COMMENT- Government Fanaticism to cure ‘Extremism’ in Madrassas?

By Majed Iqbal– It was a few weeks ago when British PM, David Cameron announced that he would enforce tough measures on any educational institute that promotes intolerance and extremism. Weeks after these announcements, many are now beginning to see the irrelevance of his words uttered at the Tory Party Conference and are realising the repercussions this will have specifically on the target community, in this case it is Muslims and Muslims alone.

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6th October 2015- Cameron speaks about plans to counter ‘Extremism’ by inspecting Madrassas.

“There was no problem with children learning about their faith in supplementary schools, but minds must be broadened, not “filled with poison”” said a defiant Cameron in reference making  open religious schools open to inspection. once again, without any shadow of doubt he was referring to Islamic Schools, Mosques and Madrassas.

The Sermon

Speaking at the Manchester Conference David Cameron continued on his tirade, sermonising like a preacher on what will be classed as acceptable and unacceptable teaching and learning at Muslim establishments.

“Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at a madrassa? In some madrassas, we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people”.

“These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened, not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.

“So I can announce this today: if an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected”

Nurseries, Universities, NHS & now Madrassas!

In earlier plans, Cameron spelled out that it was the civic duty of everyone to report suspicious behavior of anyone exhibiting signs of extremism. Once gain targeting Muslims, the guidelines mentioned the growing of a beard for men, women suddenly wearing Hijab and taking interest in international Muslim issues as ‘signs’ of adopting the slippery to a path of extremism. Those staff who failed to report any suspicious behaviour would be subject to prosecution themselves!

Teachers at Nurseries have been given 'guidance' to spot signs of extremism in 4 year old children

Teachers at Nurseries have been given ‘guidance’ to spot signs of extremism in 4 year old children

Not satisfied with the witch hunt in government sponsored institutions, now, independent institutions, built from money directly from the hard work of the Muslim community are now being threatened to be inspected and closed down if they fail to comply with the governments definition of what is acceptable educational delivery.

Waking up

Weeks after the PM’s speech, a grass roots counter response is being formulated by many in the Muslim community who feel that their community is clearly being targeted. No community has been made subject to such scrutiny, suspicion and intervention by the Government as has the Muslim community.

The threat from the far-right is drowned by the state sponsored apparatus which demonises Islam as a causal factor for extremism and a threat to the country’s security. This allows politicians and Media to sensationalise stories and events when speaking about Muslims and walk away un-challenged, further fueling hate and suspicion in the minds of ordinary folk. For may, the line has been crossed and enough is enough.

Many Mosques have been signatories to the ‘Keep Mosques independent Campaign’

Keep Mosques independent Campaign

In light of these Political developments, a campaign has been launched to demonstrate the growing opposition to government plans. The ‘Keep Mosques independent Campaign’ has been growing in momentum in the last days and gained many signatories on its website.

Days ahead

The government will end up meeting a growing opposition in the next days and weeks from Muslims from all backgrounds and persuasions as their plans continue to be scrutinised, challenged and opposed.

One thing is for sure; Government Fanaticism cannot be the cure to the ill defined and misleading definitions on ‘Extremism’ whether in Madrassas or elsewhere.

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