London, UK, October 27 – The Government's swift abandonment of plans
for faith schools to give a quarter to places to children of other
faiths proves that this proposal was only ever intended to fuel the
anti-Muslim frenzy that had been generated by Jack Straw's comments on
the Niqab, John Reid's lecture on parenting and Ruth Kelly's propaganda
about Muslim schools generating isolationism and extremism.
At the time that the proposal was initially mooted, the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, said, "There is an issue about community cohesion". He also described the idea to make faith schools take more children from other religions as "good sense". At his monthly press conference on October 17, Tony Blair said that he supported the measures and linked the proposal to the "integration of Muslims". However, now Mr Johnson has said, "As we now have the support of the two major faith organisations in the country for our proposed way forward, I do not feel the legislative route is necessary or appropriate and no longer propose to lay an amendment to the Education and Inspection Bill."
Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "It was clear from the outset that the proposal was another New Labour headline grabber that had not been thought through at all. The proposal was made at a time when a succession of Cabinet ministers was piling in to vilify the Muslim community. The main opposition to the proposal came from the Church of the England and the Catholic Church – after all, there are only 6 state funded Muslim schools. "
"Muslim schools have never been closed to children of other faiths and are amongst the most ethnically and socially diverse schools. These schools develop students to have respect for parents, teachers and wider society and encourage students to speak the truth. Is this what politicians playing to the tabloid media find so worrying?