For years, some conservatives have predicted that the tenuous alliance between Islam and liberals against traditional Western values would reach an impasse once a core tenet of progressive ideology came under threat, and that appears to have just happened in Britain.
According to Breitbart, a Salafi Islamist primary school in the British city of Birmingham came under rhetorical fire after posting an advertisement announcing its search for a male teacher to instruct students in science and Islamic studies.
A tweet advertising the job read: “The Salafi Independent School is now recruiting a part-time male science and Islamic Studies teacher.”
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The school is attached to a local mosque that preaches adherence to Salafism, a rather strict and puritanical interpretation of Islam, whose devotees include Islamists like the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and other jihadist groups, according to The U.K. Guardian.
However, the call for a specifically male teacher to fill the position didn’t sit well with the National Secular Society. In a statement to the Birmingham Mail, campaigns director Stephen Evans said: “There is simply no justification for any school to discriminate against job applicants on the basis of gender.
“All schools have a duty to promote fundamental British values and any school that fails to respect the law and promote gender equality is clearly unfit to educate young people. By accommodating faith schools we already tolerate religious discrimination and segregation on a scale that would be totally unacceptable in any other area of public life.
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“Action must be taken to ensure that no school is permitted to normalize or promote gender-based discrimination, or any other regressive attitudes that are at odds with liberal democracy.”.
Concerns over “British values” and a possible “Trojan Horse” effort by hard-line Islamists to take over a school system caused worry among others beside the secularists though, according to the The U.K. Telegraph.
“An advert that indicates that only people of one sex are eligible for selection is discriminatory and unlawful, unless an occupational requirement applies,” stated a spokesman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
“Apart from being potentially unlawful, this appears to be the kind of the policy which reflects a failure to recognize gender equality or to promote respect for women,” a spokesman for the British Human Association stated. “If these attitudes are being espoused by the school and inculcated in its pupils, the Department for Education must take swift action.”
It is worth noting that the Salafi school has since withdrawn the advertisement, even as headmaster Dr. Perwaiz Saeed Alam maintained that the school still needed a male teacher for the position because the instructor would be required to accompany students to the mosque.
Alam told The Telegraph that that role couldn’t be filled by a female teacher due to “obvious sensitivities,” such as the general requirement that men and women be segregated in a mosque.
Alam did point out that his school actually has twice as many female teachers as male teachers, and though the boys and girls are instructed separately, teachers of both genders are allowed to teach students of the opposite gender in certain subjects.
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It remains to be seen if British progressives will hold firm to their promotion of gender equality or if they will step back and permit Islamic schools to violate their “British values” by discriminating against the female gender.
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