A state-funded Muslim school in Britain is being taken over by the British government following the death of a child and reports that religious books promoting spousal rape exist within its library.
A shocking report by Ofsted, the UK’s education watchdog, has prompted a takeover of the Birmingham-based Al-Hijrah School into becoming state-run Academy overseen by the government’s Department of Education. In 2001, the school was the first Muslim school in Britain to receive state funding.
Per the Times, the DOE has appointed an interim board to oversee problems identified by the watchdog, which gave the school the lowest possible ranking. The report found that students enrolled in the school were not “sufficiently” safe as staff had no clue on how to deal with medical emergencies. The school was investigated by Ofsted when a 9-year-old boy, Mohammed Imaeel Ashraf, collapsed after having an allergic reaction to fish and chips. The school was ill-prepared to administer life-saving measures.
Furthermore, the watchdog discovered Islamic books within the library that teach students that condoned spousal rape. Heat Street reports that the books contained instructions suggesting that it was OK for husbands to beat their wives and not require consent for sex.
The Islamic school previously met controversy after it enacted a policy that segregated boys and girls in all classes from ages 5 to 16. The policy is uncommon even for a Muslim school. In some Muslim-majority countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, classes are rarely segregated by gender. Ofsted claims that Al-Hijrah’s segregation policy violated the UK’s Equality Act.
“Segregating boys and girls in a mixed school feels as though it is depriving both boys and girls of a big part of the benefits of a school,” said Chief Ofsted inspector Amanda Spielman.
“We have single-sex schools and I am not challenging that but the idea that you have . . . a mixed school and yet you do not have social development, stimulation, all the things that come from mixing the sexes, makes me uncomfortable,” she continued.
“What pupils were missing out on in Al-Hijrah was the chance to interact with the opposite sex, to prepare them for adult life.”
Per the Times, Al-Hijrah fought tooth and nail to suppress the report for over a year, but appeal court judges were told to make a ruling on the case last week. Should judges rule against it, the school and around 20 other faith-based schools will have to stop segregating classes by gender.