Muslim community says NO to sex education for five year olds

Asian Leader By Majed Iqbal- Government plans to introduce Sex and relationship education to five year old primary school children have been heavily contested by campaign groups up and down the country by the Muslim community.

Once these studies are in fruition, parents will not have the choice to opt their children out of the lessons which will teach that Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-sexual relationships are perfectly normal.

The studies were designed with the perceived wisdom that ‘good sex education’ leads to better informed children and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) and teenage pregnancies.

The sexualisation of society in the form of media, film, songs and the internet has opened up a new wave of issues for everyone. Britain remains the lead country in Europe with the highest figures of teenage pregnancies whilst number of abortions carried out on girls aged under 18 in Wales was at a five-year high, in new government figures released this week

A recent UNICEF report placed Britain at the bottom of the league of 21 developed countries for children’s well-being. The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV reported in June 2007 that UK teenagers are facing a “sexual health crisis”, describing the increase in sexually-transmitted infections and high teenage pregnancy rates as “disturbing”.

Yusuf Patel and Farhad Khodabaksh, both Muslim activists from London, initiated a campaign against the government proposals after coming across information on plans to begin teaching Sex and relationship education to five year old primary school children in October last year.

On their SRE blog, which has an online petition and detailed reports on the topic, they explain “To illustrate the way SRE is being taught, at key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11) lets look at the booklet titled ‘Changing Times’, published by AVERT states, ‘There is no set time to begin having sexual relationships. Under the title ‘Getting Sexual’ it reassures children, ‘If a relationship gets sexual it can be very special. For a lot of people it’s a normal part of going out with someone’. Under the title ‘Feeling Curious’, ‘You might want to do sexual things like touching, kissing or masturbating with someone else because you feel curious or want to experiment'”.

The campaign has gained further attraction after Parents of children were threatened with prosecution after they withdrew their children from the ‘Gay Week’ lessons at Tomlinson primary school in East London last month.

Yusuf Patel and Farhad Khodabaksh organised a community meeting with the parents facing prosecution and was attended by one hundred parents from the area. Discussions included on applying pressure on schools to release papers on their decision making measures and processes such that parent could be made aware of what type of plans for education are in store for their children.

Yusuf Patel said “Children from the Muslim community are not immune from this dire situation. It is our informed view that the Muslim community is often oblivious to the problem of the early sexualisation of our children. Furthermore, we believe parents in our community are unaware of what is being taught in SRE lessons. It is also our view that Muslims should participate in schools as parents and as governors to engage with developing the curriculum so that not just our community can benefit but that the wider community can be won over to this alternative approach.”

An alternative Sex and Relationship Education is on its way, but from a perspective in line with the Islamic social framework which will begin from ages of five says Yusuf. However, this will not be taught in explicit ways as is currently done but will work to emphasise key areas which make children more aware about social values like the role and rank of the mother and father in Islam, Purification of the body parts at all times and especially for prayer (tahara) and gradually moving up to issues related to free mixing, marriage as a way forward for relationships with the opposite sex for older age groups.

“Unfortunately it seems like bodies like the FPA (family planning association) and SEF (sex education forum) which was one of the first organisations which promoted sex education for five year olds and is endorsed by the church of England are having a field day by milking the government of money from the societal miseries Britain is facing” said a concerned Yusuf.

The campaign has had widespread support in the whole of London and backed by Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets Council of Mosques and has now even reached North of the country with seminars already hosted in Sheffield .

The Rochdale community is also planning to embark on a similar mobilisation campaign on SRE at a local level. Plans include to raise awareness on the issue, get petition signatures, mobilise women to take an added interest in their children’s education and the values departed to them at school, engage with religious institutions like mosques and churches to challenge the social values presented in the studies, attract the online community through face book and YouTube video advert campaigns and distributing leaflets in English, Urdu and Bangla throughout Rochdale.

Further events and activities on the SRE issue are scheduled for Bradford, Manchester, Accrington, Burnley, Oldham and Bolton .

More information about the campaign and events can be read on http://www.sreislamic.wordpress.com

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Comments

  1. ds Ryan says:

    Assalamualaikum…. It is good writing. By normally, sex education will be good when educated to children older than 9 or 10 years old (puberty period).

  2. Parveen akhtar says:

    Please could you send me more information abt your alternative sre please. I am a parent governor and wud like to change how sre is taught how can I do this. Do you have sample petitions I can get parents to sign?

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