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[This post is a report from Tom Gross, a journalist and international affairs commentator specializing in the Middle East. It is a follow-up to a story we reported in the weekly ENS report titled, "As Britain Embraces Islam, Students Taught Sharia Law". The video of the program can be viewed at the end of this post. The video of the program can be viewed at the end of this post. (Note this post was not written especially for ENS; Tom Gross posted it on his regular mailing list.) —ed]
The BBC is to be congratulated on its prominent report this week highlighting the fact that school children in Britain are being taught anti-Semitic and homophobic propaganda. (News of this has been reported elsewhere for years, including on several occasions on this e-mail list.)
The BBC's "Panorama" program, broadcast on Monday, has sparked significant media interest on the subject in Britain and abroad.
Panorama found more than 40 Saudi-run schools and clubs teaching Muslim children aged 6 and over in Britain, including the following:
One text book for 14-year-olds shows in graphic detail how the hands and feet of thieves should be chopped off.
Another book used in class asks children to list the "reprehensible" qualities of Jews, and compares Jews to pigs.
Another text describes the punishment for gay sex as death, and states a difference of opinion about whether it should be carried out by stoning, burning with fire or throwing the person over a cliff.
A text for 6-year-old children asks what happens to someone who dies and who is not a believer in Islam. The answer given in the text book is "hellfire".
MP Barry Sheerman, former Labour chairman of the Children, Schools and Families parliamentary committee, said politicians had avoided the issue of controversial teachings in some Muslim schools.
"There are some very good Muslim schools but there are some Muslim schools that give me great cause for concern that is often around the ethos of the schools, the focus of the school and the kind of ideology that is concerning."
Dr Usama Hasan, an Islamic scholar and part-time imam in east London, warned of the dangers of segregating young Muslims in Britain, particularly the seminaries where the next generation of imams are being educated.
"They don't interact with people who are not Muslim. They don't learn the ingredients of the western world, so it's very easy for them to read the medieval texts which were written at a time when Islam was under attack and say non-believers are our enemies and we have to fight them."
Britain's new Education Secretary Michael Gove (who is a founding subscriber to this e-mail list) said in response to the program that there was no place in Britain for any teachings spreading hate against Jews or homosexuals.
Tom Gross adds:
When revelations about Saudi hate in UK Islamic schools and mosques have been published in British newspapers in the past, nothing practical was done about it despite promises by the previous Labour government at the time. Observers are watching to see whether, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democratic parties in power, it will be any different.
One should also note that the program in question (Panorama) is one of the BBC's better ones but it doesn't negate the prejudiced coverage elsewhere on the network.