Derby Muslim School Investigated Amid Claims Non-Muslims Forced To Wear Hijabs
The Huffington Post UK | By Jessica Elgot Posted: 20/09/2013 12:08 BST | Updated: 20/09/2013 12:08 BST
A Muslim free school has reportedly insisted staff, including non-Muslims, sign new contracts insisting they wear hijabs.
The Derby Telegraph reported that teachers were also concerned about gender segregation at the school, with girls reportedly asked to sit at the back of classrooms.
Al-Madinah school in Derby, which opened in 2012, is obliged as a free school to recruit 50% of pupils without taking religion into consideration. The school is currently under investigation by the Education Funding Agency for irregularities.
Sue Arguile, branch secretary of Derby National Union of Teachers, told HuffPost UK that the NUT was not challenging the school directly about the alleged sex segration, but had other "deep concerns' about what the school's founding principles were, how it obtained funding, non-qualified teaching staff and the education it is now providing, when compared to its original intention.
The Huffington Post UK has contacted the school for a response. The school has addressed concerns about the qualifications of its teachers and the departure of members of staff in a post on its website, entitled "Rumours and the news".
"Some staff have moved on, as they would do in any school, for a variety of reasons, and any administrative or contractual issues will be worked through.
"Al-Madinah is a pioneering school, the first of its type in the whole country, and not everyone wants it to succeed. Unfortunately politics have been allowed to interfere with education. Our only concern in the success of your children."
The school's founding headteacher Andrew Cutts-Mckay left after less than a year in post. He was quoted as saying, before the school opened, that it would "honour all faiths" and would have 50% non-Muslim pupils.
"I was drawn to the Al-Madinah School because of the ethos and culture that's going to be developed and introduced," he told the BBC in April 2012, as the school prepared to open.
"It's about developing a really effective school with high standards."
The paper reported that before the school was opened, it was under pressure from various local mosques to have a more strict Islamic ethos than what had been originally intended.
Arguile told HuffPost UK that five to 10 teachers at the school had come to the union with concerns about their new contracts. "The question is whether the school is continuing to provide the education which it received funding to provide, based on Muslim principles and not as a Muslim school.
"There's nothing intrinsically wrong with a school having a dress code if it's in place when teachers first sign the contract. You sign the contract, agree, or don't teach at the school. The problem is if one is introduced and teachers cannot object.
The school is a primary and secondary school, teaching just Reception and Year One, and Years Seven and Eight. It will eventually cater for 1,100 pupils, according to its website.
Arguile said the NUT had very little power apart from to advise its members on contractual matters. Free schools do not recognise the unions.
Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, which campaigns against the setting up of religious free schools, told HuffPost UK he questioned the legality of contractual religious dress codes that apply to all employees regardless of their beliefs and of gender-based segregation in the classroom.
"To see them in a state school - an institution that should embody the highest principles of openness and equality is shameful.
"The fact that these practices occur are a symptom of the continuing failure of government to regulate effectively the practice of state schools with a religious character."
Al-Madinah School: Home
Teachers at Derby's Muslim school 'ordered to wear hijabs'
Non-Muslim teachers 'forced to wear veil' at faith school
Post to Twitter.
14 seconds ago (11:16)
Unfortunately Democracy is its own enemy when used by other groups and religions with their own agenda
3 minutes ago (11:13)
The march of Islamofascism continues! Along with the Islamification of the UK!
4 minutes ago (11:12)
We need a government that has some balls and stands up for the people of this country otherwise we are heading for a war in this country against the muslims, i watched the video on youtube and have never seen such hate against the people of the UK from these people of the muslim race, time for the government and the people of the UK to put things right before it is to late
6 minutes ago (11:10)
The Al-Madinah school is doing this to ensure that it remains a Muslim only school even though this flies in the face of its obligations to recruit 50% of pupils without taking religion into consideration.
It is transparent and dumb. Of course non Muslim pupils will be taken out by their families but the school will also be forced to close as it will have its permissions to operate removed.
George Orwell was right
8 minutes ago (11:08)
10 minutes ago (11:06)
I'm not surprised at all. We should not allow any muslim schools or any faith schools actually. These schools will continue to indoctrinate the young into an insular belief system fueling future problems in our society. By the way, Catholic schools have been forcing non catholic staff and pupils to worship together for decades!!!
12 minutes ago (11:04)
This weekend my grandaughter is staying with me she is worried about having to get homewoek in by Monday on the muslim rules and faith or get detentions and no playtime if not done what the hell is happening in this country do the muslims have to learn about our christian faith an ways no doubt NOT this country has gone to the dogs with these people demanding more and more its about time we stood up and said no more live like us and our ways or get out do you see Australia or France putting up with it NO
13 minutes ago (11:03)
I would shut the school altogether . How dare they do such a thing. I would also take the teachers in charge of this school to court for forcing such a thing .
21 minutes ago (10:55)
SHUT IT DOWN NOW !
25 minutes ago (10:51)
Anyone thinking of going to the World Cup in Qatar must remember to obey the rule that kissing in public if you are not married is FORBIDDEN as it considered OFFENSIVE. Like many people in this country I find WOMEN WEARING 'alien' garments like the Niqab OFFENSIVE. I find the way they slaughter animals for Halal meat OFFENSIVE, and to make it even worse, it is sold in supermarkets with no labeling. I consider it OFFENSIVE that bit by bit Sharia Law is being listened to. I find it OFFENSIVE that our hard earned money is used to publish council documents in God knows how many foreign languages instead of immigrants learning English. I find it OFFENSIVE that bit by bit the historic skyline of our cities is being taken over with minarets. I find it OFFENSIVE that politicians bend over backwards to accommodate them, yet they still take liberties.
Take a look at a world atlas and mark off all the world trouble spots. Now mark off all the countries that are Muslim. Yep, there's a remarkable similarity!
I object to no-one. I welcome people of any creed, colour or ethnicity, as long as they fit in with our culture and way of life and NOT the other way round. The trouble is politicians, whether left, right or centre are gutless and do nothing in the hope the problem will go away. It won't. It will JUST GET WORSE.
12 minutes ago (11:04)
you have hit the nail right on the head. the goverment made this mess and should have the backbone to sort it out. its a disgrace when we cant even deport crimminals because of human rights to family life as they clearly wernt bothered about the right to family life when they were breaking the law. you break the law and if you have family or not you should be kicked out never to return.
9 minutes ago (11:07)
Totally agree with you and if we are not careful not now but in many years to come they will rule this country god help us
31 minutes ago (10:45)
Maybe time for some people to read the EDL mission statement and perhaps donate some money to their funds in order for them to pay the legal fees of those who are brave enough to test the law in order that the people see how it has been changed to appease the muslims.
32 minutes ago (10:44)
Free speach and all that is being carried a bit too far here,what reaction do you think you would get by going over there ,and demanding they wear a cross, remove all head ,and face gear.Bet you dont get the polically correct brigade complaining,Its their country, and you wont tell them what to do.So in our country why do we allow it to happen to us.
39 minutes ago (10:38)
The requirement that girls sit at the back of classrooms is the blatant practice of discrimination. There is NO question as regards the fact that the government is subsidizing a discriminatory institution and therefore this school MUST be denied any government funding. The most important question here is "Who in the government is responsible for providing this funding and why? THEY are the cancer that is eating away at Britain's institutions and social structure.
Either the British government and it's society is a democratic one which firmly protects and defends it's alleged belief in gender equality for all in the UK or it is not. No group religious or otherwise can be allowed to establish their own rules, laws (Sharia or otherwise) and practices within the UK, which violate those of the nation. The fact that the government (Politicians) have allowed this situation to exist is a clear example of just how out of control, inept and irresponsible the British government is. You want government funding? Then you adhere to the laws and principals of the British nation. NO EXCEPTIONS! END OF!
39 minutes ago (10:37)
I could be wrong , but it seems that women are regarded as second class citizens in the muslim faith / society. Never see them praying in a mosque either , men only....very odd.
53 minutes ago (10:23)
Should send our children to school in national dress cant do anything about it .Only trouble is , do we have one , don't think so .
12 minutes ago (11:04)
Shell suits? Onezies? Sandals with Socks? Football Shirts and Jeans?
11 minutes ago (11:05)
We do have dress standards that are expected and accepted in our society. As an easy going and eclectic society we encompass many different styles. We have acceptable day wear, work wear and evening wear, we have school uniforms, that is our dress code in this country.
We also have an inherent suspicion of anyone who covers their face. Throughout our history and culture it has always been the villains who covered their faces. The masked highway man, the hooded intruder, the robber with the ski mask or balaclava.
AND WHAT DO THEY TEACH IN MORALITY AND ETHICS CLASSES? MOHAMMED MARRIED 19 TIMES AND EVEN HIS STEPSON'S PRETTY WIFE? AND, THE NUMBER OF HIS FEMALE SLAVES AND CONCUBINES WAS MORE THAN THE NUMBER OF FINGERS AND TOES ON A MAN' HANDS AND FEET PUT TOGETHER?