Former headteacher Jahangir Akbar says Muslim parents faced with belligerent schools who promote age-inappropriate sex education or un-Islamic ideologies must stand their ground and fight for the sake of their children’s iman.
It is shocking how parents’ rights are being reduced and neglected while schools breach their own processes. The guidance on Relationship and Sex Education teaching is very clear and states that parents must be consulted and their religious perspectives must be taken into due consideration.
Yet schools in this country are increasingly marginalising parents. This disenfranchisement must stop as parents are one of the trio of educating stakeholders – the other two being the children and the school, respectively.
Nevertheless, the conflict continues. Has the government got this wrong? Yes, massively. And what is crystallising now across the country will be even worse in years to come. Even our non-Muslim peers and associates are aghast at what is being taught and are livid about the lack of transparency, accountability and their loss of rights.
The debate has even escalated into the law courts. Last year parents in Wales lost a legal bid to have the right to remove children from such age-inappropriate lessons. Extreme humanists concluded that this was “a victory for children.”
Those parents who oppose the LGBTQ+ agenda are often regarded as intolerant and anti-gay. This whataboutery is a distraction and an attempt to silence genuine critics and concerned parents. Most religious and like-minded groups have no issue learning about differences of lifestyle, cultures and religion. The issue is when this LGBTQ ideology is forced and in many ways openly promoted in schools.
The government and others nonsensically argue that the new “imposed” curriculum will “promote equality and inclusivity,” but schools were already duty bound by the Equality Act and other mediums, such as Citizenship and PSHE lessons, to do this.
The courts have again wrongfully weighed in, thereby reducing the human rights of parents. This was evidenced when a Christian mother who sued her child’s school after claiming her 4-year-old son was forced to participate in an LGBTQ pride march without her consent is now having to appeal after a court dismissed her case. This legal reductionist approach could get even worse and goes against natural justice.
Parent governors, community groups, parent associations and like-minded concerned groups now need to hold hands and collectively fight this. There is no other way. The government has created this mess and have spectacularly failed to identify the implications of the promotion of this ideology. They have no choice but to remove this mandatory part of the curriculum.
This ongoing hostility is going to grow so it is now time for some strong measures from the parents. If parents don’t make a stand, fight for their rights and challenge this imposing ideology, then schools will get away with these breaches and, more importantly, it will affect future generations.
Parents are seeing through some of these “outstanding” schools. Ofsted is a farce and the sooner parents realise this Ofsted’s mask will fall off. Don’t take Ofsted seriously and don’t be misled by them.
The school leadership also have a legal duty towards parents. A school with a high ethnic cohort should have an understanding and sensitive leadership team. When the school is brought into a dispute, a without-prejudice mediation or investigation should take place, with mutually agreed terms of reference.
When protests outside school gates occur something has gone badly wrong and the school’s conduct and actions should be audited against the government guidance to determine what has happened, and if they have breached process/procedure.
That said, the belligerent Ofsted usually gets involved and takes the side of the school. Yet if something very foul is at play parents must stand their ground.
There is wider frustration. Muslim parents have utterly failed to fight this and stay up to date with the current issues. How can Muslim parents blindly hand over their children to schools promoting such an ideology? In some ways, many will argue: tough, now live with it.
So Muslims take note and be warned. If you don’t make any attempt to become an equal and active stakeholder in this country, then fool you. The aftermath will be life-changing.
This is not about a lack of conformity or hate or disrespect; it’s about fairness, transparency and human rights and at this moment in time, Muslims are being unfairly targeted.
Let the fight continue. Alhumdullilah, it’s a good fight. Be brave, courageous and turn to Allah SWT. You have nothing to be afraid of. He is with us.