An eye-opening report released by the BBC on Monday found that roughly 5,000 students attending 40 Muslim schools and after-school clubs in the UK have been taught the Saudi national curriculum — which includes subjects like chopping off the hands of thieves and the demonization of Jews and gay people.
From the BBC report:
One of the text books asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jewish people. A text for younger children asks what happens to someone who dies who is not a believer in Islam — the answer given in the text book is “hellfire.”
Another text describes the punishment for gay sex as death and states a difference of opinion about whether it should be carried out by stoning, burning with fire or throwing the person over a cliff.
Considering the growing problem of youth radicalization in the UK, this report is quite disturbing — but it’s certainly no surprise. Three years ago, the BBC revealed that textbooks at the Saudi-funded King Fahad Academy in East London referred to Jewish people as “repugnant” and Christians as “pigs.” The school was initially investigated by British officials, but once the textbooks were removed, no further action was taken.
This new BBC report pretty much confirms that the government has done nothing since that incident to deal with these problems. A 2007 analysis by the Telegraph showed that more than half of the 114 private Muslim schools had not been officially inspected for more than half a decade, and I think it’s fair to assume that this hands-off policy by the government has continued until now.
Even in light of the BBC report, education officials seem pretty blasé about what’s going on in Saudi-backed classrooms. When contacted by the BBC about the problematic curricula, Michael Gove, the education secretary, offered this gem of an understatement:
“To my mind it doesn’t seem to me that this is the sort of material that should be used in English schools,” said Grove.
He said that part-time schools were not required to undergo inspections, but officials were looking into the possibility.
“Ofsted are doing some work in this area, they’ll be reporting to me shortly about how we can ensure that part-time provision is better registered and better inspected in the future.”
Great — but let’s that hope education officials actually start taking this problem seriously.