On Monday 14th February, Channel 4 aired a Dispatches programme entitled, 'Lessons in Hate and Violence', that painted a highly disturbing picture of young Muslims experiencing intolerant teachings and violence in mosque schools.
The Muslim Council of Britain regards it as a priority that the professionalism and regard for the health and safety of children that characterises mainstream schooling should operate without fail in Islamic educational settings. We have asked Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor of Documentaries, Mr. Hamish Mykura, to ask if Dispatches has reported the abuse recorded in this programme to Bradford Social Services and we have yet to receive a reply.
More generally, the Muslim Council of Britain has been active in ensuring that madrasah and mosque-based education is universally subject to regular Ofsted inspections and Criminal Records Bureau checks and we have the full support of our affiliate organisations in this matter.
The Muslim Council of Britain does not believe that the abuse of children in madrasah and mosque-based education is a widespread phenomenon in Britain and we believe that the vast majority of British mosques hold the health and safety of children to be of utmost importance, following true Islamic teaching and British law.
However, as far as we are concerned, one incident of child-abuse is one incident too many. Our community must work together to root out any such behaviour in our precious institutions.
The Muslim Council of Britain also condemns without reservation any bigotry towards members of other faiths that may exist within the Muslim community, especially if this is promulgated in educational settings. The MCB, along with the vast majority of British Muslims, consider freedom of conscience in religion without fear of harassment or ridicule to be a fundamental Islamic value and a universal human right.
In the case of an institution referred to in this Dispatches programme, we have been assured by the institution itself that it has taken decisive and effective action with regards to removing from any educational duty individuals involved in the preaching of bigoted, un-Islamic attitudes.