Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain

A furore has emerged regarding the Muslim Council of Britain’s advice for state schools during the month of Ramadan. It recommends that schools reschedule swimming lessons during the month of Ramadan “as the potential for swallowing water is very high”. The report which also cautions against Muslims involvement in dance lessons can be seen in full below:

See Page 31-32:


Given the current climate in the United Kingdom at the moment, the suggestions have attracted criticism from all quarters of the British media. It is interesting, however, to note the way in which different new outlets are critiquing the MCB’s recommendations.

The BBC’s online report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/stoke_and_staffordshire/10596808.stm

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/7884040/Council-tells-schools-to-rearrange-exams-and-cancel-swimming-for-Ramadan.html

Daily Express: http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/186387/Schools-forced-to-delay-exams-to-avoid-insulting-Muslims-at-Ramadan/

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1293833/Council-forces-schools-rearrange-exams-cancel-lessons-avoid-offending-Muslims-Ramadan.html

Also, fascinating is the comment sections on the respective articles by readers. This news report is hardly sensational; it follows on from countless other reports where it seems that the perception is that Muslims dictate much of the agenda in Britain. Of course this is silly. This report is after all, guidance. However, having made several trips to the Middle East over the last twelve months it is clear that MCB’s guidance is overbearing. Many commentators in the Middle East have spoken out, stating that in places like Damascus regulations such as avoiding swimming simply don’t exist. What then is the relevance of this article, apart from the cheap headlines it generates? Well, it does seem to suggest that the Muslim Council of Britain’s vision of Islam in Britain is not as adaptive as they would have us believe. The makeup of the MCB’s executive board has attracted much scrutiny in recent years, in particular, its Deputy Secretary-General made inflammatory remarks regarding Israel’s military (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/mar/23/muslim-council-britain-gaza). The MCB does itself no favours. They continue to write reports that attract criticism, which in turn feed into the feeling of “Islamaphobia”. Nevertheless, whilst some of the negativity the MCB receives in unwarranted – recommending that primary schools pupils avoid swimming during Ramadan is ridiculous.

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joven said...
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