Learning to be British and Muslim
I'm not a believer in state schools being religious - Christian, Muslim, whatever. I feel that state run schools are best being secular. If a parent wants something different then by all means but not on the state. This said I found this article by Odoni a good thought provoking read.
It’s 3pm and the girls at Madani high school in Leicester are trooping out of the gates. They wear white scarves over dark blue djellabas – a shapeless coat worn over trousers. No sign of the boys: they don’t leave for another half an hour.
Boys and girls operate on a different timetable, carefully calibrated to keep the sexes segregated. The architecture at Madani high conspires to do the same: there is a girls’ wing and, in mirror image, a boys’ wing – the two separated by an elegant Arabic-style courtyard with a fountain.
Segregation of the sexes is crucial to the traditional Muslim families who send their children to this state-funded school. Once girls reach puberty, their honour has to be jealously protected, and exposure to the opposite sex limited. To shield them from the drugs, sex and violence that mar British playground culture, traditional Muslim parents will often simply pull their daughters out of nonsegregated schools.
“Each year, hundreds of Muslim girls disappear from the state system,” acknowledges Idris Mears, an educationist and fundraiser for the Association of Muslim Schools UK.