Muslim school run by ‘theocrats’ claims NSS

A Muslim school has been given state funding to save it from closure. Teachers at Iqra primary in Brixton have been working for free because of a cash crisis. But now it has received £250,000 from Lambeth council and joined the state sector. It has become one of six state-funded Muslim primaries in England. Pupils will follow the national curriculum but have lessons in Quranic studies and be taught in accordance with their beliefs.

Campaigners who oppose faith schools condemned the move. Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Not only has Lambeth ensured these children will be taught in isolation from the mainstream, and will therefore find it difficult to function in a diverse society in later life, they have delivered them into the hands of theocrats who will drill religion into their heads.”

But Iqra’s supporters stressed it would work closely with the local community. Acting headteacher Firdos Qazi said: “The parents, pupils and the community are pleased Lambeth has accepted them as part of their family of schools. We are looking forward to working with our friends and neighbours to make a school of which they and we can be proud.”

Lambeth cabinet member for children’s services Paul McGlone said: “We’re pleased we can provide a free education at this popular school.”

Evening Standard, 28 October 2008