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February 7, 2007

Muslim Students Flocking To Jewish School In UK

Here's a great example of true interfaith cooperation and appreciation that I can't help but notice isn't getting much MSM attention...

edumain010207_241811b.jpgDevout Muslim parents in Birmingham, England are going through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school's catchment area, to get their children into the King David school to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day and hang out with the people that many other Muslims hate more than anyone in the world (although the print source frames this in a typically PC fashion - saying instead, "... the people some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world."):

It's infant prize day at King David School, a state primary in Moseley, Birmingham. The children sit cross-legged on the floor, their parents fiddling with their video cameras. The head, Steve Langford, is wearing a Sesame Street tie.

A typical end-of-term school event, then. But at King David there's a twist that gives it a claim to be one of the most extraordinary schools in the country: King David is a strictly Jewish school. Judaism is the only religion taught. There's a synagogue on site. The children learn modern Hebrew - Ivrit - the language of Israel. And they celebrate Israeli independence day.

But half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority-supported school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school's catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day and hang out with the people some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world.

The Muslim parents, mostly devout and many of the women wearing the hijab, say they love the ethos of the school, and even the kosher school lunches, which are suitable because halal and kosher dietary rules are virtually identical. The school is also respectful to Islam, setting aside a prayer room for the children and supplying Muslim teachers during Ramadan. At Eid, the Muslim children are wished Eid Mubarak in assembly, and all year round, if they wish, can wear a kufi (hat). Amazingly, dozens of the Muslim children choose instead to wear the Jewish kipah.

At the prize morning Carol Cooper, the RE teacher, says: "Boker tov," (Ivrit for "Good morning").

"Good morning Mrs Cooper," the children chant in reply. The entire school, Muslims, Jews, plus the handful of Christians and Sikhs then say the Shema, the holiest Jewish prayer, all together.

If only this could be the norm instead of a rare exception. Extremists have all but taken over the headlines and the mainstream practices of too many Muslims. But people of true faith that reject extremist views gain far more by being and learning together than by segregating themselves from society. Assimilation and interfaith cooperation is paramount to having true peace. As Andrew Brehm says in his comment at The Sudanese Thinker, ""the American "trick" of keeping religion away from schools doesn't work as well as acknowledging religions. My impression is also that religious Muslims and religious Jews (and religious Christians) have fewer problems with each other than the non-religious varieties."

On the other hand, sadly, there's a more pertinent perspective from another commenter at The Sudanese Thinker:

And the muslim school which has Jewish parents rushing to enlist their kids there because of the high level of tolerance and quality of education is ... where exactly?

Just asking ...

The big qualifier is of course the existence of a "Muslim school which has Jewish parents rushing to enlist their kids there because of the high level of tolerance and quality of education." If there are such schools out there we need to hear about them, and so do the millions of Muslims that follow extremists' positions, and the Christians and Jews that are threatened by Muslim extremists, world wide. The world needs far more examples of schools like King David in Birmingham, England, and it needs them now!

Also at Hyscience



Posted by Richard at February 7, 2007 2:08 PM





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