'British Muslim Culture' For Children

"I know we've come a long way, we're changing day to day, but tell me, where do the children play?" - said Cat Stevens, who became a convert to Islam in 1978 after a near-death experience, and now named Yusuf Islam.

'British Muslim Culture' For Children

Islamia, a Muslim Primary School, which Islam founded nearly 20 years ago to promote the Islamic culture and help raise young Muslims on the right tenets of Islam, and funded by the British government, is now well known for its excellent scholastic reputation.

Since the 9/11 bombings that hit the U.S. in 2001 and the cheap anti-Muslims media campaign that followed it as well as Madrid and in London bombings, Muslims have been fighting a fierce battle against the widespread misconception about the noble spirit and nature of the Islamic religion.

All that made whether or not to fund Islam-based schools with taxpayer money an issue of heated debate across the U.S. and various European countries. Also Muslim students have been battling discrimination once their Islamic identity is revealed. Islamia Primary School, which was established in 1981 and is receiving the government funding since 1998, was the first full-curriculum Muslim school in UK, according to MSNBC.

Islamia, with 210 pupils and 3,500 children on the waiting list, is known for its students' high exam scores.

The school had been established by Yusuf Islam, who currently lives with his wife and five children in London, where he is an active member of the Muslim community, and Abdullah Trevathan — a Muslim New Yorker- It has been visited by high-profile figures like Prince Charles and Muhammad Ali.

"There's a very big waiting list because it's got a good reputation around here," said Abdurraheem Rushton, an 11-year-old pupil. "I'm very happy I got into such a good school," he said.

The widespread misconception about Islam and the Muslims' role in Europe has called into question the funding of such institutions, with some government politicians claiming that funding religious institutions including schools helps creating a "ghetto-ized education system,"

"Traditional Islamic education does not entirely fit pupils for their lives as Muslims in modern Britain," David Bell, ex-chief inspector of schools says.

The issue has divided Europe, from the Netherlands, where the government funds nearly 40 Muslim schools, to France, which has recently banned Hijab and religious symbols from state schools.

This week, kids in the assembly hall organised a "Circus Show" play, featuring "Acrobat Girl," "Jumping Abdullah" "and the "Double Trouble" twins.

Those who visit Islamia would see pupils baking cakes, reading English books and sitting with teachers helping them develop their computer skills.

The school classrooms are all well-equipped and decorated with numbers, letters, drawings, science projects and collages,

The assembly hall doubles as a mosque, where boys pray on a separate side of the room from the girls — food is Halal, and girls over 8 wear Hijab, the Islamic headscarves.

"We study Arabic, the Koran — writing and learning it — and Islamic studies," said Rushton, who, like the most of the school pupils, comes from a multi-ethnic family.

"My dad's from England and my mum's family's from India," he said.

Islamia was established with the aim of providing children with an alternative way of learning, together with a foundation in Islam.

Although the school is based on the Sunni tradition, it also has Shia teachers and students.

Students at the school represent 23 different nationalities, Trevethan said, however,"we're in the business of creating a British Muslim culture, not preserving another culture."

"We have a spiritually based ethos," he said, adding that students are asked to be "critical friends".

The beauty of spirituality is its "mysticism" and that not everything has to have an absolute answer, Trevathan said.

The students, for their part, talk about how cared for and protected their teachers make them feel.

"At Islamia they help Muslims, because there's loads of Muslims around here (in London) who aren't praying and are doing what they're not supposed to do. This school is encouraging you to do what you're supposed to do, so that's what makes it different," Rushton said when asked what makes Islamia a unique institution.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16