LONDON – Islamic schools in Britain are teaching anti-Semitic material to high
school students, some of whom have been exposed to extremist preachers and
Islamist groups, a BBC documentary revealed on Monday evening.
to its flagship documentary program Panorama, around 5,000 Muslim children are
being educated from a Saudi Arabian textbook that teaches them that Jews are
transformed from pigs and apes, and asks them to list the “reprehensible”
qualities of Jews. Another says that Zionists want to establish world domination
for Jews, a charge levelled in the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of
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The documentary, titled “British Schools, Muslim Rules,” will
expose the parttime schools where hate is on the curriculum.
asks why school inspectors have missed the warning signs and examines the impact
this could have on young Muslims’ ability to integrate into mainstream British
life,” the program-makers said.
It will show a textbook that uses a
diagram to show how the hands and feet of thieves are chopped off according to
Shari’a law. A second book asks readers what happens to those who don’t believe
in Islam when they die. The text’s answer: “hellfire.”
The main goal of
the “Zionist movement,” according to the textbook, is “for the Jews to have
control over the world and its resources” which will be achieved by “inciting
rancor and rivalry among the great powers so that they fight one
The textbooks are being used to teach the Saudi national
curriculum at more than 40 weekend schools and clubs across the country to
Muslim children aged six to 18. They are run under the umbrella of “Saudi
Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland.”
The Saudi government
said it had no official ties to the schools and clubs, and did not endorse
“Any tutoring activities that may have taken place among any other
group of Muslims in the UK are absolutely individual to that group and not
affiliated to or endorsed by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia,” the embassy
said in a statement on Monday.
However, the program will show that a
building in the west London suburb of Ealing where Panorama obtained one of the
text books is owned by the Saudi government.
Education Minister Michael
Gove said that the government will not tolerate any anti- Semitic ideas being
taught to Muslim children in the UK.
“Saudi Arabia is a sovereign
country. I have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi
government makes in its own education system. But I’m clear that we cannot have
anti-Semitic material of any kind being used in English schools,” Gove
He suggested that it was time for the independent school regulator
Ofsted to inspect weekend schools and clubs.
“Ofsted is doing some work
in this area; they’ll be reporting to me shortly about how we can ensure that
part-time provision is better registered and better inspected in the future,” he
Responding to the BBC investigation, the London counter-extremism
think tank Quilliam said that while most Muslim schools in Britain do good work
to prepare children to play a full and positive role in British society, the BBC
program raises a number of difficult questions both for British Muslims and for
society in general.
“While most Muslim schools are doing good work and
are entirely unproblematic, there is clearly room for improvement in a minority
of cases,” said Talal Rajab, a spokesman for Quilliam. “Schools should be places
where young people learn to play a full part in the society around them. They
should not be venues for indoctrination where young minds are taught hatred and
Rajab called on the Saudi authorities to tackle
hatepreaching and for the British government to review their procedures to
protect school children.
“The Saudi government has recently taken
much-needed steps to modernize religious education in its own country.
is unfortunate that these socalled Saudi schools in Britain do not seem to have
similarly moved with the times. The Saudi authorities need to use their
influence to ensure that hate-preaching is fully tackled both at home and
abroad,” Rajab said.
“The government must also urgently review and
strengthen its procedures to protect school children from being groomed by
extremists, whether extreme Islamists or British National Party
“The government needs to balance the right of schools to set
their own curriculums against the right of children to enjoy a rounded and
balanced education that adequately prepares them for life in a diverse and
complex society,” Rajab added.