Minister suggests teaching of religion at either end or start of school day
Irish Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has thrown down a challenge to the Catholic Church to give concrete examples of how its schools can be “genuinely inclusive” for children of all faiths and none.
In an address to be delivered at a teacher union conference this morning, Mr Quinn says is it “disappointing” that the church has failed to provide such information to his department as had been promised in previous discussions.
He also suggests that, in developing policies on inclusivity, Catholic schools in areas where there is no alternative patronage should consider timetabling faith formation at the start or end of the day to minimise disruption to class.
Muslim schools 'must respect British values' says Jack Straw as Birmingham MP admits there is a 'Trojan Horse' plot by extremists
Schools with large numbers of Muslim pupils must respect British values, former home secretary Jack Straw said yesterday.
He spoke as a Muslim MP said a radical ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to take over state schools was operating in Birmingham.
Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, claimed a ‘small group of individuals’ was trying to change the ethos of schools by stealth.
It was also claimed that roving 'morality squads' have been instituted at the affected schools, and would censor talk of non-Muslim festivals and smash pupils' Easter eggs.
Mr Straw said more and more schools were mostly or entirely comprised of Muslim pupils, adding: ‘We have to accept and the schools with a majority of Muslim parents have to accept – as they do if they are Hindu, Sikh, Jewish or Christian – that we also live within the United Kingdom.
‘Alongside values which are religiously based, there has to understanding that this is the UK and there is a set of values – some of which I would say are Christian based – which permeate our sense of citizenship.’
Of course Britain is a Christian country, says Charles Moore, in response to the 'angry atheists’ who claim otherwise. And we must defend that precious heritage
David Cameron said last week that Britain is a Christian country. In The Telegraph yesterday, 55 mainly atheist public figures said in a letter that it is not. The funny thing is, both sides are right. The Prime Minister is correct statistically, historically and culturally. Although the self-identification of Christians in Britain is declining, 59 per cent described themselves as such in the latest census. That is still a huge figure: allegiance to Christianity is roughly double that offered to any political party.
Besides, the country that we now (until September’s Scottish referendum?) call the United Kingdom has been explicitly Christian for more than a thousand years. Its monarchy, Parliament, morality, law and education; its flag, national anthem, key texts, much of its literature, art and architecture; its health care, many of its charities and endowments, public holidays and festivals, the structure of its week and its place-names – all these and many more are Christian in origin. Prof Jim Al-Khalili, who led the signatures, derives his first name from an apostle of Jesus, as do his co-signatories the novelist Philip Pullman and the anti-religious fanatic Peter Tatchell, who is named, ultimately, after the first Pope.
New laws were recently annoucend by the government of Saudi Arabia that strengthens the criminalization of atheists in the country, including any communication with other known atheists or using the Internet to post or read about atheism. The laws further allow the government to prosecute atheists under the state’s anti-terrorism statutes, including the death penalty – simply for being an atheist!
This is even more outragous coming from a country that was recently elected to the UN Human Rights Commission!
Please sign the petition demanding national and international leaders to pressure the Saudi government into honoring its human rights commitments and rescinding its recent “Atheists = Terrorists” laws.
John McTernan (Perspective, 18 April) is correct: David Cameron’s assertion that “we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country” is doubly ridiculous.
Firstly, as a believer in the core doctrines of the Christian faith as articulated by the mainstream denominations, the suggestion that in Britain I am surrounded by people who largely hold similar views is laughable.
Ignoring nominal cultural church going and “I’ve sung a few hymns in my time” census box-tickers, I estimate that under 15 per cent of the population are Christians in any meaningful sense.
Secondly, despite David Cameron’s attempts to win over Christian voters with his superficial sound bites, the fact is that UK legislation for decades has reflected a deliberate march away from Christian principle towards amoral liberalism.