Muslim schools in Britain : challenging mobilisations or logical developments?

Meer, Nasar (2007) Muslim schools in Britain : challenging mobilisations or logical developments? Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 27 (1). pp. 55-71. ISSN 1742-6855

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Abstract

There are currently over 100 independent and seven state-funded Muslim schools in Britain yet their place within the British education system remains a hotly debated issue. This article argues that Muslim mobilisations for the institutional and financial incorporation of more Muslim schools into the national framework are best understood as an addition to—or continuation of—a historical settlement between earlier religious minorities, the established church, and the state. To this end the article begins by assessing the relationship between governmental policy and the nature of Muslim identities that are presently informing Muslim mobilisations. It then addresses the arguments against Muslim schooling found in some of the broader philosophical, political, and sociological literature. Particular attention is afforded to the issue of autonomy, the role of civic assimilation in the remaking of British-Muslim constituencies as well as Muslim curriculum objectives and their implications for social cohesion. The article concludes that Muslim schools can herald a constructive addition to the educational landscape and serve as an effective method of integrating religious minorities into a matrix of British citizenship.