach, just piss and moan about the good old days while doing nothing…the truth is, you as a people are negative and also lazy..this is the source of all your problems, don’t blame immigration.

        Not a single Muslim youth educated in a Muslim school ever went to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. That Islamic values are inculcated to students in a mainly Muslim school seems perfectly reasonable to me. Only bigots would object. Before accusing all Muslims as terrorists, make sure you civilize yourself with true facts. Do not depend on media and rumours… You are all blinded with stereotypes.. so in other words, you are all ignorant ! Thank God our religion taught us how to respect peoples religion and opinions. Whatever you say reflects who you follow.. so thanks for proving us right.

        Terrorism,honour killings,forced marriage, sexual exploitation, are far far away from the religion Islam itself, Islam isn’t a part of any of this, you need to 1st educate yourself about the religion before blabbering into the comment section my friends, if I blame a particular religion
        for the terror caused in Afghanistan Iraq by the British and the Americans, the millions of Innocent killed, Rapes , High crime rate(i myself got mugged in London), prostitution,drug abuse, how would Brits react to that? talking bout immigration the Great Britain has ruined Countries in the past exploited Countries like India and Pakistan, If not for them Ruining the economic state of these nations, there wouldn’t be a day where people would want to move to Europe
        to lead a better life, it would be the other way around. Blame your ancestors for the Brutal crimes they committed in the past and the Innocent lives your Government has ruined in the present for personal gains.
        IA
        London School of Islamics Trust

    • Thomas Darby

      All children, Muslim or otherwise need good role models from different religions. This will teach tolerance. If we segregate ourselves we will not be able to understand each other. Many of your statements above show your own intolerance and misunderstanding of others, the very fact that you state ‘Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society’ shows how intolerant you are. You do not speak for all Muslims so don’t assume they all share your views. Many people of all faiths move to this country to get away from the crippling narrow mindedness and intolerance of their own governments, we do not need this here.

      You state: ‘You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands.’ So what’s the point of being in this country if you have absolutely no interest in being a part of it?

      You state: ‘Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug
      and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion.’ I would have thought that your own community would be tired of the stereotypes put upon them, so please do not label everyone else with the same brush.

      You are correct in stating that in many schools Muslim children are in the majority, but this does not mean that the schools should automatically be changed, if that were the way things worked then every faith would be in a constant race to have more and more children. At every turn you talk about how inferior other ways of life are, even ‘evil’, yet you say Muslim schools will promote tolerance? How will you teach tolerance when you say flat out that everything you don’t believe in is evil or in some way inferior?

      This country’s ethos, morals and democratic process are the reason why all children here can get an education. This country is the reason why all are thought equal. This country is NOT evil. I am very glad you do not have more power.

      • http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk IftikharA

        According to a recent report, Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country’s 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children
        what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structured guidance.

        A man is a product of his culture, language and faith. State funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers would help bilingual Muslim children to develop their cultural, linguistic and spiritual identities before they are exposed to other cultures and faiths. A
        bilingual Muslim child must learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time he/she must learn and be well versed in Arabic to recite and understand the Holy Quran. On top of that he/she must learn Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with his/her cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of his/her literature and poetry. Without Muslim schools, Muslim children are not going to develop their Islamic identity, crucial for their mental, social, emotional and personality development. We have already
        lost four generations and fifth one is in the process of losing its cultural,
        linguistic and spiritual Identities.

        I have been campaigning for state funded Muslim schools for the last 45 years because British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racists. British teachers are not role models for Muslim children during their developmental periods.

        None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the
        educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in
        single-sex classes.

        I set up the first Muslim school in London in 1981 and now there are about 188 Muslim schools and only 18 are state funded. I would like to see each and every Muslim child in a state funded Muslim school with bilingual Muslim teachers as role model. There is no place for a
        non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

        Western media and politicians have been trying their best to propagate against Muslim schools. Muslim schools are even called Osama bin Laden Academies by a Teaching Union. Only less than 5% of
        Muslim children attend Muslim schools while more than 95% are in state schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.

        The demand for state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim community is not asking for any favour. Muslim community pays all sorts of taxes and is less burden on social services.

        Church leaders say it is no longer “appropriate” for them to run Sacred Heart RC Primary School which has just six Christian pupils. The school in Blackburn, Lances, could be handed to the nearby
        Masjid-e-Tauheedul mosque.

        Harry Devonport of Blackburn with Darwin Council Children’s Services, said the decision to abandon the school was made by the Diocese of Salford. Diocese education director Geraldine Bradbury said: “We have never experienced a change to this extent before. We would not be serving the local community by insisting that we run the school. It brings things like having a Catholic head teacher and devoting 10% of the timetable to RE.”It would be wrong of us to insist on putting a school community through that.”

        There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual
        Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
        IA
        http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk