ROCHDALE OBSERVER ARTICLE- School sex class faces opposition

observer The following article appeared in the Rochdale Observer Newspaper highlighting the Rochdale Campaign by the Muslim Community on the SRE issue.

A CAMPAIGN has been launched against government plans to introduce sex and relationship education to primary school children as young as five.

School sex class faces opposition

Majed Iqbal, a Rochdale Muslim community activist, has set up a Facebook group and created a campaign video, which can be seen on the internet video site YouTube, to challenge the plans and he is urging both Muslim and non-Muslim parents to join.

He believes the onus is on parents to teach children about sex and not teachers.

The department for children, schools and families announced plans last year to make sex education and lessons about the dangers of drugs and alcoholcompulsory in primary and secondary schools under government moves to protect young people from pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse.

Under the proposals, which are still in the consultation process and are unlikely to come into force until next year, children will learn to talk about peer pressure and their feelings, in sex and relationship education (SRE) lessons.

They will learn the names of body parts and about animal reproduction.

Between the age of eight and 11 they will be taught about the biological aspects of sex.

Mr Iqbal, who says he hopes to ‘mobilise’ women to take an added interest in their children’s education, wants to engage with religious institutions such as mosques and churches to challenge the social values presented in the studies.

He will also be posting leaflets in English, Urdu and Bangla throughout Rochdale.

He said: “This is an issue that affects parents throughout Rochdale and the rest of the UK.

“We believe the teaching of SRE in schools is inappropriate, both in terms of the philosophy which underpins the way it is approached and the resources used.

“There is a misguided belief that children will engage in sexual relations, all of the solutions look at making this behaviour ‘safe’ rather than challenging the lack of values which make this behaviour acceptable.”

He added: “Children do not need information, they need to be taught what is right and wrong.

“They need to be shown and taught what the boundaries of acceptable behaviour are.”

Mr Iqbal, who is inviting people to get involved via his blog, will also be holding awareness sessions so parents can understand SRE classes.

He said: “Though the campaign has a Muslim focus it does not mean that the wider community cannot get involved.

“These are concerns for all parents and we want to work with everybody to get the message to the government that this proposal is not welcome.”

Terry Piggott, Rochdale’s executive director of children’s services, said all primary schools are required to have a policy that outlines the provision of SRE but each school creates its own individual programme.

The broader personal, social and health education and citizenship, including SRE – which includes learning about gender differences, relationships and feelings – would be made compulsory for the first time under the government proposals.

He said: “Effective and early PSHE lays vital foundations for sex and relationships education (SRE) in the future, because it involves the development of the personal and social skills necessary for positive relationships.”

He added: “Rochdale primary schools recognise the vital role they play in building on the learning established within the home and early years settings and in laying the foundations for more detailed SRE later on in secondary school.

“Parents and carers who have concerns should contact their child’s school if they need further detail with regards to this aspect of the curriculum.”

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  1. Muslim parents teach their children to respect their teachers. From a very young age, we are taught that Islam teaches us that after our parents, our teachers are most deserving of respect.
    It must be an extremely confusing time for the Muslim parent in Leytonstone, London. For up to 30 parents may face prosecution for withdrawing their children from school, disobeying the teachers in the school, simply to secure a decent moral upbringing for their children. The school had decided to have a week of lessons about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. Part of this was a special adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet retitled Romeo and Julian as well as fairytales and stories changed to show men falling in love with men. Rather than filling the heads of impressionable boys and girls with fatuous drivel about gay penguins, schools should be ashamed of the fact that they are sending children out into the world barely able to read, write and add up properly. Muslim children are leaving schools without learning their cultural roots and linguistic skills.

    The action was being taken against the parents as part of a policy of ‘ promoting tolerance’. So why not tolerate parents, who, for sincerely-held reasons, consider their children too young to be taught about gay relationships? This isn’t education, its cultural fascism. A record numbers of pupils persistently played truant in 2006-07, with around 272,950 pupils persistently absent in 2007, missing more than 20% of school. We rarely see councils prosecute the parents of these persistent truants. Yet, the parents who removed their children as a one-off to protect their morality may be prosecuted!

    If the local council does decide to go through with a prosecution, it would be in line with the government’s approach to the Muslim community. Muslims who believe homosexuality is a sin would be labelled as extremists. Liberal totalitarianism is a growing phenomenon in Britain and the west in general but many people will be shocked that the school can override a parent’s view of what’s appropriate or inappropriate to teach their children.

    This latest episode should be a wakeup call for Muslim parents. Muslim parents MUST explain our moral standards to schools and be prepared to take steps to protect our children’s morals and values from a growing agenda to impose liberal values upon them. This is an eye opening for those Muslim parents who keep on sending their children to state schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.

    The solution of all the problems facing Muslim children is state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. Those state schools where Muslim children are in majority may be designated as Muslim community schools. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods.
    Iftikhar Ahmad

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