Why is a progressively draconian government who wants to repeal the Human Rights Bill, render British nationals stateless, which voted to bomb yet another country and who greatly expanded the monitoring of British Muslims, pandering to fasting Muslim students during exam time?
You couldn’t make this up, yet somehow our esteemed newspapers have tried to, and coupled with a vibrant and passionate online egg community, it has snowballed into an issue that Muslims have been vocally campaigning about apparently.
So let me nip it in the bud.
There is no IS, ISIS, or Daesh General Certificate of Secondary Education exam or as it’s commonly known, the GCSE.
There is also this statement from the Joint Council for Qualifications: “There is no shake-up or talk of radically changing exam timetable to fit the lives of fasting pupils. It is reasonable that the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) reviews the timetable to ensure it meet needs of all children, including Muslims. It is appropriate that small changes that can accommodate requirement of any group should be considered especially where that does not impact negatively on most students.”
This revelation may well come as a shock to the Daily Mail “investigative” team, but it would be remiss of me not to state what the actual exam board said as opposed to how it has been spun in the news.
So why did a non-story bring up so much vitriol and hate that it forced the Muslim Council of Britain one of the largest Muslim umbrella groups to release a clarifying statement?
Well it’s because the Daily Mail, who have diligently and consistently been on the wrong side of history ever since its support of 1930s Nazi Germany, along with other publications have made a big play on exam boards catering to Muslims at the expense of English kids.
This in turn has riled up people online who with seemingly the reading and comprehension skills below that required for a GCSE to vocally and loudly have a pop at what is a once-in-every-20-years convergence of summer time fasting and exam timetables.
It’s the old play on Muslims have cancelled the nativity play at Christmas, enforced Winterval upon unsuspecting British citizens or the annual sainted dear dinner lady story, fired for doing nothing wrong apart from being the embodiment of British Values and serving unethically sourced gammon from Denmark to a hypothetical Muslim kid at lunch time.
Come on, journalists, if it is really an Islamist takeover at least make it credible and say they sacked the catering staff and introduced spiced chicken to school lunches that would make grown patriots and Jamie Oliver cry.
Don’t get me wrong, no Muslim parent is going to turn down exams that fit around Ramadan – why would they? It’s like a free upgrade on a plane; you’re not going to turn it down on the basis you didn’t ask for it.
So what are the clickbait articles on scary Muslim practices not telling us about what British Muslims are actively campaigning for?
Well if you really want to know what Muslims are campaigning for ditch the media, and instead face towards the East on a Friday, and you can hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Because far from clambering for special dispensation for fasting, the number one issue most Muslim parents have been vocal about is the further rolling out of Prevent in Schools.
So how have the media covered this growing civil rights issue for Muslims?
Well since the turn of the year, the articles focused mainly on those Muslims who have stuck their head above the parapet and campaigned against Prevent have smeared them as being apologists for ISIS or Caliphate botherers. Never mind that the NUS, teachers’ union, council of mosques in Walthamstow and even academics in universities have also said Prevent within schools is something that has serious ramifications not just for Muslim kids but eventually all kids in general.
Prevent, it is fair to say, has disproportionately targeted Muslim students but as the case of the “Eco-Terrorist” kid in North London (home of terrorist sympathiser Jeremy Corbyn) school shows, it is not limited to just Muslim kids.
But what about the Trojan horse scandal in Birmingham? Well let me put it this way:
David Cameron was schooled in Eton and only mixed within a mainly white, ideologically driven section of society through his formative years. Now he is the head of a vanilla shurah council, ruling over every aspect of British life and no one seems to be vexed by this.
Or you could look at this way:
By the time British Muslims get round to putting their own Mancunian Barack Hussein through Eton and Oxford University and bred enough Muslims in the UK to vote for him to become PM, everyone will have moved onto another bogeyman minority. How do I know this? Well, Muslims can’t even organise one date for Eid. For them to agree to the terms and conditions for a coordinated Islamist takeover is in the realm of fantasy just like a Caliphate in the UK.
The whole justification for Prevent was because of the Trojan horse debacle and it is as suspect as a vegetable biryani only option at your wedding, am I right Muslims?
I’m not saying there were no bad faith actors in Birmingham who had espoused abhorrent views, but failing schools in the inner city that have never been properly addressed by successive governments hardly justifies going full Nazi Germany by this Tory government in my view.
So why has Prevent been so controversial for Muslims?
Well cases like the three year old who was referred and having 57% of referrals being Muslim when Muslims only make up around 5% of the population has caused much disquiet.
This is the hot button issue most Muslim parents in the UK are campaigning against, and if they really had an Islamist stooge in the Education department this is what they’d be telling them to fix.
The message to Muslim kids is: we will stop your radicalisation by cracking down on you saying Christmas is haram not by tried and tested things like improving your educational attainment or dealing with factors of poverty and isolation. Muslim school kids will only get the attention they crave if they type Jihad not Help on the school server (they’ve rolled out online surveillance of school kids) because let us be clear, we are cutting social services and mental health services while pumping millions into a discredited secretive Prevent organisation primarily focused on Muslim kids. This and not the outrage against some Muslim inspired exam timetable should raise your ire.
Why are Muslim children having millions lavished on their safeguarding that they don’t want? When at the same time we are cutting back on services for non-Muslim kids? Why are we paying for someone to take a kid for an ice cream and a chat about the implications of a Caliphate when they request a prayer space in college (two actual Prevent referral cases)?
I would like an allowance to be made for the fact my child might not enthusiastically embrace the nativity play at Christmas. Atheists I know would agree. I don’t want a rumbling belly at exam time to be the only thing you hear about in media when it comes to what British Muslims are talking about.
Forcing teachers and NHS staff to diagnose a would-be jihadist when equipped with an hour long presentation on how to spot an extremist is a dangerous route we are going down.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said in the Guardian, “Teachers are not counter-terrorism experts.”
It’s not rocket science when it comes to inspiring disfranchised Muslim kids not to join gangs or being cannon fodder for a death cult in the Middle East. But then again what do I know…well as it turns out as little as those who work and paid to advise on implementing prevent and the rest of the counter terrorism policy. I see a Kids Company type implosion for those organisations that facilitate Prevent as there is so much secrecy and little or no measurement of success or outcomes.
Finally, if the aim of Prevent was to put the fear of Theresa May and not God into Muslims, then it has worked. But more than that, it’s coming to your non-Muslim child next, and that should also concern you.
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Raf is a vegetarian Muslim who does current affairs with jokes. Follow him on Twitter @1Rafz
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More by Uncle Raf
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