Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre calls for “revolution of inclusivity” in Irish schools and “an upheaval in Irish educational perspectives”
Atheist Ireland welcomes the above comments by Dr Ali Selim and invites the two publicly funded National schools under the patronage of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland to lead the way by including the children of atheists and secularists in their schools.
The Islamic Foundation of Ireland is patron to two publicly funded National schools. These schools, just like Educate Together schools and schools under the Patronage of the Catholic Church are legally obliged to following the Education Act 1998, the National School Rules, the Primary School Curriculum and the Equal Status Act. These schools are part of our National education system and given the call for “an upheaval in Irish educational perspectives” and a “revolution of inclusivity” we are anxious to understand how these schools will accommodate the children of atheists and secularists and lead the way in removing religious discrimination in the education system.
In particular we are looking forward to our children accessing a ‘neutral studying environment’, given the recent comments of the UN Human Rights Committee.
According to their website the Muslim National School in Dublin is the first state funded primary school for Muslim children in Ireland. It was established by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland in 1990. At present the ethos of the school is not exactly welcoming of those of us who do not share the Islamic ethos and it gives us no indication of how our children will access a neutral studying environment in accordance with human rights law. Hopefully this is all about to change as part of the revolution of inclusivity.
The school states that:-
“The ethos of the school is distinctly Islamic. This is reflected in various practices in the school. At the school children from 3rd class up perform midday (Dhuhr) prayer during the school day. On Friday (Jummah) the children from 3rd class up attend the congregational prayer.
The uniform required for the students is in align with Islamic requirements (i.e.code of dress).The class libraries include Islamic books in their stock, while Islamic posters and pictures add to the Islamic atmosphere.”
“Eight days are taken at the end of Ramadan and continues through Eid-ul-Fitr. Five days holiday are taken for Eid al-Adha. Both of these occasions are Islamic festivals, which are celebrated yearly in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar. The school closes for national and bank holidays.”
“hijab for girls (obligatory in 5th/6th class) must be white.”
We would prefer if our children did not get time off for all the religious festivals, in the various religions that the schools will accommodate, as they will miss a significant part of their education. We look forward to all schools recognising Darwin Day and International Blasphemy Rights Day.
We also note from the website that there is some limited transport available to the school in Clonskeagh provided for by Bus Eireann. That is a really welcome development and will be of particular interest to those parents that get refused access to the local Catholic school.
We look forward to working with the Islamic Foundation of Ireland to promote a revolution of inclusivity, so that all children regardless of what their parents believe will have access to a neutral studying environment in accordance with human rights law and access to their local school without religious discrimination.
Alternatively if all this turns out to be too impractical for Dr Ali Salim he might consider joining Atheist Ireland to campaign for a secular education system where all children are treated equally in all schools regardless of their parents religion and where religion is passed on through families, mosques and churches.