Religious Education In The Early UK Muslim Community
Back in the sixties there was a mass migration of different nationalities to the UK from countries within Europe and from the Sub-continent, setting the stage for the cultural diversity we see here today. Everybody seemed to want to jump on the bandwagon to try their luck with a new start in a new country and while there have been many success stories; there have been many more tales of sorrow and disappointment.
Although each and every person migrating had the same goal- a better life for themselves and their families- the problems faced were different for each community formed. In this article we will focus on the Muslim community and their major problems. The main concern was the correct education and upbringing of their children, and in the struggle forthis, Muslim parents really lamented the lack of Islamic Schools. Many parents felt that since there was a rapidly growing community of Muslims, there should be an Islamic School in Manchester, to which they could send their children.
Muslims migrating from the sub-continent had to deal with economic and racial problems but these seemed to be surmountable, compared to the problems they faced regarding their children. These early migrants were generally from poor backgrounds with little education or skills, and therefore they were mainly incorporated into the manual labour force and there they stayed for most of their lives.
In the meantime the children of these workers were growing up confused as to their identity, since they were attending schools during the day, where they assimilated one way of life, and at home they were expected to adhere to a different set of rules and values. The first generation which migrated had been raised with strict Muslim values and they were used to practicing their religion as a matter of fact, and they expected their children to automatically follow in their footsteps- regarding both religion and professions.
The children were learning that Islamic viewswere not the only views around and since the parents rarely had much time to spend teaching their children the Islamic school of thought,these children were gaining an education based on western culture and ideals. Since Islamic schools were still quite a few years in the future, many parents had to deal with the fact that their dreams for their children would have to take a different direction since these children were growing up without the strict religious regimen that they themselves had followed.
These concerned parents tried their best by sending the children to the few existing mosques or any member of the community training or knowledge enough to impart some wisdom, to students, regarding their role as Muslims and what was expected from them as active members of an Islamic community in a country where they were in the minority. Some of these lessons learnt were taken on board but many of the pupils only paid lip service to keep their parents happy.
It is important for parents to get their child the best education possible and also the parents want this. Religious education is not that emphasized these days and it should be.
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