The dangers of English… Shakespeare… !

This is from Jihad Watch by Robert Spencer with my emphases and comments.

Apparently there is an Islamic faith watchdog group in Britain which makes sure everything is according to Hoyle in schools.  Some inspectors are linked to “radical Islamist organizations”.

Some of the concerns for children in Islamic schools, are disconcerting.


The schools, the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation establishments in Haringey, north London, and Slough, Berks, received more than £113,000 of public funding and became the subject of national controversy after being exposed in The Sunday Telegraph.

One of the Foundation’s trustees, Farah Ahmed, who is also headmistress of the Slough school, wrote a chapter in a Hizb ut Tahrir pamphlet attacking the National Curriculum for its “systematic indoctrination” of Muslim children “to build model British citizens”[Can you imagine the arrogance of educators of children in Britain imagining that children in Britain should know anything about Britain so they can fit into British society?]

She criticised “attempts to integrate Muslim children” into British society as an effort “to produce new generations that reject Islam”.

She described English as “one of the most damaging subjects” [! Consider what sorts of things have been written in English!  I am writing this in English for the love of God!] a school can teach and attacked fairy tales, saying that these “reflect secular and immoral beliefs that contradict the viewpoint of Islam”. [I think we are talking about “fairy tales” in the rather more traditional sense… the Brothers Grimm and all that.  Pretty threatening stuff: the bad guy is always punished by the end.]

She also attacked the “obvious dangers” of Shakespeare, including “Romeo and Juliet, which advocates disobeying parents and premarital relations”.  [My my!  It might be a good idea to read R&J before condemning it.  The star-crossed lovers get married before the consummation, don’t they.  As far as the disobedience issue is concerned, how can we forget that the disobedient ingrates wind up dead at the end.  Not exactly a happy ending.  What could be wrong with that?  Wouldn’t at least poor Juliet be killed under sharia law?]


If they don’t like Romeo and Juliet, what they would think about Othello?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. pberginjr says:

    ROFL!! Great commentary.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    R&J – sounds like they just saw the movie!!

    Othello – give them some time to get to that.

    Wonder if anybody still studies the Chanson de Roland in school…

  3. Denis Crnkovic says:

    On the other hand, I imagine they wouldn’t mind The Merchant of Venice.

  4. moon1234 says:

    I suppose they would prefer that the kids read the Koran and learn how to stone women to death and attack the Infidel! I am sure that Britans are free to criticize the school instruction in Islamic countries as well without risks their necks (literally).

  5. Well, if fairy tales are bad, I guess the Thousand and One Nights are out.

  6. dominic says:

    Does anyone study the Chanson de Roland in state schools in the UK? I very much doubt it. At some more traditional “public” (private) schools, possibly. At university level (in Medieval History or some French courses), certainly.

    “The Christians are right and the pagans are wrong” is probably too, erm, controversial, a line for public-sector educationalists to want to go near

  7. wmeyer says:

    This illustrates the difficulty of engaging in discussion with the Islamic community. As Spencer has ably explained elsewhere, and David Selbourne documents in painful clarity in his The Losing Battle with Islam, the Islamic view (if I do not unfairly summarize it) is that as the whole world belongs to Allah, so Muslims are called to convert the world, and political boundaries are of no consequence. Putting it in context, and very baldly, they take the view that Britons have no right to call Britain their own. This seems to me an order of magnitude worse than attempting conversation with liberals. ;)

  8. prairie says:

    Denis beat me to it.

  9. capchoirgirl says:

    So…as a former English major (I have my BA in Poli Sci/English Lit), does that make me a menace to society?
    AWESOME. :-D
    I had no idea being able to recite Shakespeare was part of being a menace to society!

  10. Romeo and Juliet??

    Don’t they get PUNISHED for their sin?

  11. kat says:

    Legisperitus says:
    8 November 2010 at 1:16 pm

    R&J – sounds like they just saw the movie!!

    Othello – give them some time to get to that.

    Wonder if anybody still studies the Chanson de Roland in school…

    I do believe our students study it; at least, I’ve heard about it recently from our Lit teachers and I’m thinking some of the students must’ve studied it too. I am not familiar with it myself. My favorite readings in H.S. were by Dickens!

  12. irishgirl says:

    wmeyer beat me to it as well!
    I would say more, but I’m not. Stories like this get me too riled up…..

  13. Supertradmum says:

    We read a Shakespearean play each semester in high school. By the time I was 18, we had covered the major sonnets and at least eight plays. What one learns from Shakespeare is life, good and evil, redemption and love, forgiveness and consequences, and human nature, as well as natural law. One also learns a lot about the Catholic Faith. No wonder these sad educators are afraid, as their students may actually learn how to think by reading or watching The Bard and may begin to appreciate “The West”.

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