School teachers are to force Muslim children to take sides with lessons involving imaginary terrorist plots. Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly wants to change the national curriculum so that pupils will be asked where they stand if a friend wanted to launch a “holy war” attack on a local supermarket.
Community leaders are outraged by ministers plans to target Muslim schools with questions to kids about what they would do if Islamic extremists sought to buy fertilizer for a bomb plot. The proposals raised fears of a creeping surviellance culture in which teachers could come under pressure to reveal the identities of Muslims children who sympathised with terrorism.
Critics pointed out that the government did not seek to “educate” Catholic children in Northern Ireland about the dangers of sectarian violence but instead moved to achieve a political settlement. The government needed to deal with real causes of terrorism, such as the war on Iraq and Afghanistan and segregation caused by economic policies, rather than brand young kids as terrorist sympathisers. Muslim organisations voiced concerns that the plans are based on an assumption that Muslim schools are teeming with budding terrorists.
Lester Holloway reports: BLINK, 23 May 2007