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Posted by on Dec 12, 2007 in faith schools, Ibrahim Lawson | 11 comments

Worry about religious education

Incidentally, that there’s something deeply inadequate about religious education as currently provided in schools (Islamic, and other) in this country is suggested by the finding of one recent poll that 36% of young British Muslims believe the appropriate penalty for any Muslim that rejects their faith is… death!

“…a significant portion of British Muslims think that such behaviour is not merely right, but a religious obligation: a survey by the think-tank Policy Exchange, for instance, revealed that 36 per cent of young Muslims believe that those who leave Islam should be killed.”
Daily Telegraph.


  1. Mr Lawson,In response to Stephen’s further point post you say,“…the Islam I found 30 years ago has still not been found wanting.”Are you sure? No matter how much this blog dissects the fundamentals of knowledge you can’t get away from the real impact of Islam on peoples lives. Would you like to address these more down-to-earth criticisms of the indoctrination of children. Where did the Muslims reported in the article come by their interpretation of Islam? You also say in one of your earlier comments about your school, “None of the children or parents would have considered themselves for a minute to be the enemies of British society or any of its other members. All had normal British aspirations for their children – to get good exam results, go to university, get a good job and a mortgage etc. They just wanted to be Muslims, and their children, as well.” – This may be true. But what do you know of their views on apostates? Do you not suspect many of them hold similar views? For those that do, how do you help the children overcome these views?Many Muslim leaders may denounce these views of how apostates may be treated, but Patrick Sookhdeo’s experience would suggest they aren’t always sincere.

  2. And when I compared Islam with slavery because a child of a slave is also a slave and slaves are not allowed to become nonslaves, just as a child of a muslim should also be a muslim and muslims are not allowed to become non muslims, the honoured Mr.Lawson, called it as an insult disguised as an intellectual argument and flounced off…

  3. Many Muslim leaders may denounce these views of how apostates may be treated, but Patrick Sookhdeo’s experience would suggest they aren’t always sincere.Some are sincere in their denouncement, but even so, that the killing of apostates is even a matter of live controversy I find horrifying and abhorrent, and indicative of very deep problems in Islam.

  4. There seem to be two issues here: First, should anything be taught as being unquestionable? Second, should Islam be taught as being unquestionable?The questions are related. Frankly, I find Islam (and Christianity) so abhorrent in general that I question whether they should be taught to children at all, in much the same way that advanced sexuality and drug use can safely wait until adulthood.That mature adults without organic brain damage or debilitating psychological trauma who know (or ought to know) of the profound risks of doing so could actually teach Islam as unquestionable truth to children is strong evidence that nothing should be taught as unquestionable.

  5. I suspect that a considerable number of Muslims if questioned would also say that the prayer 5 times a day was a religious obligation. I bet that nothing like 36% of them actually do it though.There is an issue here of the public vs private face of the Muslim. I saw this discussed once and thought it interesting. It was a non-Muslim who said that he had noticed that his Muslim friends would feel obliged to publically aver something that privately they would be a lot softer on. I believe also that historically, the death sentence for apostasy was very rarely carried out (any facts and figures on this?) – compare the Christian history on this issue. I think it’s possibly because you had to be pretty determined to convince an Islamic court that you were indeed an apostate and not just a bad Muslim with a poor sense of humour. In fact, what kind of person in the past, accused in court of apostasy with the death sentence hanging over them, is going to refuse to say, yeah, sorry I didn’t mean it? Only a mad person I would suggest, and thereore one who would not be subject to Islamic law.No, I think the apostasy talk is about rhetorically defining limits with the ultimate threat. But what do I know?It’s like the punishment for illicit sexual intercourse – how many readers know that strictly speaking 4 EYE WITNESSES to the actual fact of vaginal peneration are required? (or an admission of guilt- see above for a comment on this). That’s why these African courts get so mixed up when a woman is raped and gets pregnant. There is clear evidence that SHE’S been up to something, but nothing comparably concrete on the man accused (not excusing misogynist Muslims judges here).The whole issue of the ‘hadd’ punishments is a really dificult one for Muslims though. I’d like to see what Ibrahim Lawson makes of it.

  6. Islam does not only impact on the lives of Muslims: it impacts on the lives of non-Muslims as well, because the mere fact of having large numbers of people who hold such extreme and intolerant views living amongst us affects the quality of life of the entire population and is a potent recipe for trouble.

  7. Anticantt. Now you are realy sounding phobic. Who do you think stirred up all these jihadi nutters in the first place?Is it brown faces that terrify you? Its the Daily Telegraph that worries me.

  8. No, brown faces don’t terrify me – I’m quarter-Arab myself, and rather more familiar with the Levantine temperament than a lot of the English are.As for “who stirred them up in the first place”, you tell me. Are you saying that their understanding [or misunderstanding] of Islam had nothing whatever to do with it?

  9. “Anticantt. Now you are realy sounding phobic. Who do you think stirred up all these jihadi nutters in the first place?Is it brown faces that terrify you? “I am terribly afraid of Islam and its nuts and it is not the brown faces that terrify me because I am brown myself.

  10. “Its the Daily Telegraph that worries me.”Then the internet should also worry you, because Islam thrives on ignorance and fear. And internet is the greatest antidote to ignorance and hence the greatest antidote of religion.

  11. @ red,Are you suggesting that since the death penalty for apostasy apparently have been very effective in coercing people not to defect (i.e. at least pay lip-service to islam), that you find it not problematic?CassandersIn Cod we trust

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