Muslim educationalists in Bristol have slammed the UK Government’s plans to regulate madrassas.
A consultation by the Department for Education (DfE) is now ongoing into how religious schools can be inspected and regulated.
In November, Prime Minister David Cameron said children were, “having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate” at madrassas.
There are about 2,000 madrassas in Britain, and any out-of-school settings providing education would be required to register and be open to inspection.
Many Muslim children attend madrassas to learn Arabic and attend religious classes.
Abdul Malik, chairman of Easton’s Jamia Mosque told the Bristol Post: “We run a brilliant madrassa that was recently established in the mosque and we feel that the government and David Cameron has misrepresented what occurs at mosques and madrassas to pander to the right-wing of his party.
“Sadly in the current growing anti-Islamic environment, it’s become a trend among politicians to whip up support from within their party as well as among certain sections of society by exaggerating and playing to people’s fears of Islam and Muslims.
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“I truly feel that such statements are irresponsible and will foster fear and hatred towards Muslims and their institutions.
“This may result in mosques and madrassas being attacked and thus endangering the safety of those children and adults who attend these places.
“As a mosque we believe that the British government is unduly encroaching upon the legitimate right of Muslims to teach their children their faith.
“This has been done lawfully for decades in the UK. Our teachers have to be CBS checked and they undergo training in safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.
“I further believe that mosques and madrassas should remain independent and free to teach Islam in a lawful manner as they currently are.
“We reject any proposals to register mosques and madrassas, believing it to be a waste of time and playing politics with the Muslim community to appease anti-Islamic sentiments amongst certain sections of society.
“It’s not appropriate nor necessary and Muslims have been teaching Islam in a lawful and productive manner for many years in the UK. Any improvements to the process should be developed by the Muslim community themselves.”
In response to the Gov proposal to register madrassas, over 300 Mosques, Madrassas, Imam’s and teachers have signed a joint-statement on a campaign launched called “Keep Mosques Independent” unequivocally rejecting the Government’s proposal to register Mosques and expressing their desire to “Keep Mosques Independent”. You can find out more on www.keepmosquesindependent.org.