Thursday, July 1, 2010

Muslim pupils taken out of music lessons 'because Islam forbids playing an instrument'

What we have here is failure to integrate by the Muslim population, and failure of the British government to insist enforcing the same rules for all students.

Muslim pupils taken out of music lessons 'because Islam forbids playing an instrument'

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:05 PM on 1st July 2010

Muslim pupils are being withdrawn from music lessons because some Islamic beliefs forbid followers learning an instrument.

State schools are thought to have allowed hundreds of pupils to stop having classes despite music being part of the compulsory National Curriculum.

In one London primary, 20 pupils were withdrawn from the Christmas musical while the family of one five-year-old girl banned her from music classes.
music lessons

Pupils in a music class at a primary school: Some Muslim families have withdrawn children for religious reasons

The situation at Lambeth's Herbert Morrison Primary, where 29 per cent of pupils come from mainly Somalian Muslim families, emerged as part of a BBC investigation.

Headteacher Eileen Ross said some parents 'don't want children to play musical instruments and they don't have music in their homes'.

'For goodwill I allow that parent to withdraw their child from all music but I am in fact denying the child the opportunity that the other children in the class have,' she told BBC London News.

Some Muslims believe that playing musical instruments is forbidden in the same way that alcohol is banned.

Parents have no automatic right to withdraw their children from subjects such as music, although legal exemptions exist for religious and sex education.

The situation has already provoked concerns from Ofsted and education experts.

The Open University's Dr Diana Harris, an expert on music education and Muslims, said she had visited schools where half of the pupils were withdrawn from music lessons during Ramadan.

She claimed Ofsted inspectors sometimes turned 'a blind eye' to the issue.

'Although I wouldn't want anyone to do anything against their religion, I feel there's a lot in music which gives us great joy in life,' she said.

The Muslim Council of Britain said music lessons were likely to be unacceptable to about 10 per cent of the Muslim population, which meant hundreds of children were being withdrawn from classes.

But a spokesman for Ofsted said: 'Music is an important part of any child or young person's education. Any examples of pupils being treated unequally would be a matter of significant concern.