Beginning in 2014, the United Kingdom will require all British schoolchildren to complete a unit on the history of Islam, proudly reports Press TV, Iran’s very own 24-hour English language news organization.
British Education Secretary Michael Gove announced the addition of a Muslim-specific component after revisions were made to address an outcry over a prior draft that did not include any references to the monotheistic Abrahamic religion.
Muslims were among the most vocal critics. The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents about 500 Islamic institutes across Britain, declared that it was “deeply disappointed.”
The revised curriculum is “great,” though, according to Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques. Sulla believes that people in the country could use “a better understanding of all faiths,” notes Press TV.
“There is already a good understanding of Christianity taught in schools,” Mulla told the Iranian media outlet. “But I don’t think a lot of Christians really understand what the Muslim faith is about.”
Islam is technically the third-largest religious affiliation in the country, according to The Guardian. Christianity is the largest religious group. People claiming to have no religion is the second. Those two groups make up the vast majority of Britons.
A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocese Board of Education spoke favorably of the new draft curriculum.
“As is well known, the early Islamic civilizations gave much to the world,” the spokesman said, “and we would certainly support the teaching of such an important part of world history.”
The British government is currently establishing a new national curriculum for primary and secondary education. The finished product is supposed to be introduced in schools in the fall of 2014.