Muslims are making a big impact on education in the United Kingdom, as some public schools are now banning pork to avoid offending the faithful and Islamic schools are apparently “undermining British values” in their treatment of female students.
Schools in the north London district of Islington recently took pork out of their cafeterias to avoid offending people of “different religious or ethnic backgrounds,” The Telegraph reports. The town council for the area, dominated by members of the left-wing Labour Party, issued a statement that it was too much trouble to continue serving pork in their primary schools.
“Young children, some as young as four, of different religious and ethnic backgrounds may not know which foods contain pork, or may not realise the importance of avoiding it due to their culture or beliefs,” a spokesman for the council said. “Monitoring each child, every day ensuring they are avoiding pork, is an unnecessary cost at a time of tight budgets.”
One local butcher is furious at the decision, however.
“I feel quite strongly about this. I don’t really feel we should pander too much to other religions. It’s not a bad thing to show consideration, but that shouldn’t restrict the choice of everyone else,” Chris Godfrey, the operator of the long-standing butchery, told The Telegraph.
Muslims are prohibited by the Koran from eating meat derived from pigs. Practitioners of the faith comprise 10% of Islington’s population.
In addition to this development, a Muslim-run school in a town only 30 miles north of London is receiving strong criticism from officials for its curriculum and how it unequally treats girls in comparison with boys, according to the BBC.
Education inspectors declared the Rabia Girls and Boys School in Luton had “not met” the standards for maintaining an independent school in the U.K and “the school’s own work undermines the promotion of fundamental British values in its unequal treatment of girls and boys.”
According to their report, girls in the school are only taught knitting and sewing in technology classes and are restricted in their opportunities to learn basic subjects such as science. The report concluded that the education quality of the Islamic school was “inadequate.”
There are an estimated 156 Islamic faith schools in Britain, six of them being state-funded. In November, inspectors declared there was a serious “radicalization risk” at six private Muslim schools in East London.