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Intro to letter re ISEB Revision Guide

I came across a Study Guide for primary school pupils recently. I went to the section on Islam and found it so deficient I sent the letter below to the teacher who showed me the Guide. The teacher will pass on my letter to the author of the Study Guide, Mr Michael Wilcockson. The age group for this Guide is 12-13 years. The Independent Schools Examinations Board is the group in the UK which prepares pupils for entrance exams to fee-paying (i.e. private) secondary schools. Mr Wilcockson is Head of Divinity at Eton College, which is one of the leading independent senior schools in the UK.

The attachments to my letter consist of the section on Islam in the Guide and my compilation of the quotes from the Qur'an and Hadith I mention in my letter. I did not feel that I could respond to every deficiency in the section on Islam so if you wish to critique a part of the Guide that I did not deal with, feel free to do so here. At some point maybe the ISEB will come here for guidance on their next edition!

I say in my letter I believe that pupils should learn about all religions, including Islam but the task of educating children is not immune from influence of politics and expediency.

My letter:

14 November 2009

Dear [teacher’s name],

Thank you for showing me the Religious Studies ISEB (Independent Schools Examinations Board) Revision Guide by Michael Wilcockson, first published April 2008.

As you know I am particularly interested in the section on Islam.

I understand that this material is to prepare 13 year olds for entrance examinations. Given this limitation I was still quite surprised at the errors and omissions contained therein.

I think it is not fair to be critical of omissions unless they are very serious ones so I will only comment on a few of those omissions and concentrate on what I consider to be errors of fact. For ease of reading I will only give the references to the Qur'an in the letter and quote in full those references in the appendix.

Also please note that I consider this Revision Guide to contain many more errors than I will comment on in this letter. More comment available on request!

Section 6.1 God (p 128)

One sentence reads: ‘God has 99 beautiful names.’

My comment:

The Quran openly states that Allah is the 'best deceiver'. (Qur'an 3:54; 8:30)

Allah deceived Mohammed as stated in Qur'an 8:43-44

Allah also deceived Christians as stated in Qur'an 4:157-158 by making them believe that Jesus died on the cross.

Therefore this name/attribute of Allah is not so ‘beautiful,’ in my opinion.

Another sentence in this section reads: ‘God will judge all people according to their deeds on earth.’

My comment: This sentiment is not only untrue but actually contradicts the sentence found later on in section 6.5 (p 133) which states: ‘Unbelievers or the disobedient will be sent to Hell to a life of torment.’

I see a contradiction here. How can deeds be a factor in the judgement of Allah when this chapter also says that Allah will send the Unbelievers to Hell regardless of what they have done? It cannot be both ways. Either good deeds will merit a person a reward in paradise or only belief will. The second sentence says that no matter how many good deeds a person does he/she will be sent to Hell if you are an unbeliever. The reverse seems to be perversely true. Allah will forgive all your sins if you only believe in the true faith and die a martyr, Qur'an 4:95-96.

But the larger error of the first statement is contradicted by multiple verses in the Qur'an and hadith which clearly say who is in hell based on belief not deeds or at least not only deeds. True, there are provisions for ‘bad’ people to go to hell but in Islam ‘badness’ includes non-belief in Islam.

e.g.

Qur'an 5:72; 5:73; 98.6; 9.73; 3.12; 48.6; 4.56; 33.64; 72.23

And Mohammed affirms that the majority of inhabitants of Hell are women (Bukhari 1:6:301).

Section 6.3 (p. 130)

Under the section on ‘The spread of Islam’ you imply very strongly that Islam ‘spread’ without violence. The only slight nod to warfare was your admission that Mohammed ‘marched on Mecca.’ The sentence: ‘The Muslim empire spread to Africa, India and even reached China’ begs the question: why did it not ‘spread’ throughout Europe? It ‘spread’ all the way to China which is much further away and over many mountains and through many deserts but failed, for some reason, to ‘spread’ to Europe.

Your sentence: ‘Many people were impressed by life at Medina and converted to Islam’ leaves out, of course, the three Jewish tribes who did not convert to Islam. Two were expelled by Mohammed and a third met the fate of the mass execution of all the adult male population by beheading. While a devout Muslim may say there were very good reasons for these events I think that to leave them out and to imply a rosy picture of life in Medina is a serious omission.

6.13 Marriage

In the section on Mohammed (6.2 p. 128) the guide states that Mohammed is the guide to ‘how to live the perfect Muslim life.’

But in this section on Marriage nothing at all is mentioned of Mohammed. This is very curious. There is no mentioned that he had more than four wives and at one time. Also omitted is his ‘marriage’ (I use the quotes because I do not consider this a marriage in the normal sense of the word) to six-year old Aisha and the consummation of that ‘marriage’ when she was only nine years old (Bukhari (005.058.236)). This example of the ‘perfect Muslim life’ is not just a matter of history but is still an ‘example’ for so-called ‘marriages’ today.

I commend the Guide though for this one sentence: ‘Love is not a primary reason for marriage.’ I would hope though that the pupil would seek answers to the obvious questions that would arise from that most vile, but true, statement.

6.2 Mohammed (p.128)

But the major error I see in this Guide is in this section

This sentence stands out:

‘His [Mohammed’s] new laws taught that under God’s rule all people were to be treated as equals.’

It is hard to know how to begin to respond to this sentence. Inequality is in the very fabric of Islam. We know this from Allah’s words and the example of Mohammed.

Muslim men are considered superior to their wife/wives and are allowed to beat them. (Qur'an 4:34)

Muslims are to rule over and dominate non-Muslims (Qur'an 9:29)

Non-Muslims, in a Muslim state are in effect non-citizens. They are required to pay a special/additional tax to be allowed to live in a Muslim state (Qur'an 9:29) Bukhari (039.039.531))

Muslims are not to be friends with non-Muslims or take them as allies or protectors (Qur'an 3:28 and 4:144).

The dominant religion in a Muslim state must be Islam (Qur'an 2:193) (Bukhari (001.002.024)).

Muslims who leave Islam are considered apostates and are to be killed (Bukhari (009.084.057))

Jews particularly have been cursed by Allah (Qur'an 5:60)

Muslims are encouraged to have an attitude or mindset of hatred towards non-Muslims (Qur'an 60:4)

Non-Muslims are considered like ‘cattle’ (Qur'an 7:179)

Slavery is permitted in Islam (Qur'an 016.071)

Non-Muslims (e.g. polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, and in the Message of Muhammad) are considered to be unclean/impure (Qur'an 9:28)

Islamic law, the Sharia, does not consent to and therefore does not recognize a marriage of a Muslim woman with a non-Muslim man.

My comment on the details of the Guide end here, but let me offer, by way of a contrast, what is taught in Saudi Arabia's public schools. The information below is part of an article from the Washington Post, hence the American use of the word ‘grade’ rather than ‘year’, but it is equivalent to 12-13 year olds which the ISEB Guide is for.

EIGHTH GRADE

"As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus."

"God told His Prophet, Muhammad, about the Jews, who learned from parts of God's book [the Torah and the Gospels] that God alone is worthy of worship. Despite this, they espouse falsehood through idol-worship, soothsaying, and sorcery. In doing so, they obey the devil. They prefer the people of falsehood to the people of the truth out of envy and hostility. This earns them condemnation and is a warning to us not to do as they did."

"They are the Jews, whom God has cursed and with whom He is so angry that He will never again be satisfied [with them]."

"Some of the people of the Sabbath were punished by being turned into apes and swine. Some of them were made to worship the devil, and not God, through consecration, sacrifice, prayer, appeals for help, and other types of worship. Some of the Jews worship the devil. Likewise, some members of this nation worship the devil, and not God."

"Activity: The student writes a composition on the danger of imitating the infidels."

NINTH GRADE

"The clash between this [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills."

"It is part of God's wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the Jews should continue until the hour [of judgment]."

"Muslims will triumph because they are right. He who is right is always victorious, even if most people are against him."
--

I hope you found my comments and information helpful in understanding Islam. I trust that they will motivate you and other teachers to use other resources if this Guide is not changed considerably. I believe children need to learn about Islam but this Guide is so deficient it amounts to propaganda rather than pedagogy.

Yours sincerely,

Kinana Nadir

P.S. Please see the appendix for the full quotes of the Qur'an and Hadith referred to above.

Tags: Eton, ISEB, Kinana, Revision Guide, Wilcockson

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Replies to This Discussion

Excellent Kinana!

I look forward to hearing what reply you receive to this letter.

I was amazed at what my children were learning about Islam during their school careers. It is about time someone took a stand over this disinformation.
You know what, I find this completely abhorrent!!

I have two daughters in 1st year, they go to a non-denominational school and they tell me that their Religious Education class next week is going to be based around Islam. If I find out that any of the shit in those PDF files is being taught to my kids then I'll be down there to take them out of the class.

I've given each of my two daughters two questions to ask in RE next week:

1) Is it true that Muhammad married a six year old girl when he was 56 years old and that he had sex with her?
2) Why do Muslim terrorists kill in the name of Allah all the time?
3) What is Shari'ah Law?
4) What is Jihad?

Has anyone got better/more provocative questions? Or should these be worded differently? I could really use a good discussion with a school that sees a need to fucking teach Islam to my children! No fucking way will they be teaching my little ones those lies!
Excellent work Kinana.
I love your thoroughness and calm scholarly approach.
During the annul Inter-Faith weeks I have raised some of the points you have mentioned in your letter, in discussions and inter-faith garden parties organised by the interfaith council, on quaker premises . The response without exception, has been embarrassed silence all round. Quakers themselves have stopped inviting me to their homes (before my speaking out re Islam they were falling over themselves to take me into their homes and social activities.... It seems the good white liberals of this religious persuasion are, like the godless socialist and feminists, shocked at my un PC statements and there is simply no debate !

I have found this very demoralising as the Quakers, as everyone knows, have a fine and honourable tradition of challenging the status quo.
Thank you for sharing. It is important that the right information comes from teachers. Willing to teach to own children the truth about Islam, this could cause them serious problems (damages) at school and outside the home, because their opinion will be rewarded as a threat by Islamic people - and do you know how are they used to react in those cases .... I already knew about a professor trying to teach real Islamic History at school and being aggressed by an Islamic student. Imagine how dangerous it is to "know more about Islam" if it isn't officially "blessed". Thank you.
Sad to say, the majority of the teachers I know and work with, are a scared , morally bankrupt, and intellectually confused lot.
As one guy (retired Head of School) said to melast week becasue I was upset about how students' needs were not getting met, ... 'at the end of the day,', said he, ' so long as you are getting paid, don't worry about anything else'. ( ie student welfare, bullying, sexual exploitiation , incompetence of managers and resulting problems... and oh of course, expecially don't worry about representing Truth. For as we educated ones all know now, there is no such thing as the Truth, just our own little subjectivities, and anyone's is as good or as valid as anyone else's !)
This is what happened to one poor teacher in France, Robert Redeker, who tried to teach honestly about Islam and is now in hiding in fear of his life:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Redeker
Great quote about al being a deciever! - I'm going to be using that a lot. I did read somewhere how it was proven that allah was made up....I'll post it when I find it.
Your letter was very firm and to the point. I liked that very much.
It is inconceivable that schools are hiding the truth of Islam and feeding our children propanda.
I believe that most teachers do not know anything about Islam, and are actually prone to believe in this propaganda themselves.
We need to fight for the school curriculum to be changed and remove religion from their curriculum.
Hi Kinana,

Just ondered if you ever got a reply to your letter?
I hope that someone/us go to Ed Balls, education minister. Or exposes this through the Daily Express and the Mail or all the papers. I'm finding this way too much. It must be going on elsewhere away from this blog, nationwide, because schools are run like this. A press statement or something has to happen. Please keep in touch about this. Let's stick together.
I have only just this week received copies of the letters between Mr Wilcockson and the teacher who showed me the Guide. He has given permission to the teacher to show me the correspondence. I will write to Mr Wilcockson to ask his permission to post his letters here. In part I will say:

'The reason for this request is to engage with and educate a wider audience regarding the education of our children on the subject of Islam.'

Until I hear from him, we all wait!

OldWarDog said:
Hi Kinana,

Just ondered if you ever got a reply to your letter?
This is a very, very touchy subject with me at the moment. All five of my kids are being taught about Islam in school and they're all in different years and even different schools. It's as though there's some weird hidden agenda in the education system at the moment! I'm not just saying this becuase I've been engrossed in the subject lately, there really is something very fishy happening in our schools.

Examples:

My youngest is in primary seven. He's being taught about the five pillars of Islam (and how peaceful it all is). In his school there are about ten Muslims and they all get special prayer times set aside for them and a special prayer room for them to go and do their things. Is there a Christian prayer room? NO. Are they taught about Christianity? NO. If it wasn't for me, would my son even know who Jesus was? NO. What's going on?? Aren't we supposed to be a Christian country?

I have two daughters in 1st year of high school, but in different RE classes. They've both been getting hardcore Islam lessons for the last few months. It's not like a lesson a month, no, it's three lessons a week in RE and the last few months have been dedicated to Islam. Ramadan, the festival of ee (or whatever it's called), Halal meat (and how humane that is), the prophet Mohammed, etc., etc...... Have they had any lessons on Christianity? NO!

I have a daughter a year above them in 2nd year high school. She's the same. She actually believed that Halal was more humane than western abattoirs. The school actually told her that!! She's well clued up on Islam since I've shown her its true face, but the things they are telling them at these schools is just total and utter lies!

My oldest son is in 6th year high school. I worry most about him. He's well clued up on Islam, he was even planning to go to EDL demos, but some of the liberal, left wing propaganda that the school's been teaching him about Globalisation and multiculturalism is really worrying. It's as though they're trying to mould our children into left wing, bleeding heart, communist scumbags!!

What's going on?? The children in the UK are leaving school unable to read and write. They are being dumbed down. Our country has fallen from 7th, to 17th in the world tables for maths and literature and 16yr olds can't multiply by 10. They stopped teaching the times tables up to 12 and now only teach them to times 10. Kids can hardly read and we're churning out a nation or illiterate numbskulls. They place more emphasis on teaching bleeding heart liberalism than the 3r's. What's going on!?!

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