Before we start, here's a picture of Jessica Ennis (from Yorkshire) winning the Olympics in "tight-fitted indecent" clothing - did I mention she's from Yorkshire?
The Al-Madinah Free School in Derby has just reopened almost a week after it was closed during an Ofsted inspection.In its own words:
(from the school prospectus on the reopened school website today pp13-14)
Al-Madinah School is a Muslim faith school serving Derby and the surrounding areas. Through a team of dedicated and skilled staff, the school endeavours to provide excellent education in a surrounding shaped by the teachings of Allah Almighty and His Final Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
At the heart of Al-Madinah School is the Quranic and Islamic Studies department, supported by a team of experienced and dedicated servants of Islam. This team is not only responsible for teaching Islam, but to ensure the values, morals and philosophy of Islam is reflected in each and every aspect of the school. The following sections aim to indicate in detail how this has been achieved.
Your input, questions and queries are welcome; please direct them to the Director of Islamic Studies at Al-Madinah School. Thank you.
1.0 Books and Teaching Resources.
In each and every department, all efforts will be geared towards ensuring the books and resources conform to the teachings of Islam. Darwinism, for example
Sensitive, inaccurate and potentially blasphemous material will be censored or removed completely. If and when teachers are required by the curriculum to convey teachings that are totally against Islam , the Director of Islamic Studies will brief the relevant teachers and advise accordingly.
With regards to songs and music, we acknowledge that it can be an aid for learning, in particular in primary school. Under the guidance of the Director, it shall only be used as a learning aid, not for entertainment and amusement purposes.
Muslims are encouraged to reflect on Allah’s beauty in his creations. The art lessons will be used as a platform to fulfill this religious duty. At the same time however, great care will be taken to ensure artwork produced or shown in lessons conform with the specific teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
2.0 School Uniform.
Al-Madinah School is committed to the principle of a school uniform for both male and female pupils. This smart and affordable uniform will instill a sense of pride and identity in the students, as well as implicitly teach the values of equality and brotherhood in the school. The school uniform is:
Key Stage 1: Children of age 4-7.
• Black trousers.
• White polo shirt.
• Al-Madinah school jumper.
• Black shoes (not trainers).
Key Stage 2, 3 and 4: Children of 8-16.
• Black trousers.
• White shirt/blouse.
• School tie.
• Al-Madinah jumper with logo.
• Charcoal & blue blazer.
• Black shoes (not trainers).
• White tops (long sleeve only).
• Long black bottoms (loose).
• The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) instructed Muslims to display modesty and decency in clothing. In light of these teachings, pupils will not be permitted to wear clothing that is transparent, tight-fitted or indecent.
2.1 The Attire of Teachers and Staff Members.
All staff members will also express decency and modesty in their clothing and appearance. Female members of staff – irrespective of their religious beliefs – will cover their heads and bodies appropriately in light of the teachings of Islam. Provocative and revealing clothing will not be permitted. Male members of staff are expected to dress so they create an example for their pupils. In short, the school will adhere to Qur’anic teachings when it comes to clothing. ‘And clothes of piety, that is better’, Allah Almighty states (7: 26).
3.0 Employment of Staff and Teachers.
The employment of staff and teachers will be strictly governed to ensure the most dedicated, competent and skilled individuals are selected to work at the school.
Additionally, the vigorous process will ensure that the Muslim staff that are recruited are suitable to teach the faith elements of the School to the highest standards. The Director of Islamic Studies will be directly involved in the recruitment process to ensure this is the case.
4.0 The School Building.
Our aim is to ensure the school premises are kept clean, not least because ‘Allah loves the ones who repent often and the ones who keep clean’ (2:222). The displays, settings and posters in and around the school will be ascetically-pleasing as well as informative and educational. Utmost care will be taken to ensure all displays conform to Islamic teachings and in fact, encourage adopting the ideals of the Final Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
5.0 Physical Education.
A strong moral and spiritual character requires a strong physical body. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us to care for our bodies through good, physical exercise.All topped off with a supporting quotation from a Mr Abdurrahman:
Al-Madinah School is wholly committed to ensuring both male and females get opportunities to pursue sports and games at the local sports facilities.
Male staff members will not actively teach female students, but will merely co-ordinate them, through communicating with female members of staff. During the actual lesson, no male member of Al-Madinah School staff will be present.
I love the family atmosphereSo there you have it. In the UK in the 21st century our government is funding a children's school which:
- Censors books and resources which do not conform to the teachings of Islam
- Does not allow songs and music for entertainment and amusement
- Forces female staff-members (but not male staff-members) to cover their heads and bodies
- Discriminates on religious grounds when recruiting staff
- Prevents children from drawing pictures that do not meet the specific teachings of Prophet Muhammad
- Segregates staff and pupils on the basis of gender
- Forces children to wear long baggy clothing for games
- Teaches children that Darwin's theory of evolution is totally against Islam.
Lord Nash Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools has written to the school and raised some of the above issues. There is, however, no specific mention of the teaching of evolutionary theory - something which is mandated by Lord Nash's department here.