Islam is very clear about the importance of healthy, balanced relationships between people. The importance of having good relations is emphasised in the dichotomy rights culture in Islam – rights of God and then of his creation. This Islamic framework provides lots of details about how we interact with each other, treat each other, live with each other and indeed marry and grow up with each other. As Muslim parents we have battled with the challenges of nurturing our children in a secular environment for many years. Up until very recently, the state has interfered very little with the parent’s domain and we have had relative autonomy in choosing the way we bring up our children.
We have always maintained that teaching our children about the sensitivities of relationships between each other, sexual relationships, bodily changes etc are the domain of the parents in the parental home.
In September 2020 the government introduced mandatory Relationships Education (RE) in primary schools, and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in secondary schools.
For the past two years at the onset of this new Guidance it has caused a substantial turmoil and adverse impact on the Muslim community. There have been protests outside schools, stand-offs between teachers and parents and just an air of unhealthy confrontations. Some were so distraught with the whole situation that a proportion of Muslim children were taken out of compulsory school education in favour of home-schooling.
MINAB understands the feelings and frustrations of parents as a result of RE and RSE being introduced into schools. These feelings are not unique to us as Muslim parents – parents of other faiths and indeed those who simply have a moral standpoint and have no faith feel very much angered that our children’s innocence is being violated.
MINAB is therefore pleased to collaborate and support a nationwide, multi-faith collaboration that is simply saying as parents we should always have the right to withdraw from sessions that we deem are not allowing our children to be children.
The “Let Kids Be Kids Coalition” is a joint legal initiative by Christians, Muslims and Jewish professional parents that seeks to challenge the government’s decision to remove parental rights. It aims to apply for Judicial Review and reverse the governments decision.
At MINAB we fully support the LKBKC statement that parents are responsible for the upbringing of their own children and that Parliament has a legal duty to ensure that any education provision in sensitive ethical and moral fields is in conformity with the parents’ religious and philosophical convictions.
Further action for parents:
- Learn and read more about your rights and responsibilities as Muslim parents on this issue. https://www.sreislamic.org/parental-guidance-series-videos/
- Learn more about and join the Let Kids Be Kids Coalition campaign
- DONATE to the cause. This is led by an experienced teacher and parent who is spearheading the legal process. https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/let-kids-be-kids-help-us-protect-our-children/
- Get involved with your children’s schools – by law Headteachers must consult with their parent body and positive experience tells us that those who have positively engaged, the schools have been accommodating to their parents and children’s needs.
- Lobby your Member of Parliament (MP). If you wish to persuade the government to change its decision, you can lobby your member of parliament. Lobbying is when an individual or a group tries to persuade someone in Parliament to support a particular policy or campaign. The more MP’s are persuaded on a particular campaign the more chances of the government being persuaded. Lobbying can be done by sending a letter/email or social media message to the members of parliament.
Lastly, we know some Muslim parents will want to take up the option of Home Schooling. Through the first lockdown period we all got to experience how challenging this can be. At MINAB we would urge you firstly to really do your research carefully and have a plan of action before taking any steps of taking children out a school education setting.
Some further guidance is presented below: