British Schools: The End of Separation and the Beginning of Spying

The Times (London) reports on a new move by the British government which would require faith based schools to allow up to 25% of their enrollment for students who do not hold to that faith. From the article:

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, is expected to suggest that opening up admissions to faith schools would help to ease racial tensions and give parents more choice. The move comes after a proposal this month by the Church of England to open up voluntarily 25 per cent of places in all its new schools to children irrespective of their religious beliefs.

The changes are likely to prove more controversial with Roman Catholics and Muslims. Critics of faith schools have long complained that they are exclusive and divide society, rather than promote cohesion. About a third, or 7,000, of all state schools in England have a religious ethos, mostly Christian. Four fifths of the top 200 secondaries are faith schools.

One of the primary motives for this decision is to attempt to minimize the opportunity for Muslim schools to promote extremist ideology. I guess the logic is, if 25% of the people at the school are not Muslim, then there is less of a chance of extremism. This goes along with another new measure which will virtually require British schools to spy on Muslim students who might be involved in extremism.

These decisions are sure to create a big reaction among the Muslim community in England. What you will likely not find is any sort of outrage in the Christian community about being forced to allow non-Christians into faith based schools. What do you expect when the Church of England was the one who initiated the idea by volunteering 25% of their student spots?

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