“We offer our condolences to the deceased and are thinking of the injured, and all their families in the horrific terror attack in Manchester” – BMSD

British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD) is deeply concerned by the emerging news reports[1] about the presence of misogynistic books in British Islamic schools.

As members of a pluralistic, liberal society that has taken enormous strides towards equality of genders, the use of books and other teaching materials that denigrate women as inferior beings, unequal subservient to men is offensive and must be countered.

British Muslim communities are already battling on multiple fronts including the threat of far right, Islamist extremism and negative image of Muslims in the media and growing anti-Muslim sentiment. In this atmosphere, the evidence of books within British Islamic schools,  that promote misogyny, segregation of genders and hatred against the wider society, can erode the hard work that members of our communities are involved with to improve their image and promote the secular, democratic values including equality of genders.

BMSD will shortly be updating its publication “Advice for Schools: Brief guidance for handling Muslim parental concern[2]” which proved very helpful to state schools when it was launched in 2010. It addressed several topics which can be challenging for schools to address whilst catering to Muslim pupils and their families. We believe that the updated version will be beneficial not just to state schools but also faith schools who might be finding it difficult to balance their faith-based teachings with the requirements of the liberal, democratic and secular society we are living in.

Dr Shaaz Mahboob of BMSD said “In order to combat the increasing anti-Muslim sentiment across the western world, British Muslims have the opportunity to demonstrate their willingness and resolve to address the problems within their communities, in particular the perpetuation of misogyny and hatred for liberal values arising from Islamic schools and unregulated Madressahs”.

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