Islamic and Education in Britain Impact on the Curriculum

Figure 1.--

Most of Western Europe now have Muslim minorities. Britain has a Muslim minority population. It is largely urban and predominately Pakistani. Many are descended from immigrants during the colonian period when Pakistan was part of the British Raj. One of the topics we are considering is the impact of the Muslim minority on the curriculum. One report from Britain suggests that some teachers are changing the curriculum, deleting some subjects. The two topics which seem to be most commonly being avoided are the Holocaust and the crusades. This is not official U.K. policy, but does appear to be decessions that some individual teachers and some schools are taking.

Ministry of Education Funded Study

The study was funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It assessed the 'emotive and controversial' teaching of history in both primary and secondary schools. The researchers found that some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust, concerned about thecreaction of Muslim students. The researchers findings have been publicized and have prompted another debate about education in Britain. Some charge that some schools are using history as a vehicle to promote their view of history and allowing political correctness to overide the persuit of truth. An ongoing discussion in Britain is the extent to which educators with left-wing views are affecting educational studies. The report reference here concluded with the finding: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

The Holocaust

The researchers noted a secondary school which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework. Some teachers seemed concerned that if they address the Holocaust that Muslim pupils might be offended and express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class. A study sponsored by the Government found that "Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils". [Clark] Teachers apparently feared confronting both anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some of their Muslim pupils. Holocaust deninal exists among the Muslim minority. Yjis appears to take a range of views from actual denial to exageratiin and appogist views. The dynamic appears to be that the Jews are our enemy and anything that causes sympathy for the Jews should be denied or resisted. Some teachers apparently think that concern over upsetting students is more important than persuing truth.

The Crusades

The Government study found that some teachers are now reluctant to teach the medieval Crusades in which Christians fought Muslims for control of Jerusalem. There is no doubt that the Crusades for a long time. The brutality of the European Crusaders, including King Richard the Lion Heart, was often ignored. In recent years a more ballanced treatment of the Crusades became common in British schools. The researchers found, however, that even this more ballanced view still appears to contradict what is taught in some of their local mosques. Here the problem seems to be that Islamic clerics are teaching that the West is wageing a war against Islam and that the Crusades are an example of this. What the mosques do not teach is that Muslims for 400 years waged a series of wars against Christian kingdomes in spreading Islam This is not to say that the sword and war was the obly way that Islam spread, but it was a major part of it. The Crusades were in fact the first major effort by the Christian West to strike back.


Clark, Laura. Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims," Daily Mail April 2, 2007.


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Created: 3:58 PM 4/15/2007
Last updated: 3:58 PM 4/15/2007