Madrassa scrutiny planned: Bradford Muslims unhappy over government move

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UNHAPPY: Senior Vice President of Bradford’s Council for Mosques Zulfi Karim

UNHAPPY: Senior Vice President of Bradford’s Council for Mosques Zulfi Karim

Bradford Muslims say that government’s move to regulate madrassas are unnecessary and over the top.

Senior Vice President of Bradford’s Council for Mosques Zulfi Karim has called for sense and rational thinking to prevail.

His comments came after government announced plans to regulate and inspect Muslim supplementary schools.

Prime Minister David Cameron last month said that some children were “having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.”

But not so said Mr Karim who insisted that while they may have “99 problems” that “radicalisation is not one of them”.

“We in Bradford have over 10,000 children attending supplementary schools daily in Bradford with over 100 Islamic institutions. The community has been operating mosques and madrassas for over 50 years without government intervention.

“Yes we need to do more to prevent abuse and we could be more inclusive. That's no different to society overall, these issues are not exclusive to the Muslim community alone.

“Like other voluntary sectors across all communities, over the years have struggled to grapple with child abuse within our institutions and governance can also be an issue, we are not alone in this area and ... yes more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable in society,” he said.

Mr Karim insisted that Islam taught peace but extremist ideologies were rooted in politics.

“Do we have a problem of radicalisation in our mosques and madrassas? No more than schools, universities and places of work may have where people gather. People think we teach hatred and division within our institutions, my advice is come and look for yourselves. Our mosques and madrassas are open to everyone and anyone, places of worship are sacred and should be treated with respect,” he said.

Many Muslim children attend madrassas to learn Arabic in order to recite the Qur’an and understand the principles and practices of their faith.

Under the government plans, these schools would be required to register and be open to inspection.

It is expected that corporal punishment would be banned, along with teaching that “promotes extreme views” or is deemed incompatible with fundamental British values.

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