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Classroom PoliticsDemocracies are resilient and strong enough to allow radical groups to exist whether they are Fascists, like the British National Party (BNP) or extreme Islamic groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The strength of Democracy lies in tolerance and free speech and as long as organisations operate within the law they should be able to exist. Banning legitimate organisations is anti-democratic and would be a victory for these groups that want to see an end to our hard won freedoms.
However what I do object to is members of extreme organisations who hold non-political public offices in this country voicing their political opinions such as Farah Ahmed, head of the Shakhsiyah Foundation school in Slough. Teachers and especially head teachers should keep their political opinions to themselves and get on with the job of teaching.
If the head teacher at my children’s state school started writing fascist articles for the BNP, I would want the head teacher removed. There would be a huge stink in the press and head teacher would lose all support and backing of the teachers, governors and parents and eventually they would be forced to step down.
Not so with Farah Ahmed, she writes her poisonous, extremist, Islamic articles for Hizb-ut-Tahrir and no-one objects, she remains in her position, taking a head teacher’s salary paid out of my taxes. It is not acceptable; education of young children and a commitment to extreme political beliefs do not mix in any culture.
We should not be afraid to speak out against this. Ignore the politically correct Gestapo and the human rights vigilantes who immediately shout that this is an attack on Muslims and Islam. It is not. It is a defence of our schools where children must be able to learn without political indoctrination. This is an opportunity for moderate Muslims to show that they accept the cultural and democratic values of our society by insisting that Farah Ahmed stands down as head teacher. Such action would demonstrate to the rest of society that the extremists are in the minority as they certainly are.
Farah Ahmed attacks Britain the country that gives her a good livelihood and writes about the “corrupt Western concepts of materialism and freedom” and her desire for Britain to become an Islamic State. She should look to cure the ills of the Islamic states of Sudan, Saudi or Iran before she attempts to change the system in Britain. They are hardly models that any sane, free, human being would choose to copy. Or perhaps she might prefer to live in Afghanistan where she can enjoy freedoms under the Taliban; the freedom to have no job, no political views, no education in fact no rights whatsoever. (It is not much better under President Karzai.) Women only have rights in Muslim states if the men in their family allow it.
The 'materialistic West', which she criticises, allows people to be free as they are not spending their whole lives struggling to put bread on the table. Ask a mother whose son is dying from lack of basic medicine in an Islamic country whether she would prefer the materialism of the West. It is only people in comfortable jobs such as Farah Ahmed who can afford the luxury of ideals for the less well off. The spiritual and religious life does not put food on the table or provide hospitals and schools, no matter how hard you pray.
Islam was the dominant force in the world until the 16th century. The Renaissance in the Western world brought about the decline of the influence of the church. Europe became secular and was able to make the great scientific discoveries and propel itself into the modern age whereas Islam became so embedded in Muslim politics that it has held it back and continues to hold it back. There are no successfully industrialised Islamic states – if it wasn’t for oil they would all be basket cases.
People like Farah Ahmed want to drag society back to the Dark Ages by creating a Muslim state where religion and politics are intertwined, where hands are chopped off for stealing, women forced into marriages or stoned to death for adultery and the religious thought police are everywhere. Religious fanatics would run the country and everything would grind to a halt through fear and oppression, just like Iran.
All right thinking people, from whatever race, colour, or creed must stand up to these extremists and not be bullied into keeping quiet. We must not allow the fanatics and extremists of any flavour to hold public offices. We the moderate and tolerant majority must ensure they are expelled, we must fight for our society and our democracy otherwise God help us all.