‘Young Muslims in Britain today have many problems in following their religion’

‘Young Muslims in Britain today have many problems in following their religion.’ Do you agree? Give reasons to support your answer and show that you have thought about different points of view.I think that young Muslims in Britain today experience many problems following their religion. The main reason for these difficulties is education. Education is important to every teenager and so it is to Muslims, especially Islamic education. There are about 2 million Muslims living in Britain and around half a million of them are children of compulsory school age ( 5-16 ) attending county schools. Most of the Muslim children here are born in this country. Their parents are very concerned about the difficulties in their children following their religion as they don’t want them to lose their faith and the cultural of Islam to be lost because Islamic education is not included in the national curriculum in Britain.They want them to learn about their own religion because Islam is their life so they would want their children to have an Islamic education as well as a British one. Muslims would not be able to learn things about their own religion in British state schools e.g. the Qur’an, Arabic and their own culture. This would be a part of their education if they went to a special Islamic school. But in Britain, Muslims are still struggling to get publicly funded Islamic schools. Opponents to these schools say that girls particularly would be disadvantaged in an Islamic system. Nevertheless there are 43 Muslim private secondary schools and one or two look like getting voluntary-aided status. Feversham college, an all girl Muslim secondary school in Bradford is hoping to move into a former Catholic school. The headmistress, who’s a Muslim, was educated at a Catholic school,’ We are educating the children to take their place in society. They are part of their community first, but also part of a wider community. First of all, we need to make them aware of what makes the foundation of their identity – ‘Islam’. As Muslim women they need to understand their relationship with their creator and then with their fellow human beings, whether they go on to higher education, get married or whatever.’Many Muslim parents think that schools in Britain are not strict enough; there are more rules, rules that are probably relevant to the Islamic regulations and obligations in Islamic schools. Not only do Muslims parents find it difficult to accept some parts of the state school curriculum in Britain but they are also dissatisfied by the methodology of teaching.In 1984, there were several hundred Muslim girls under 16 who were not attending school. Some of them were certainly being kept at home illegally. People within the Islamic community said’ Your schools are not good enough, your discipline ethos and non-Islamic values are not acceptable. Unless you do something about this, we’ll not send your daughters to school.’Let’s consider some of the problems Muslim teenagers might face in schools :School MealsIn Islam, Muslims are only allowed to have halal meat – all vegetables an any animal which has been killed according to Islamic regulation with the Bismillah blessing said over it but they are not allowed to eat any products coming from a pig. If the animal is not slaughtered in the Islamic way, then it’s harem ( forbidden ) – this is the meat itself and all its derivatives – lard, animal fats, gelatine etc. This could be a problem for teenagers in state schools in Britain because the school canteen probably don’t provide the halal meat that Muslims are allowed to eat.To deal with this problem, some Local Education Authorities ( LEAs ) have already made the move of providing halal food in some school canteens. The LEAs say that schools with Muslim children who cannot provide halal food in the canteen should make sure that Muslim children get a choice of vegetarian food and that all ingredients should be clearly displayed.School UniformAs mentioned in R2, Muslims have to follow the Islamic dress code and so does the Muslim teenagers. This could be a problem for Muslim teenagers as most state schools in Britain require wearing a school uniform. Islam requires boys and girls to conform at all times to the dress regulations. Modesty is the main consideration. After puberty, girl’s dress should be loose fitting which covers most of their body. Some will want to wear a headscarf with the full traditional dress which covers the whole of the body except for the face and the hands. Some less strict Muslims will just wear a headscarf. This has caused some conflicts between the parents and the schools as some girls have been banned from wearing the headscarf. Schools should be more understanding towards the Muslim teenagers in school. They should recognise the fact that they need to fulfil their Islamic obligations.Some schools have become less strict on this matter. Some let Muslim girls in school to wear loose fitting trousers under their skirts.The Islamic obligations on dress code also means that it will be hard for Muslims to have P.E lessons or swimming lessons. Maybe schools should allow Muslim children to wear sportswear compatible with the Islamic dress code.The following extract is taken from a problems page in a Islamic teenage magazine in Britain :PrayingPraying is a big part of a Muslim’s life. It is a fard as salat is the second pillar of Islam. From the age of ten, every Muslim must pray five times a day at fixed times. This could be very inconvenient for Muslims in British state schools as the prayer times will fall within the school day, usually during the lunch and afternoon breaks. Some schools have been requested to provide facilities like a prayer room and a wash area to perform wudu. This could be very difficult for schools to do.RamadanWhen Muslims children fast, it can be very hard for them, especially if they are in a state school in Britain where the majority of the pupils are non-Muslims. A particular TV series on Channel 4 near the beginning of 2000 featured a Muslim boy who goes to a state school in Britain, trying to keep his fast during Ramadan. He had to force himself not to be tempted to break his fast during lunchtime as all his English friends are having lunch. He even tried to ignore the smell of food coming from the canteen!Mix SchoolsIn Islam, it is taught that boys and girls should not mingle; it is done mostly to protect the girls especially. This would also mean that it is inconvenient for both sexes to have P.E lessons or swimming lessons together.British boys and girls would get into relationships in their teenage years, and they most certainly have friends of the opposite sex. So it is difficult for Muslims when they see people of their own age having boyfriends / girlfriends, since free mingling between the sexes is not approved in Islam.The following extract, taken from an Islamic teenage magazine called Reflect shows just some of the problems that Muslims face :R.E lessons and other subjectsIn state schools in Britain, there is usually a multi-cultural education, learning about many other religions such as Judaism, Christianity etc. Muslims might be offended by this.Science subjects taught in school can conflict with Islam too e.g. in Biology, people learn about evolution. Muslims might have a different view of this subject.Sex EducationSex education taught in school could be a problem since some Muslims are not prepared to talk or listen openly about it.In 1999, there has been a huge conflict between the Muslims and schools as the government might scrape Section 28. Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act bans local authorities from promoting homosexuality and says schools may not teach homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. Muslims may send their children to private schools or purely Islamic schools or they may teach the children at home. Muslims are taking this issue very seriously because they don’t want their children exposed to homosexual propaganda. It has to be noted that other non-Muslim parents are also concerned about section 28 being repealed.See page for the newspaper cutting on it.I think this just shows one of the many difficulties that Muslim children and their parents face.Not only in education and schools are Muslim teenagers affected, they also experience problems when it comes to their social life. Many British teenagers drink alcohol and smoke, this is prohibited in Islam. Many British teenagers also have boyfriends and girlfriends. The following quote is taken from Kaman who was interviewed in the Daily Mail, 1989 which clearly states how Muslims teenagers feel :’ They always want you to go to the pub or the nightclub, or they are going out with their girlfriends. They’ll invite you with them, but that only makes you feel a bit low because you know you can’t mix with that , since you don’t have a girlfriend yourself. So I always make some excuse or other.’As said in the article, this particular boy was ashamed to admit that he had kissed a girl before!! Many might find it very hard to resist pre-marital sex as some of their British friends might have sexual relationships with their girlfriends / boyfriends. Of course, some are very strong in their belief :’ You’ve got to take sex more seriously than that. In our religion, your virginity should stay until you’re married. Sex is for babies, isn’t it?’Islam states that one should marry; many of the marriages are arranged. Muslims in Britain might resent the idea of an arranged marriage because they see their British friends going out, and dating people of the opposite sex and so feel that they should have the freedom to go out and choose for themselves who they want to marry. One point is emphasised, and that is they are not forced into the marriage. If they do not like the partner in which their parents have chosen for them, they do not have to go through with the marriage. But the match their parents find for them are usually very good as they would do it on a broad basis considering family background, education, ambitions, likes and dislikes.There’s one very important issue that Muslims living in Britain feel : and that is a sense of belonging. They don’t know whether they belong to Britain or their ethnic background e.g. Bangladesh. The newspaper cutting on page also gives a personal insight into why Muslims in Britain feel the way they do. I think that one of the quote taken from the article best describes their situation :’We’re being torn apart’Many Muslims teenagers feel that their parents want them to be like their parents. But this is practically impossible :’They just don’t understand what we’re going through. They want us to become clones of them and we can’t, because we’ve not been brought up in the same environment.’Of course not everybody thinks this way. Some thinks that Muslim teenagers living in Britain do not have many problems in following them religion. They believe that all the problems can be solved. School canteens can provide halal meat, there can be separate lessons for boys and girls so that they don’t mix freely. In issues concerning, they believe that the Muslims, if they missed a prayer because they are in school, can make up for it in the next prayer time. Some also believe that Muslims shouldn’t have the special right to have their own schools. They believe that by doing this, the Muslim society in Britain and the British community would only segregate even more.Concerning marriage, many thinks that some of the children are forced into the marriage. This does happen in extreme cases as the article from The Times in March 2000 describes on page .The article describes how some children are forced into arranged marriages and it warns teachers to go to the police if they suspect that any of their pupils are forced into marriages by their parents.According to Muslim law, A Muslim man can have up to four wives. There is a test case in Britain where a Muslim man wants to have his three wives recognised as being legally married to him. ( The newspaper article is on page ) This is polygamy which is illegal in Britain. He has taken the case to the European Court of Human Rights but I think that the issue is much broad than just about marriage. It is whether minorities have the right to follow their own customs or should they conform to establish British tradition. This issue, about marriage, is important to other ethnic and religious communities. Children of such unions can find themselves deprived of inheritance or other legal rights.I did a questionnaire on Muslims and non Muslims in Britain to try and find out what kind of problems Muslims might face when living here.Here is a pie chart showing the religion in which my interviewees belong to :Basically 50% of my interviewees are Muslims, and 50% of them are non-Muslims.I did my questionnaire on about 20 non Muslims and 20 Muslims, hoping to compare their view. Out of the 40 people, 22 were male and 18 were female. Here is a pie chart showing the age of the interviewees.I mainly concentrated on people age 15-20 because I feel that those are the people who go to secondary school and face most of the problems I’ve mentioned so far in R3.None of the non Muslims I interviewed agreed with arranged marriage whereas the majority of the Muslims agreed with it! This shows thatIn conclusion, I think that Muslim teenagers do face many problems and difficulties. These problems can be solved, but this would take some time. The Government and people in Britain should recognise the problems they are facing and try to be more understanding towards them.

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