From The Telegraph U.K.
When tolerance is taken too far
Telegraph View: Haringey Council seems determined to evade its responsibility to ensure that Muslims are integrated into British society
Published: 7:40PM GMT 12 Dec 2009
One of the most pressing challenges for Britain – not just for the Government, but for the whole of our society – is to find a way to integrate fundamentalist Muslims: to ensure that they embrace the basic values of tolerance, equality of the sexes, and the primacy of secular democracy as a way of making law. Haringey Council currently provides an object lesson in how not to meet that critical challenge. As this newspaper reported more than six weeks ago, a Muslim school there, run by individuals with links to the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, received £113,000 of taxpayers’ money last year. After our report, state funding was suspended. Now it has been resumed: an investigation by Haringey Council found “no evidence to suggest inappropriate content or influence at the school”.
One of the school’s three trustees is Farah Ahmed. She has refused to deny membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and has also written a pamphlet attacking the National Curriculum for “pushing the idea of religious tolerance”. In it, she insists that “attempts to integrate Muslim children” into secular society are an effort to “produce new generations that reject Islam”. She attacks English literature as “one of the most damaging subjects”, and says democracy is a “corrupt tradition” and Western education is “a threat” to Muslims’ “beliefs and values”.
If those attitudes do not count as “inappropriate content or influence” when it comes to state funding, it is hard to see what does. Yet Haringey seems determined to evade its responsibility to ensure that Muslims are integrated into British society. As does the Government: Ed Balls, the Children’s Minister, has backed the council. There could be no more effective way of ensuring that religious minorities remain dangerously excluded from mainstream society.