Nigel’s response to my letter is just underneath my response to his response.
Dear Mr Huddlestone
Thank you for responding. I hope to change your mind eventually because we really have no real alternative.
However, once again you miss my point entirely.
The very existence of “faith” (i.e. irrational) schools is divisive and it has to be up to government to force the change.
Government seems set on actively, but blindly, promoting a path of societal division and is ignoring its duty to keep us all safe.
Current government action is largely pointless and your “active promotion” is worthless and ignored.
We already see the first results of this in Birmingham and so many other places.
However, I realise that you fear lost votes; I can see no other reason for your inaction.
Yours in despair, yet with a modicum of hope in Boris and Brexit by 31st October.
On 29/07/2019 10:43, HUDDLESTON, Nigel wrote:
Dear Mr Ruskin
Thank you for contacting me about secularism.
I appreciate the concerns of the UK’s secular community, particularly regarding extremism in schools and the importance of free speech for both religious and non-religious people. Please let me assure you that I remain committed to working towards a society in which all citizens, regardless of whatever their individual beliefs are, can live together fairly and cohesively.
During inspections, Ofsted inspectors ask questions that probe whether pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education and life in modern Britain, using age-appropriate questions to check children’s understanding and tolerance of different lifestyles.
All schools are now expected to “actively promote” British values, which were defined in 2011 as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Teaching respect for other people, even if you do not agree with them or their way of life, is a fundamental part of preparation for life in Britain, and a principle all schools should be able to support.
On the issue of Anglican schools, I can understand why some secular families might not wish to send their children to faith schools. However, many families of all denominations and none remain keen to send their children to faith schools. As such, I welcome the Government’s wide ranging education reforms which are raising school standards across the country, and allow parents, both secular and religious, greater choice of good schools in which to educate their children.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Such an important issue this, as is evidenced on front pages everywhere last week and Questiontime on BBC 1 last Thursday.
Opinions ranged from Rory Stewart(*1) saying “Kill them, there is no alternative” to the leftist intellectuals saying “understand them, hug them but then imprison them” to the Questiontime audience saying “don’t let them back in, they have lost any rights, they might have had as British citizens”, by going out there to fight for ISIS etc.
What I think what Rory Stewart might have been trying to say, follows on from an insight by Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels)
“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into“.
This wisdom applies equally to all those ‘of faith’ but more particularly, these jihadis really do believe that Allah has told them to kill anyone who is not a true Muslim. You have to be the Sunni variety of Muslim to avoid death which explains why so many of Muslims of the Shia variety, are being killed by ISIS; the Sunnis think they are worse than Jews or Christians. As I said earlier, atheists don’t get a look in because they just cannot conceive that anyone should think for themselves!
If you want to know why we have this relatively recent emergence of Sunni Islamism (ISIS and Al Qaeda etc.), just read a brief biography of the Egyptian poet, writer & political theorist who started it all in the 1980s, Sayyid Qutb.
If a person accepts a primary falsehood as truth, then seemingly rational and possibly violent actions may well follow.
So then, having quietly accepted from childhood, that the Qur’an is the unalterable word of god, it is the Muslim’s duty to fight for a universal caliphate under sharia law, however long it takes. (*2)
Our home grown jihadis are therefore following, quite logically (to them at least), the endlessly repeated calls for jihad in the Qur’an. *7
Some of these returning jihadis may well have been disillusioned by the reality and cruelty of ISIS, but most will be still motivated to return and kill the Kuffar, that’s you if you didn’t already know.
Atheists, like me, are the worst ;-( of course. We don’t even get a mention in the Qur’an whereas the Christians and Jews get quite a pasting!
Most so-called ‘moderate Muslims’ don’t want to establish a caliphate, they just want to educate their kids and put food on the table and live in peace. Most of those Muslim families now living in the West came here originally to escape the misery of corrupt, socially primitive Islamic states such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many more.
Our own monarchy invented a new religion some 500 years ago, with the help of Martin Luther. This was because of a need to extend male succession to the throne and the need to divorce a few wives because they could not provide male heirs. The priests of which religion, appointed by Henry VIII still sit at the centre of our, gentle but imperfect ‘representative democracy’ and cannot be removed.
Our current queen is head of that religion and still retains the title of Defender of (the) Faith assumed by Henry.
Our next monarch, god forbid (ahem), wants to become Defender of All Faiths, completely ignoring the advances in human philosophical thought developed into maturity during the European Enlightenment because he thinks its all a bit old fashioned (my source is an article in the Spectator) and comes from a speech he made a few years ago in St. James palace.
Words fail one!
Here is what we need to do, but won’t, and why we will not
I do appreciate that short term measures are needed and must be taken, but I am content to pass that responsibility to our government and the rule of law.
But nowhere, last week, did I read or hear of any proposed long term solution to the misguided and corrupt ideology of ISIS.
Here then, is my much repeated long term solution and the only one that I think will or can ever work.
Sadly it cannot be implemented or accepted by those currently in power, particularly here.
Unbelievably, Great Britain is one of the last two remaining theocracies (*3) in the world; the other one being Iran!
The rest of the world are republics *4, monarchies, usually without an established religion *5, tyrannies *6 or failed states.
The real underlying problem to all of this, is that faith is an irrational state of mind, absorbed from childhood, and, like all forms of brain washing, is very difficult to remove.
My solution therefore cannot currently be accepted because we would have to challenge and defeat the idea that Anglican Christianity is a valid part of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
We would have to:-
remove the monarchy, in order to
disestablish the Anglican Church of England, so that we could then
remove the teaching of religion as if it were a truth, from all schools, so that we can then
challenge the idea that faith is a desirable human attribute, so that we can
merge existing faith schools into a mainstream secular education system (as in France) , so that we can then
remove the existing and future divisions in society caused by faith schools, so that we can then
allow our children’s minds to be formed by access to philosophy, by asking questions and not to be given dogmatic answers, so that they may
grow into adults who no longer are socially divided by having to believe in something barkingly irrational in order to belong.
I do not propose the abolition of religion, just yet, because so many people draw comfort from their faith.
BUT I do insist that ONLY by removing it from public life and the education of our children do we any chance of a harmonious society and a peaceful future.
*1 Rory Stewart is Minister of State at the Department for International Development (Now Prisons Minister) and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He has extensive knowledge of the middle and far east. Wrote a book on his notorious 32 day walk around Afghanistan in 2002. Eton and Oxford and ever so posh.
*2 I have read the Qur’an twice in different versions over the last few years and from my western eyes and ears it has a belligerent tone, a monotonous repetitive style and is even more scary than the Old Testament. If you want a real Halloween scare story just read Deuteronomy & Numbers, yikes!
*3 Theocracy:- A form a government where priests from a country’s established religion form part of the legislative process of government by right!
*4 Republics:- First formed by the ancient Romans two thousand years ago following on from the Greeks who developed the first forms of democracy although not quite as we know it today. The Greeks, even then, realised that monarchies were a bit old fashioned, inefficient, led to corruption and had seen their day!
*5 Monarchies:- The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei, Japan etc. In all about 43 remain.
*6 Tyrannies:- North Korea, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Scotland (OK, just joking, I have a thing about Nicola Sturgeon, and no, not in that way), Zimbabwe and quite a few more.
*7 Jihad originally refers to an inner struggle that all Muslims must endure in order to submit to the word of Allah in the Qur’an, but has latterly become associated with an external violent fight for the universal Caliphate that Allah requires.
I can’t remember a general election where I have found it so difficult to summon up the enthusiasm to vote, and I have voted in every general election since I was in my mid twenties.
Both May & Corbyn look and sound like geography teachers instead of British leaders in whom we might have pride. As of today, the polls lead for the Tories has dropped to 4% (Times) or 2% (Guardian) from 20% of a few weeks ago.
Theresa May is robotic in her endless “strong & stable” meanderings containing little detail and has no interesting vision for Britain. She has repeatedly shown she cannot handle ordinary people whereas Corbyn has scored well.
The election May has called was a blatant opportunity to increase her hold over the UKIP Tory wing, but it has backfired beautifully 😉
Jeremy Corbyn does have a vision and some interesting policies (of which more later) but is surrounded by hypocrites (Diane Abbot to name but one) and he himself is the other. I say that because for the last 30 years he has been anti-EU (as have I) and then U-turned when Brexit became a reality. Diane Abbot proclaimed the benefits of state education until she had a child, became a single parent family and promptly employed private education. Abbot’s manner is so damn irritating and pontificatory (Ed: Is that actually a word?) that I find it impossible to listen to her.
The only hope I saw for the Labour Party was it being led by Tristram Hunt, but he recognised a lost cause when he saw one and left politics.
The Liberal Democrats (my former intellectual and perhaps natural home) are currently led by a twerp who looks 13 years old, talks bollocks and thinks the EU is great. The Lib Dems were ruined by their former twerp of a leader Nick Clegg who managed to alienate a whole generation of intelligent students.
UKIP without Farage are pointless and direction-less. Nigel Farage was a brief, breath of fresh air in the smoke filled room of party political fog but he, like Tristram Hunt, knew when the game was up.
In short – we have no person in today’s party politics for whom I can vote with any enthusiasm.
A fact of which you might be unaware: Every government from Thatcher’s era onwards has managed to double the national debt they inherited from the previous bunch of incompetents!
Labour & Tory governments have both proved endlessly to be financially and economically inept, based simply on the evidence of their inability to sort out the deficit and debt!
So, I had a look at their future policies instead to find some direction …
Education: The Tory manifesto wants to massively increase divisive “free” schools and thereby promote societal disunity. Labour does too.
Economics: The Tories are being a bit more honest in their spending plans but are not proposing to tax the real criminals like Google, Facebook, Sir Crooked Philip Green and Vodaphone to name but a few. Corbyn has done even less well in explaining how his tax plans will actually provide the cash for his hugely increased public spending plans.
Privatisation: I have always found Thatcher’s privatisation of our Water and our electricity grid to be one of the greatest crimes committed by a serving politician see here. So, I am happy with Corbyn’s desire to renationalise the railways (as in many European countries, e.g Germany for one) and reverse water privatisation.
Defence: The Tories seem to have the more robust policy here but the reality of the matter is that we are minnows compared to the USA. Therefore, Britain having nuclear weapons is almost pointless. I don’t mind paying the USA a few billion to keep theirs up to date which is, in my humble opinion, more useful and realistic than either party’s policy. I might even fund NATO more, but the time when we could afford a British nuclear arsenal is long past.
Neither manifesto is realistic or addresses any of my main concerns over debt reduction. Both private and public debt are HUGE, at about £1.6 Trillion quid, and yet the banks are lending more with PPC (we used to call it Hire Purchase 40 years ago) but neither party has a plan to stop it.
So there we are.
If I vote, and I suppose must, I will vote for Corbyn and hope that someone comes out of the woodwork with some common sense and statesmanlike leadership qualities soon!
Acknowledgement: Peter Brookes for his insightful cartoon
In the light of the human misery being played out on Europe’s borders, I summarise some recent news coverage and offer a long term solution.
Hundreds of thousands of foreign Muslims are trying to migrate to northern Europe from Syria and Iraq, to name but two countries.
A few hundred British Muslims have left for Syria to help set up an Islamic Caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
I wonder if those travelling to Syria have wondered why so many of their Muslim brothers and sisters are trying to escape from Islam’s shiny new Caliphate?
I wonder why the following, rich and Muslim, countries have not taken in a single refugee or asylum seeker; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?
I heard a few Muslim school children being interviewed, on BBC Radio 4’s Today program last week, at Kirkleas college in Huddersfield. The government is so concerned about this college that it has been designated a priority area for Safeguarding & Prevent (weird poli-speak meaning anti-brainwashing plus a scheme to encourage locals to identify potential jihadi teenagers).
A special team has been installed, in the college, to help fight so-called radicalistion. Polly Harrow, the head of the Safeguarding and Prevent team, failed to criticise those students who had anti-gay views, and actually said ‘Its your right to hold those views in private, but to voice them in public might be breaking the law!’
So, so gentle and so, so missing the opportunity to correct or offer an alternative view.
She might have added that to oppose the smallest IS law means death! She further hinted that the children’s parents were keeping quiet and were of no help at all.
Equality & diversity is being promoted rather than a criticism of primitive views as part of government policy to fight radicalisation.
Respect for homo phobia was OK it seems as long as you don’t shout about it!
The ignorance and primitive views held by these children was truly horrifying, here are a few quotes:
‘I don’t blame dem, they are looking for a better laaf, a luxury laaf out dare (meaning Syria)’
‘Its da new new trend” (for boys to wanna go out dare)’
‘Yeah, I’d go, its my raght innit?’
I wonder where that last young man thought he got his rights from? Forget your raghts in IS fairyland. Try to leave IS and you are beheaded or worse.
Cocooned and isolated and often educated separately from British mainstream views, these kids had no idea of the reason their grandparents came here in the first place.
The Today interview Radio 4, 18th September 07:32 – 07:42, is available on iPlayer if you can stomach it!
The rest of this article is all about a long term and lasting solution. Shorter term actions that need to be taken by world politicians are probably best advised by organisations like the Quilliam Foundation who have an in depth understanding of the Middle East.
Even such eminent think tanks seem unable to challenge the fundamental elephant in the room, faith.
Long term, we can onlydefeat Islamic state (IS) with the philosophy of the European Enlightenment, wherein reason replaced faith.
The philosophy of those ancient Greek philosophers, Socrates and Plato (Confucius and the Buddha were on the right track too), modified and developed by many free thinking European minds in the 17th /18th centuries, is a message of reason, debate and intelligent questioning of everything. It was mankind’s coming of age, a recognition that each one of us is responsible for ourselves and each other.
Or rather, it should have been. Vested interests, the monarchy, politicians, and faith pedlars, all of whom have a lot of power to lose, used all the power they had to keep primitive belief systems in mainstream thought.
My plan, if ever implemented, would however take around 50 years, i.e. two to three generations to work. But, it would work.
This of course cannot happen with a political system built on policies that work on a three year party political cycle, so welcome to the almost inevitable Islamic state of Great Britain of 2045.
However, this plan will work, must be set in motion and is the only plan that could work.
Here is the why (the how is a bit more difficult to arrange).
Long term decisions need to be made, but, actions to be started now:-
1) Recognise that faith is an irrational state of mind, formed when young minds are most malleable and open to subversion. A young mind, infected with faith, accepts fairy tales as truths which are almost impossible to remove in later life. Faith induces a childish mental state of dependency wherein individuals no longer think for themselves and crave a higher authority to look after them. Faith is dangerous because it is irrational. Differing faiths cannot ever agree because each person, infected with their own faith virus strain, feels strongly that theirs is the only true one! Furthermore, that feeling of righteousness leads to violence where young minds are rendered unable to question their particular version of theocratic nonsense.
2) Therefore, we must cease teaching faith as a worthwhile state of mind to children. Children must be protected from faith.
3) Recognise that publicly funded faith schools are socially divisive and must be slowly converted to secular schools, over a few years. Philosophy would be taught from the age of 4 rather than RE.
4) Privately funded religious schools are declared socially divisive and are closed down, or reformed if possible, as part of the plan.
These are vital for the creation of a nation of young minds who have been trained to ask questions rather that accept dogma.
This faith virus explains why so many, apparently well western educated doctors and engineers have been turned into jihadi fighters.
It should logically follow, that the Church of England is disestablished from government. Once that has happened, there really is no further justification for a constitutional monarchy, other than for the requirements of the tourism industry. Yes, I know this is hard to accept, but the logical consequence of promoting reason over faith is a generation of children who have been taught to think for themselves. The removal of all religion to the private sphere is the best government can do to stem the crisis.
Short term actions:-
1) ISIS returnees, what to do? Either, send them back as they return, or, tear up their passports and put them into holding cells. If they really want to live here, then they are tagged and forced to attend philosophy classes.
However, there is no time to re-educate most of them, the damage has been done by our own education system!
3) The armed forces of the USA, France, Britain and Russia (the main culprits in creating the middle East crisis after WW1!) crush Syria’s Assad and replace him with a secular government. Yes we will have to bribe Russia and China behind the scenes but since they are both as bust as the West is, they will hopefully see sense.
Don’t want to do that?
Think its all impossible?
Well that’s not going to happen is it?
No, well, I suppose you are right.
Sadly, I agree with you, and since the European Enlightenment is dismissed as ‘old fashioned’ by Prince Charles our soon to be Defender of all faiths, we are stuffed.
Welcome to Londonistahn, new capital of the Islamic Caliphate of Ingerland 2045 innit.
Acknowledgement: The Dry bones blog for the cartoon
PS: I use the term IS as opposed to ISIS, ISIL etc. because that is what they call themselves.
A BBC reporter was interviewing one persistent, but as yet unsuccessful, immigrant on the recent death of his friend. “How are you feeling?” she asked. They were in the man’s tent, “in the Jungle” the Calais camp site, where he and his friend had been living for the last month.
“Oh it must be so sad for you to still see his shoe on the floor over there…” said the reporter, interviewing the man who cousin died last week in the tunnel between Calais and Dover. It reminded me of the spoof news TV show, Drop the Dead Donkey, some years ago on Channel 4, where our reporter on the scene of the latest disaster pointed tearfully to a child’s toy in the rubble. That same teddy bear had been seen in Beirut, Gaza, Turkish earthquake sites and all over the world; it travelled in our reporter’s rucksack until he was rumbled.
Unbelievably for me at least, this is the pathetic level to which BBC radio news has fallen. I had already stopped watching the sensationalist, sentimental twaddle that BBC TV news become several years ago, but am saddened to see the disease spreading to the radio.
I was fuming at the dumbed down, gutter level sentimentality shown by the reporter and the complete naivety of the man trying to get to Britain for ‘safety’ reasons.This story was not the story I was interested in. I wanted to hear, in the immigrants own words, why they thought Britain was the preferred destination over France or Italy. Of course, I think I already know the answer, but I wanted to hear it from them. But, oh no, we just got emotional drivel prompted by drivel questioning. I further wanted to hear, from the immigrant, what was so awful in their own country; and again, I think I know the answer BUT I wanted to hear it from the potential immigrant himself.
Another Pakistani, interviewed, who said he was 12 when he made the journey to Britain a few years ago was urged by his mother to undertake the perilous journey, said that ” … after all, it was the British who caused all these problems from which we flee, so the British should be proud to accept these people who so need our help.”
He has a point, but a very small one compared to the brutality of those who rule, or fail to rule, the countries from which these immigrants flee. Compared say, to the primitive ignorance of the Taliban, al–Qaeda, ISIS et all, all of whose political ideas of nationhood are based of the teachings of the Qur’an.
Here is my alternative take on this whole situation.
Whilst I am saddened by the plight of those who wish to escape war torn parts of the Middle East and Africa, I thought a little historical, world view light, might put the whole thing into perspective.
No one was there to help us when when in our more primitive times, we ran around the country killing each other smothered with woad whilst praying to Earth Mother and talking with fairies. There were no better run, safer countries to run to. So, over the next two thousand years or so, we grew up a bit, killed a load more of our young men, women and children, reduced the number of our gods to the last one still standing. Then, more recently still, quite a few of us are working on losing even that last one who is slowly disappearing day by day!
Perhaps, we should try harder to limit immigration to these Islands to a more realistic level? The last 20 years have been mismanaged by our under age career politicians to such an extent that the EU, and Britain in particular, have become a preferred, if dangerous, option for the world’s refugees.
Our Dave wants to defeat the poison of radical Islam, jolly good eh? Well, no, he still defends state funded faith schools. His use of the word poison, copies Blair, his hero, who has used the word poison in the same context many times since 2010. Yet, despite agreeing on the word, neither Blair nor Cameraman have the slightest clue about the nature of so-called radical Islam.
Cameraman’s Birmingham speech on the 21st July was welcome, but several years too late. He announced some short-term measures, but he dared not face, what needs to be done to address the problem.
He missed the reason that so many British educated, intelligent, Muslim young men and women have become radicalised.
I argue that the word radicalised misses the point entirely, and has led Dave, and many others, down the wrong path in search of a solution. He has not yet understood why so many young Muslims are ready to fight in Syria for Islamic State. He has not yet understood how their mind-set was so warped away from that of their parents, most of whom are as clueless as is our Dave.
He said, in his speech, “They start with intolerant views towards democracy, freedom of expression and sexual equality. If this is not challenged they often gravitate to even more extreme views.”
But, he did not, or dare not, explain that the source of that very intolerance is the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an is aided and abetted by Hadith(s) (supplementary instructions issued long after the original manual). Democracy is an alien concept to Islam. Muslims must instead submit to the will of Allah, as directed by the Qur’an and follow Sharia, Islamic law. Sharia only applies to Muslims, so it should follow that it can only be implemented in an Islamic state.
Indeed, it is arguable that Sharia is not actually Islamic in the first place. The word is mentioned in the Qur’an, three times, but in a completely different context. Sharia, or Islamic law, is based on older Jewish law and was written some 200 years later than the Qur’an itself. Anyway, I could be paddling up an intellectual creek here because so many Islamic scholars disagree with each other on this point, and who am I to offer help? 😉
(Ed: Ooh stop, it hurts!)
Britain however, is subject to the Rule of Law. One legal system to which all citizens, of whatever religion (or none), are accountable. Aristotle said this more than two thousand years ago, “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.”
Our politicians have pandered to Muslim sensitivities. They have mistakenly allowed Sharia courts to rule on “family matters” for example. This thin end of the wedge stupidity, has all but destroyed the last 1,000 years of western philosophical and legal development. Cultural differences have been allowed to fester into the divisions we see today. For example, the political corruption exposed in Tower Hamlets last month and postal voting corruption in Birmingham, Bradford etc.
ISIS (AKA ISIL or Da’ish) are just implementing the bits of the Qur’an that moderate Muslims had started to ignore. Just read a little of the Qur’an and you will soon see what I mean.
So then, you may ask, just how do we stop young minds becoming so warped?
All religions rely on child minds being in awe of something that is apparently bigger and more powerful than them. Better still if this power is invisible, how can you challenge that eh? Once this awe is instilled in a child’s mind, it becomes very difficult to remove in later life. This innate awe is enthusiastically used by those who radicalise disaffected young minds and by all religions, eager for new followers.
Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland have found it almost impossible to accept that their Popes have silently covered up the sexual deviance of their priesthood for centuries. Only now when the evidence is overwhelming, have many Catholics found the strength to see the inherent evils in Roman Catholicism. Many still cannot accept the truth, and remain in awe of the Vatican’s clever use of art, music and pomp to hide its innate delusions. Charles Dickens clearly saw what Catholicism was, even if he was somewhat open to criticism in his own personal life.
Faith schools are therefore the source of the problem. The very idea of faith being taught as a valid and laudable path for young human minds to follow is warped. This thinking was exposed, by European Enlightenment philosophers, in the 17th & 18th centuries. They called for reason to replace faith. Notable amongst those thinkers was John Locke who advocated that religion must occupy the private sphere of life in order for the many different faiths to co-exist peacefully.
There are many contributing factors to radicalisation of course;
US / UK foreign policy in Iraq;
the Qur’an, seen by Muslims as the unalterable word of god;
Muslims must live under Sharia, Islamic law
Saudi funding for Madrassas in the UK;
misguided support for primitive cultural practices by politicians hungry for votes, in the name multiculturalism;
government’s fear of violent reprisals from minority communities;
Those are the starting points for the radicalisation process of those already affected by the awe of the faith virus. The rest follows on quite logically from that!
Yes, our democracy is flawed, but all other methods of political control are considerably worse (echoing the words of Winston Churchill). Humans will probably get there eventually, but not while religious groups all compete for separate privileges in the public sphere. One law, applicable to all please!
Free bus passes for Faith schools? Primitive halal and kosher practices being allowed to bypass the law because of religious exemption? Time off to pray? Bah, Poo & Piffle says I.
Come on Dave, get moving!
Meanwhile, more and more faith schools are created each year (200 more planned currently) to preach their message of otherness, difference and division thereby sowing the seeds of societal destruction that today’s young disaffected Muslims’ parents came here to escape. The irony is that the Birmingham schools at the centre of the Trojan horse scandal were not faith schools, but the exposure of their failings raised major questions marks about how faith schools operate. What is alarming is that if the Birmingham schools had been designated faith schools, then many of the practices condemned, such as limiting the curriculum to exclude lessons about sex education and reinforcing a cultural identity to the exclusion of others, would have been permitted!
I would have this next paragraph used in schools to promote discussion:
There is a reason that some 93% of the planet’s top scientist reject the notion of a personal god. The real mystery is why the other 7% don’t. After all, science is based on evidence and there is no evidence that god exists. None. What we may feel in our hearts is not evidence and neither is the bible since the argument is circular. (The bible is true because it says it is. The Qur’an is true because that is what Qur’an says.)
Simply asking faith schools nicely to be more inclusive will not work. A secular (free from religious dogma) education, for all children, is the only way to heal the divisions caused by faith schools.
Whilst even that will take several generations to work, I submit that there is no other way for human societies to develop in peace.
Vote hungry, party politicians are going to remove religion from schools? Let us hope so!
In February 2015, Home Secretary Theresa May said ‘ …authorities need to look at the ideology which drives young people to travel abroad and join extremist groups.’
This was in the light of her studied shocked reaction to the fact that three intelligent, apparently well educated, schoolgirls were off to Syria to join Isis as jihadi wives.
Ms May said it was important to look not just at terrorism but ‘extremism across the whole spectrum’.
Did she define which “authorities” should undertake the task? No.
Did she define extremism? No.
Did she define the timescale? No.
Did she define the parameters for such an investigation? No.
So there we are; the usual display of meaningless poppycock presented as “policy” from a government minister.
Here is the answer for Ms May, and all those who still cannot understand the reason for the girls’ travel plans.
This, first suggested some 1,600 years ago by Hypatia of Alexandria (an enlightened teacher of mathematics and philosophy), a few years before she was burned to death by peace loving Christians.
“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after years relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth — often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.”
“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”
“All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final.”
“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.”
In other words, as long as government treats religious faith as a valid subject for educating young minds, the problem will persist.
This wilfull blindness is dangerous for the nation’s children and for our future peace, but it doesn’t upset too many voters – yet.
Can you begin to see faith schools are dangerous and outdated?
Can you see that the treatment of religion as serious subject for young minds is deeply flawed? Once the seeds of ‘faith being a good thing’ are sewn in a young mind, all else follows. Then it is so much easier to present god as an irrefutable fact from which all else follows.
Faith seems to be revered as a worthy mental state when it should be seen for what it is, simply a vain hope based on myth or perhaps a comfort blanket for some.
Are our party politishituns ready to recognise that?
Paris January 7th was a wake up call to all politicians in the west, and to the vast majority of people who do and say nothing about the slow rise of radical Islam in Europe and Great Britain. Appeasement to the religious vote is no longer acceptable. Radical Islam is being silently and ignorantly supported by moderate Muslims, and by our government’s inaction.
Dave, by all means step up security, but please finally recognise the long term issue that really need to be solved, viz.
ALL religion must be removed from ALL schools.Why? We have seen that many of the atrocities, committed in the name of Islam, have been perpetrated by engineers, doctors and mathematicians educated in the west. How did they become so warped? Religious faith was instilled into young, unformed minds used later by political Islam.
So, the removal of all region from all schools is the only long term solution. Otherwise Islam will triumph on its inevitable slow, but demographically fuelled growth. That is a small price to pay for removing religious funding for Anglicanism, Catholicism etc.
First generation British Muslims came to Britain for safety, jobs and stability. Many of their children have forgotten that, and their parents and grand parents need to stand up for the very British values that are being challenged by their children.
Supreme Court of Wisconsin(Weiss v. District Board, March 18, 1890. )
“There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter into our civil affairs, our government soon would be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed. Those who made our Constitution saw this, and used the most apt and comprehensive language in it to prevent such a catastrophe.”
In the UK we have private schools treated as charities for tax purposes for no good reason that most of us can see. Other than, perhaps, the establishment who made those tax rules to save themselves money on their children’s education. After all, they need to separate their offspring from the great unwashed (that’s you and me if you were wondering) and therefore invented charitable status to protect their socially divisive academies.
We also have a divisive education system that protects religious privilege as if it were something reasonable. Politicians promote these backward ideas as choices, when in fact all they are simply vote grabbing policies used by short sighted party politicians.
Politicians and the social worker intellectual elite dare not stop these retrograde practices because of a) votes and b) misplaced human rights sensitivities (plus that’s where many of them send their kids to schools anyway). As a result, we have Saudi Arabian Wahabbist(1) funded schools promoting primitive cultural differences, with impunity, because our liberal ideologies dare not offend our oil suppliers or provoke a religion so protective of its medieval cultural practices that violent reprisal is quite likely.
The obvious consequence of all this is the increase in Islamic self importance and the attendant religious schisms that are tearing the world apart.
We have politicians trying to make themselves heard by making short term and usually idiotic policy statement because an election is coming up next May.
The latest today is Ed Millibean calling for tax penalties if private schools don’t “do more” for the great unwashed (remember, that’s you and me), when a rational policy would remove tax breaks entirely for private schools and cease any public funding for faith schools immediately.
The lack of firm philosophical backbone in today’s party politicians has rendered the party system completely irrelevant for the issues our society faces today.
The rise of UKIP is a consequence. The UKIP success relies on the ‘none of the above’ vote that we don’t have in our, not-so representative, democracy.
The only way to solve the Islamist agenda is to remove ALL religion from ALL schools. Government should promote and teach secularism and reason based philosophy, encouraging rational debating techniques, in all schools. Childish minds are most susceptible to dogma and therefore should be protected from faith based education at all costs. Religious leaders know that all too well of course…
That will take 50 years to achieve, but only once the changes are made.Since there is no prospect of that happening soon, god help us all ;-(
Peter O’Toole (1932-2013) actor, famous for his role in Lawrence of Arabia
“Question: How do you know you’re God? Answer: Simple. When I pray to him, I find I’m talking to myself.”
(1) Wahabbism is a narrow misogynist, austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran. Strict Wahhabis believe that all those who don’t practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies.
There is currently a daft & pointless row between Michael Gove (Education Secretary) and Theresa May (Home Secretary) about who’s ideas are best to fight ‘religious extremism’ in schools.
They have not, and cannot, define extremism, yet the ill-defined argument nevertheless rages in the “poli-news”*1
Both want to gain credit for “fighting extremism” in the wake of the UKIP earthquake, which has woken up the Tories, if not Cleggy and Millibean!
This is a further example of how our party political leaders suffer from a lack of philosophical clarity & backbone. In meBook I explain that a better way forward for British society can only be met by the removal of the useless party political system, but anyway, back to the issue.
The real question for debate is “Why have primitive cultural practices have been allowed to multiply in our schools?” These practices*3 separate the children of Muslim parents from mainstream British society, are socially divisive and create the breeding ground for a future home grown Islamic jihad of terrifying scale.
A deeply mistaken, and socially divisive pandering to Muslim religious sensitivities is shared by all three main political parties and it all started with Blair’s damned academies.
The unpleasant truth is that many British parents are hypocrites and indirectly and unwittingly provide support for an Islamic extremist future. They send their children to Christian / Jewish faith schools simply because they promote better discipline and, as a result, have quieter classrooms and as a result, better exam results. This is all done under the pretence that they are practising Christians or Jews. Once upon a time we had little to worry about the gentle C of E schools and the slightly more rabid Roman Catholic Schools.
But now, this new tranche of Muslim faith schools are effectively destroying a traditional British identity that took a thousand years to form. I know it’s not perfect, but it is the best set of cultural practices to be found anywhere in the world, and it is being destroyed in a matter of decades by our idiotic party political leaders.
Why? Because party politicians:-
a) dare not risk losing any faith vote
b) are completely at a loss how to deal with this “sensitive” issue
c) dare not appear to be “racist*2”
d) dare not face up to primitive cultural practices because of their fear of violence from our ever increasing Muslim population.
But, now we are faced with a serious and growing threat to traditional British values from 7th century Islam which has to be addressed by an enlightened government.
Hypatia of Alexandia(370 – 415 A.D.) understood the threat of violent extremism caused by teaching the young mind religious dogma as truth:-
“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain, and perhaps tragedy, can he be later relieved of them. Men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth, often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.”
“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final.”
The solution is simple, painful but entirely necessary.
Cease public funding for ALL faith schools and slowly change them all to a secular4 ethos but including the missing discipline regimes.
Religion should play no part in a child’s education and Britain should adopt the French Secularism charter which is now established in all French, publicly funded, schools.
The only way forward is a secular and philosophical based government who have the best interests of the whole population of Britain at heart. Those people who have a faith based lifestyle can continue with it, but not in national state funded schools.
*1 poli-news is my term for the discussion in the media of the politics of the problem rather than the issue itself.
*2 There is no definition of the term ‘racist’ in the Oxford English dictionary, yet the word is used everywhere to mean almost anything.
*3 practices include separating boys from girls; divisive cultural clothing practices (hijab, Burkha etc.); separation of children, whose parents are Muslim, from the rest of British society; refusal to teach aspects of science because they challenge religious texts! )
*4 secular; the separation of religious belief from any national, publicly funded institution; i.e. government, the legal system and education.
Robert M Hutchins (1899-1977)An American educational philosopher
"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."