Faith schools – they’re OK so long as they’re not Muslim

lord bakerIn a letter to the Times, Lord Baker of Dorking has written: “The Government, in its first flush of multiculturalism, allowed new exclusive faith schools to be established and funded by the state…. There are 100 Muslim schools waiting to apply. Their entrance criteria are explicit: the purpose is to create a total Muslim personality, and the required familiarity with the Koran means that non-Muslims would not be acceptable.”

Oddly enough, when he was education secretary under Thatcher in the late 1980s, I can’t remember Baker proposing to withdraw support from the thousands of Church of England schools that receive state funding.

A letter in today’s Times endorses and expands on Baker’s argument: “Lord Baker wrote of the 100 Muslim schools waiting to apply for exclusivity (non-Muslims would not be acceptable): ‘The entrance criteria are explicit: the purpose is to create a total Muslim personality.’ A ‘total Muslim personality’ implies to me one who demands Sharia as the law; the full mechanistic rituals of prayer; submissive females in the garb of Asia and the Middle East; learning the Koran in its original Arabic and conditioned to regard the ways of the West as alien.”

Another letter in the same issue by Brian Gordon, a Tory councillor from Barnet, warns: “The concerns Lord Baker expresses about Muslim schools should not be allowed to damage the position for other faiths, whose schools have been tried and tested for many decades. In particular, Catholic and Jewish schools – ‘exclusive’ as they certainly are – have produced generations of balanced, well-educated students adhering proudly to their religious heritage while developing into upright, integrated members of British society.”