Mosques ‘unequivocally’ rejects madrassa registration plans

The Northern Council of Mosques, representing 400 mosques, has opposed the government’s proposals to require madrassas in England to be registered and inspected.

Under the new regulations, the Muslim supplementary schools would have to comply with plans for tighter scrutiny over ‘out-of-school education settings’ if the plans were to be introduced.

However, the Department for Education (DfE) has indicated that it makes ‘no apology’ for wanting to ensure children are properly protected, with Prime Minister David Cameron warning that ‘teaching intolerance’ has do be stopped. The government’s consultation on the proposals is due to close on Monday 11 January.

The mosque leaders have claimed that the plans are based on ‘the flawed assumption that radicalisation takes place within some madrassas’ and that such ‘control and monitoring’ over lessons would ‘effectively lead to a form of state sanctioned religious expression’. They continue to say that the inspections ‘unduly encroaches on the legitimate right of faith providers to teach their children their faith’.

There are believed to be around 2,000 madrassas operating in the UK, teaching subjects such as Arabic, learning to recite the Koran and lessons in the principles and practices of their faith.

A DfE spokesman said: "We recognise many out-of-school education settings do a great job in supporting children's education and development but, without proper oversight, there is a risk that some children attending them may be exposed to harm, including from extremism.

"We want to hear the views of all interested parties about how settings which children attend intensively might be required to register so that they can be inspected in a way that does not place unnecessary burdens on good providers.”

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