Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ban Single Faith Education, Says 44% of London; and We're Split over Right to Wear a Veil

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ban Single Faith Education, Says 44% of London; and We're Split over Right to Wear a Veil

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS CECIL

NEARLY half of Londoners believe all religious schools should be banned, a survey said today.

And they were split over whether Muslim girls should be allowed to wear a veil, such as the hijab, in schools, with 44 per cent supporting a ban and 37 per cent opposing such a restriction.

The poll also found that 46 per cent believe the basics of the Islamic faith should be part of the national curriculum for all children, compared with 43 per cent who disagreed.

The survey's findings came as police continued to search an Islamic school in East Sussex that is alleged to have been used as an al Qaeda training camp.

Christian and Jewish schools have traditionally existed in Britain. However, asked which faith schools they favoured, 44 per cent cent of Londoners said they believe they should all be banned.

Nearly 11 per cent said Britain should keep the religious schools it has but not allow any new Muslim, Hindu or Sikh schools, according to the survey by YouGov for the Evening Standard. Seven per cent said Christian and Jewish schools should be allowed but not Muslim, Hindu or Sikh ones.

Reacting to the poll's results, the Muslim Council of Britain insisted there should be equal treatment for all faith schools.

Spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said: "We should not allow any discrimination in terms of schooling.

More than 50 per cent of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, most of which are funded by the taxpayer. Should people from other minority faiths not be allowed the right to send their children to similar faith schools if they so wish?"

Shadow education secretary David Willetts said some faith schools had a better ethnic mix than some secular schools.

"They give parents a greater diversity of schools to choose from but clearly faith schools should respect mainstream British values and not undermine them," he said. …

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