Muslim Schools In Ireland

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cinema of migration festival

Flag this messageMoving Worlds: Cinemas of MigrationTuesday, 7 December, 2010 10:26From: This sender is DomainKeys verified"Aileen Blaney" Add sender to ContactsTo: scroo7@gmail.comHi, I thought this might interest you and your members. The film described below is one of a number of films programmed in our festival that represent aspects of Muslim identity.

Kind regards,
Aileen Blaney

Friday, June 25, 2010

Silverdocs: A Conversation with HolyWars Filmmaker Stephen Marshall

Stephen Marshall is a Canadian filmmaker, author, and entrepreneur. His new documentary HolyWars follows two men fiercely devoted to their respective faiths. Aaron is an American missionary who travels to the world’s most dangerous places in his quest to save souls. Khalid is a devout Muslim convert of Irish origin who sympathizes with the Taliban and dreams of martyrdom. In a fascinating social experiment, Marshall brings these two men together for a religious debate. HolyWars will be showing at the Silverdocs Festival in Silver Spring this Friday. The screening takes place at 2:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.
Washington City Paper: What inspired you to make HolyWars?
Stephen Marshall: We started working on it in 2006. At that time, it was George Bush’s era, and there was fundamentalism in the air and this hunger for the end of the world. We wondered, if enough people believe in this, can they make it come true? When I started working on HolyWars, I had characters in five continents. I shot Jihadists in Indonesia, in Lebanon, in Iran. I had a bunch of people ranting at the camera but nothing really powerful. So I started to look at two characters, Aaron and Khalid, and thought about getting them together. Aaron didn’t want to meet at first but they eventually did, and the rest was history.
WCP: What was it about Aaron and Khalid that grabbed you?
SM: Aaron was the only missionary in the United States who agreed to go on camera. A core part of my pitch was that I was going to have this danger-seeking missionary. We talked to every single missionary organization in the country, but no one would go except Aaron. And Aaron wasn’t the strongest character. He wasn’t much of a free thinker and he was kind of under the tutelage of his parents. But there were these things he did, like when he went to Pakistan to convert people. The visuals were so cinematic. So I stuck with him. And Khalid to me was this amazing enigma and paradox. He was this white Irish guy who was a Muslim and he was one of the most articulate spokesmen for his cause. And he loved the camera.
That said, they both presented a lot of complications. Khalid didn’t trust me. Aaron liked me but couldn’t really communicate his points in the way I wanted him to. Once they agreed to meet, I kind of got locked in.
WCP: I noticed that two men had very different conversational styles. You show Aaron at home with his family, where everyone waits their turn to speak. Then you compare that to the dinner with Khalid and his friends, where everyone talked on top of each other. Do you think these different ways of communicating affected the men’s ability to converse?
SM: Aaron was just destroyed in the debate. There was a lack of politesse. There was a lack of formal process in the way that they talked and that’s very British. It’s almost a street fighting mentality. Khalid wouldn’t let Aaron finish his sentences. Aaron is too polite, so he got flustered and dissolved into a puddle. He was almost in tears.
But that was the beginning of Aaron’s rapprochement. While talking to Khalid, he begin to realize, “Oh my God, this guy’s upset.” His natural instinct was to come closer, whereas Khalid’s was to push away.
All Aaron had ever done is go to other countries and say “I’ll pray on you, I’ll bless you,” it’s a monologue. Once he gets in a dialogue, his neurons start firing. He starts talking differently. He wears his hair differently. Suddenly he’s almost like this great character. He owes so much to Khalid.
WCP: You only showed a portion of the debate. It must have been a challenge communicating what went on between the men in an abbreviated fashion.
SM: It was definitely an experiment in breaking down the fourth wall, which I respect very highly. I never do voice over, actually, ever. This was the first time in this film. My editor really and truly pushed me to do VO because what was happening in the film screenings was that people thought this was a Christian film. They thought we were showing how Christianity had the power to reform itself and Islam didn’t. I was shocked. In the end I had to say, “Hey, you know without Khalid, Aaron would never have really changed.” It sounds silly, but I think it works.
WCP: I had actually been planning to ask you if you’d gotten flack from the Christian community for comparing a Christian missionary to a Taliban sympathizer.
SM: No, they didn’t have a problem with that. They didn’t even see our point that they’re similar. A lot of people thought it was a Christian film because in the end, Aaron changed a lot and Khalid went off to join the Taliban. If I’d done a film about two football teams and one fails and the other wins, would you say that I was picking this team over that? When it comes to people and religion, suddenly, it becomes ‘where is the filmmaker on this instead?’ when it should be looked at as an anthropological study.
WCP: Did you see a similarity in Aaron’s idea that America is God’s country and Khalid’s belief in a future Muslim caliphate?
SM: Totally. You have these two competing visions of world orders based on religious values that were given by gods centuries ago, which are absolutely frightening.
Everybody has their own idea of a New World Order. Even liberals in their view of a great free market system, that’s a caliphate, too. If you talk to people in Pakistan or Lebanon, they’ll talk about the American fundamentalism around economics. We talk about it with the same prophetic zeal, and it’s almost like, if you don’t do this, you’re going to be poor. A lot of people who aren’t Christian, you ask them why people are poor and they’ll say because they aren’t democratic.
WCP: Do you think that in some ways, we can look at Aaron and Khalid and view their disagreements as a Microcosm of the larger arguments between the two faiths?
SM: Yes. The microcosm is this poison-pill idea that if you don’t believe in Jesus as your lord and savior, you will go to hell, or if you don’t believe in Muhammad, you will go to Hell. I’ve been to several church screenings and when I bring this up, they say “I may believe you’re going to Hell, but I still treat you with love.” OK, fine. But down the line, somewhere if the standing belief is that you are going to hell, it will lead to some kind of exclusion and discrimination. More importantly, when you live in a fundamentalist paradigm, where the word of the bible is God or the word of the Koran is God, you create this childlike playground where the rules are set by an external entity and they’re not adaptive. While the rest of the world is evolving, you’re remaining in self-sealing tomb.
WCP: Khalid obviously had problems before his conversion. What do you think it was about his time in Saudi prison that suddenly led him to discover his faith?
SM: I don’t think it started in Saudi Arabia. I think there were things happening in Ireland with the church. And he hates the Catholic Church. I don’t know if something happened to him. He became an alcoholic to the point where he was running a personal booze business in Saudi Arabia. Then in prison, someone was offering him salvation, and he just heard it coming through loud and clear.
I definitely feel that Khalid had this nihilism about him. Even though Khalid’s not really a threat, he’d like to think of himself as one. All his talk is focused on this battle that would only lead to his own destruction.
WCP: Do you think that he’s capable of finding happiness, whether through learning to compromise or in finding some way to practice his vision of Islam on Earth, or to you think he’s kind of this tragic figure?
SM: You know, it’s interesting. He was kicked out of Pakistan and forced into Romania. They took his wife out with all their kids and strip-searched them. His family was detained at Heathrow by MI5. His wife left him and he was forced to go back to Ireland. He’s basically there now by himself. And yet his tone is incredibly happy. I know that the secret service is talking to him every week so I’m not worried that he’s thinking there’s only one thing left to do. But also, I think that Khalid loves life too much. He’s not the suicidal prototype. I think he can find happiness. I think that Khalid wants to be happy.
WCP: Aaron is a changed man at the end of the film, but he doesn’t seem to come full circle either.
SM: Yeah, he’s not fully coming around. You can say, where’s the value on that, but if 50% of fundamentalist Christians in the US moved over to where he is now, this would be a different country. Aaron once would only vote for a Republican, would be a Sarah Palin supporter without even thinking about it. He’s totally not there anymore. He’s listening to people. Yes, he does believe that Jesus walked the Earth, and he’s not going back on that. But as far as I’m concerned, if Jesus is your role model, I’m down.
WCP: It was incredible to hear that his major epiphany was the realization that developing countries aren’t poor simply because they don’t share his faith
SM: Right. His causal reality changes from one of making the wrong choice of prophets to economic realities that are the end game of colonialism.
WCP: Did you feel that there was anything cynical or opportunistic on his end when he started giving speeches about his debate with Khalid or when he wrote a book about their encounter?
SM: One of the reasons Aaron was willing to do the film was because he’s dreamed of having this great ministry. None of his actual practices or his words were false. He’s as authentic as it gets. So it wasn’t cynical, but it was probably opportunistic at times. But as for the book, his life was changed. He had an authentic come to Jesus moment.
WCP: From what you could tell, were the people in his church who listened to his speeches receptive to his message?
SM: The young people were, but the parents, they’re just not. They literally hear Aaron saying that he wants to bring Muslims over here, which terrifies them. Like Aaron’s dad, he’s a really nice guy. I hang out with him and just don’t talk about religion or politics. He’s one of the guys who lost his job in the crunch. I think he’s a great guy, but he’s a fundamentalist.
One of the reasons when I watch the film right now and see relevance is that, I think we have moved back into a pre-apocalyptic mind frame and that is when these characters start to emerge again. And I think that what we will see if we are not careful , and this is not just in religion, are people who will rise up and start to say that we need to make sure that our world view is the world view because if we don’t then we’ll have to share it.
WCP: In your opinion, are we seeing this kind of thinking in the Tea Party movement and the Birther movement and these other kinds of fringe groups that have formed since Obama was elected?
SM: I mean, the passport controversy–it goes to scarcity. Scarcity applies to resources, it applies to everything. All of a sudden, there’s not enough, so everything’s a fight. And the Birthers and the Tea Party–they’re like Aaron’s father, emerging from the end of the industrial sector. They don’t have anything to do. They barely have enough money in the bank to survive on their retirement plans, and they’re asking why Obama is building new schools. Even though their children will benefit from those schools. It’s this jealousy of resources. The writer Chris Hedges said, you know, this may go away for a couple years, but go to the red states and really hang out and they are like ready for the apocalypse. And when a black man became president! They don’t want to say it, they feel bad saying it ,but they just can’t believe it.
WCP: What do you think are some of the steps that we need to take to foster dialogue?
SM: So the Khalids and the Aarons of the world, at these film festivals they seem like they’re miles away, but I spent a lot of time down there and realized that you can talk to these people. They know when you’re being honest. Aaron’s dad loves the film. He knows he came off terribly, but he thought it was fair. We’ve had conversations about religion and I’ve had conversations with major pastors about religion, and they’re open. When you say that the principle that anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to Hell – that principle creates problems in our world, they stop and say its true. So I say, OK, it’s true for you but there are three billion people in our world or more who don’t believe it’s true. Can we talk about that? So there is room for dialogue, but I think that those of us in the secular world don’t want to engage. I just hope that if one message comes through it’s that you can’t abandon the age-old pursuit of diplomacy. We can’t afford to stand on the sidelines because they can take control of the narrative.
WCP: You mentioned the secular world. What do you think the news and film world should do to get a dialogue started?
SM: What I tried to do in my film was to make a charismatic, entertaining model for this conversation. It went beyond the conversation and there’s much more to it than that, but that’s the first step.
WCP: Do you think that entertainment is a crucial component in getting people excited about this topic?
SM: It’s primary. That’s where people go increasingly–entertainment. It’ the thing that keeps your attention focused and it has to be used to address one of the longest standing feuds on planet earth.
My film Battle Ground was the first time that I realized how conflict can draw a point and how much more entertaining it is. There’s this conflict in Battle Ground, where there’s this young Iraqi translator, is really critical of American foreign policy. And there’s this other guy who’s like, “They’re coming here to save us.’ And it was amazing. So this film, I wanted to have it all be about conflict. And as much as I don’t like conflict in my life, Reality TV has created this situation where arcs are built around conflict between characters. But where reality TV reduces people to their basest level, I wanted this arc to reveal their complexities. And if I can do that in my work, that is the most gratifying thing. If I was to do another film like this, it would have to take this idea further. It would have to be based around individuals whose lives intersect in some way and in a way that has an explosive quality to it and which I can film. And if I can make that happen in a way that’s more powerful than this–I don’t think I want to make another film until I can do that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Land in Tallagh has been bought by the North Dublin School.

The Land in Tallagh has been bought by the North Dublin School. According to the board of management plan is to start building a new Muslim School for their community.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We would like to draw our readers’ attention

We would like to draw our readers’ attention to a post on the Islamic Foundation of Ireland’s notice board; it refers to the setting up of a Muslim Primary Education Board and invites qualified individuals in the area of education to join the board and help with their knowledge and expertise.
The patronage of the recognized MNS in Ireland is in the process of setting up the above mentioned as an act on its behalf as a management body for the existing the MNS and to represent these schools in any discussion/correspondence with the Dept. of Education of Science.
We are looking for qualified experienced people in the area of education to join the board and help with their knowledge and expertise.
Please note that this body will only be concerned with the MNS established under the Dept of Education and Science. Please also note that work and contribution of the board members will be on a voluntary basis.
If willing and interested to help, please contact or write to Imam Yahya Al-Hussein at the offices of the IFI.Date (of notice): 20/12/2009
We welcome the move as it implicitly recognizes the abject failures that have brought the Muslim community into disrepute and which have robbed our children of an acceptable standard of education.
In the interests of transparency and accountability however, wouldn’t it be more prudent to have a public meeting where the community could choose potential board members? Given the myriad of accusations of cronyism and nepotism being leveled at the IFI wouldn’t a public meeting offset any such claims?
Additionally, is Mr Al Hussain himself qualified to choose the best people for the job, what criteria would he use and would this be made public? Given that Mr Al Hussain oversaw the systematic failure of the North Dublin Muslim School, we must ask if this individual is the right person to oversee such an important and necessary body.
The Prophet Muhammad said: “lâ yuldighu-l mu’minû min juhrin marratayn,” meaning, “The believer is not stung from (the same) hole twice”.
Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî, who is the leading authority on the interpretation of Bukhârî’s Sahîh, says the following: “This is presented in the form of a statement. Al-Khatâbî has said: This is a statement in its wording, but a command in its meaning. It means that the believer is resolutely aware, he/she is not taken to apathy (in learning his/her lesson), nor is he/she deceived time and time again. Thus, this is an order in religious matters as well as worldly matters..”
Then he gives this Hadîth two possible interpretations, one stronger than the other. Regarding the strong interpretation he renders the opinion of Abu `Ubayd: “This is a warning against apathy, and an indication that intelligence must be implemented. Abû `Ubayd has said: It is not possible for the (true) believer to be afflicted from something only for him/her to return to it.”
The great scholar and theologian of the 13th century, Yahya bin Sharaf an-Nawawî relates the context of the Hadîth saying: “..and the context of this narration is well known that the Prophet had captured the poet Abu Ghurrah at the Day of (the Battle of) Badr. So the Prophet gave him amnesty and freed him based on the condition that he would not continue on his hostility and derision. He then caught up with his people and returned to belligerence towards the Muslims and derision against them. Then he was captured on the Day of (the Battle of) Uhud and was asked about the amnesty that was given to him. Upon this the Prophet [2] said, ‘The believer is not stung from the same hole twice.’ From this it is understood that if one were to suffer injury from a particular element, then they should abstain from it lest they should suffer such again.” --

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A.I.M. said...

1. Regarding the 'survery' (sic) might we know which independent body administered it? What the research questions entailed? How the data was analysed and who the subjects (age group, gender, etc) were? I take serious issue with the assertion that English is not the main language of 73% of the students and I want Mr McGlade to provide the evidence. In fact, I'll volunteer my services free of charge, as part of my MSc in TESOL dissertation to determine the validity of his claim. 2. Of the alleged 73% might we know the percentage who did well, or not? Is it a case that the responsibility for those who didn't do well lays with 'many factors', while those who did do well, again no mention of numbers just an amorphous 'many', demonstrate how well the school is doing? That simply comes across as special pleading. 3. The whole premise of Mc Glade's 'correction' is that the children who did not do well do not have English as a first language. Again talk of a 'survery'(sic) means nothing in the absence of tangible evidence to back up the claim. This requires an independent unbiased source. 4. While McGlade didn't use the word many, the absence of it and the general statement issued in the MetroEireann that those opposed to him are 'hardliners' with 'extreme interpretation' is nothing short of scaremongering and diversionary. If Muslim parents don't want a non-Muslim principal then that is their prerogative and is supported by the state in terms of maintaining a school ethos. Quite frankly how an individual who so readily dishes out extreme labels could be seen to uphold any such ethos is questionable. There are Muslim professionals in Ireland, far more qualified and experienced in the educational arena than Mr McGlade who could take up his position.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One of the parents is happy with the teachers in Islamia School

One of the parents is happy with the teachers in Muslim National School.

احد الاباء يرى ان المدرسين في مدرسة كلونسكي كفؤ وان الدولة وضعتهم وهو يثق بهم الا ان الاباء والامهات لا يؤدون واجباتهم نحو تعليم اولادهم في البيت

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Correction by Mr. Mc Glade

Thank you for your e-mail. I would like to highlight a few inaccuracies in your statement and to clarify a few points. I never said "many of the children in our school done bad". I pointed out that in the case of children who may not have done too well in the tests, there were many factors which might have contributed to this. The fact that English is not the main language for 73% of the pupils (recent survery) is a major factor. However, it must be pointed out that many children also did well. Your report did not highlight this and gives the false impression that all the children did poorly. This is not the case. I did not say that the children "need not be expected to pass these levels, there should be a lower level of these tests". What I said was that there should be more suitable tests for children whose first language is not English. The level should be the same, as we expect the same high standard for children in this school as in any other school. However, in the case of the Sigma T maths test, there should not be so much English comprehension involved as a false impression can be given where a child may in fact be much better at maths than the test shows because he has so much English to comprehend and English is not his first language. If the test was designed in such a way that there was not so much English to work out, the child would score much higher. But the standard in maths should be as high as is in the Sigma T tests at the moment. I did not say that parents are not supporting the children at home with regard to homework etc. I said that there may be many other factors which affects a child's progress in school. Some parents could be more supportive, not all parents. In the case of some parents, making sure homework is done may be a factor, also taking children out of school during term time for holidays. These are factors involve some parents, not all parents. Many parents are very supportive. Regarding the fact that I am a non-Muslim, I did not say that many parents think that I should not be a headmaster of the Muslim National School - I said that some parents believe this, but they are, I believe, a small minority. Regarding the proposed expansion of the school, I said that the Dept. of Education has given us the go ahead only in principle. I did not say that they will be building the new extension on new land beside us. If the Al-Maktoum Foundation were to purchase the land beside the school, we would then approach the Dept. with a request to build an extension school building on this land. However, the school has not yet been given the go ahead to appoint a design team, which is the next step, and it may be years before the Dept. gives this go ahead due to the downturn in the economy. So if there is to be an expansion, we may have to depend entirely on the Al-Maktoum Foundation, and they are not showing any interest at the moment. I hope the above gives more clarity to what we discussed and I request that you bring these points to the readers of your site. Regards, Colm Mc Glade

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Meeting with Mr Mc Glade Head of the Muslim National School المدير مقليد مدير المدرسة الاسلامية كلونسكي يتحدث

Mr. Mc Glade

Head of the Muslim National School for 20 years

I had a good meeting with Mr. Mc Glade , and he spoke of the following points in response to my visit to the Muslim National School at Clonskeagh:

With regard to the level tests viz, Sigma T and Micra T standard levels, many of the children in our school done bad because of :

  • The children came from an ethnic back ground and need not to be expected to pass these levels. There should be a lower level of these Sigma T and Micra T standard levels which will suit children coming from a non English speaking back grounds.

  • Parents not supporting child at home: the parents are not making sure the children were doing their home work at home and practicing their English and Maths. Most of the parents would sign the H/W Diary without checking the homework.

  • Long holidays: Usually children are pulled out off the school, and taken to do other examinations eg Libyan, Quranic or go to their country for long holiday, and this usually happens around May/ June or just before that, where most schools are doing their English and Mathe's exams.

  • A child has been taken to a 7 am school then comes to the Muslim National school around 9 am, then he would attend the Quranic School in the evening, this child is not going to be able to do well, because of too much work and no time to digest the material given and to relax.

  • I am a non Muslim, many parents think that I should not be a headmaster of the Muslim National School.

  • Quran is open to different interpretations when someone says something is Haram many others can oppose it, and no one opinion is taken, and it is difficult to follow one rule eg with regard to Music instruments for instance according to the Irish syllabus. Althougth we try to follow the main stream Islam and not the extreme Muslims.

  • Some children disrespectful of the school because of their parents were telling them bad things about the school.

  • Our future plan is to expand the school, and the Department of Education has already given us the go ahead. the Surveyor have been in, and the department of Education will be building the new extension on a new land beside us. we have already been approaching the Macktoom foundation to help us buying the house beside us to convert it into Class rooms, but have not agreed because of the owners of the house asking for too much money, we are still trying.

  • Very disappointed to hear some of the Muslims went on air to speak against their own Muslim National School, and to discuss such a matter in the radio and Newspapers, and not discuss it in parents meetings in the school. We sent the Whole School Evaluation Report to Rte Radio and the Newspapers to let them know that the school has been inspected by the Department of Education.

لقد تحدث لي المدير مقليد عن مشاكل تواجه المدرسة وان الاباء والامهات قلقين عن نتائج ابنائهم وقال: بالنسبة لاختبارات السنة تعتبر محصلة النجاح ضعيفة جد,ا وهناك اسباب لهذا المستوى المتدني, فقد تحدثت الى الوزير وافهمت المسؤولين بانه لا يتوقع من تلميذ ابوه وامه يتحدثان لغة اخرى غير الانجليزية, ثم هو او هي تاتي بنتيجة مثل الايرلندي الذي يتحدث الانجليزية بطلاقة وامه وابوه يحدثانه بها.

الوالدان لا يعرفان اللغة الانجليزية فليس لهما القدرة على تعليم اولادهما بالانجليزية. فهما لا يتابعان اولادهما في الواجبات البيتية, وقد يوقعون المفكرة اليومية للتلاميذ بدون ان يحلوا الواجب البيتي كما يجب, وبهذا يكون التلميذ مستواه متدني. وكثير ما يتفرج الاولاد في البيت على الجزيرة للاطفال, وبهذا ليس لهم محاورة بالانجليزي الا في المدرسة اليوم الثاني.
كثير من الاطفال ياخذهم والديهم للدراسة البيتية للدراسة للامتحانات الليبية او القرانية او يذهبون الى بلادهم في عطلة طويلة قبل ان يمتحن الطالب في نهاية السنة. وكثير ما يحدث هذا في مايو او يونيو في حين ان الاطفال يجب ان يدرسوا للامتحانات الدراسة الايرلندية.

عمل التلميذ اليومي هو ان والديه يضعانه في مدرسة قرانية الساعة 7 صباحا ثم ياتي الى المدرسة الاسلامية التاسعة ثم يذهب الى مدرسة قرانية بعد الدوام فليس للتلميذ متنفس من الوقت ليهضم ما تعلمه في المدرسة وليس له وقت للعلب.
انا لست مسلما وكثيرا من والدين التلاميذ يرون اني لا يجب ان اكون مديرا للمدرسة
القران مفتوح لكثير من الاراء والاجتهادات, ولهذا ليس هناك راي واحد يمكن اتباعه ففي موضوع الموسيقى هو منهج مقرر من قبل الوزارة ولكننا لا نعمل الا بعض الاناشيد الاسلامية والضرب على الدفوف. وبعض المتشددين يرون ان الطبول محرمة.ولكننا نتبع الاسلام الوسطي ولا نابه بالمتشددين.
بعض التلاميذ لا يحترمون المدرسة وذلك لان والديهم قد تحدثوا عن المدرسة بحديث سئ .
مخططنا المستقبلي هو ان نوسع المدرسة وقد وافقت وزارة التعليم وبعثت لجنة مساحين لاجل هذا والان نحن بصدد الموافقة على بداية البناء في الارض المجاورة . وقد اتصلنا بمؤسسة ام مكتوم الخيرية لشراء البيت المجاور لنا ولكن
قالوا بانهم طلبوا اموالا كثيرة ولا زلنا بصدد التفاوض معهم. نرجو ان يبدأ ببناء فصول جديدة قريبا.

لقد ساءنا ما سمعنا ان بعض الاباء ذهبوا الى الراديو وطعنوا في المدرسة الاسلامية في حين ان هذا مشين لكل المسملين حيث انهم فضحوا بانفسهم ولم يناقشوا الامر في المدرسة مع مجلس الاباء مثلا.

كتب التقرير بشير

Friday, October 30, 2009

Whole School Evaluation Report تقرير وزارة التعليم الايرلندية لتقييم مدرسة كلونسكي

This report was done by the Department of Education four years ago for the evaluation of the Muslim National School.
In which the school was passed and given the go ahead.

Friday, July 24, 2009

IftikharA said...

The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos.Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith.Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parens that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response.State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not multiculturalism. In Sydney, Muslims were refused to build a Muslim school, because of a protest by the residents. Yet a year later, permission was given for the building of a Catholic school and no protests from the residents. This clrearly shows the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and racism. Christians oppose Muslim schools in western countries yet build their own religious schools.British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "***" by Prince Harry has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His protrait is still in one of the royal places.There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
Iftikhar AhmadLondon School of Islamics Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Tele 0208 555 2733/07817 112 667

Thursday, July 16, 2009

North Dublin Muslim National School Current Board of Management

Pre-Enrolment Form
The North Dublin Muslim School was opened in September 2001 with 3 classrooms and 3 teachers. The School is the second state-funded Muslim school in Dublin and Ireland. It has started as a response to the growing need of the Muslim community in Ireland. The large numbers on the admission waiting lists of the Muslim National School in Clonskeagh have confirmed a need for additional Muslim national schools in the greater Dublin area, especially in the north Dublin area.
The School is accommodated in temporary premises within the campus of the St Joseph’s school for the Deaf Boys, Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin-7.
Teachers’ salaries, rent of the premises and the costs of transportation are borne by the Department of Education. There are 130 Pupils in the School at present who are being taught by 11 class-teachers. The Qur'an, Deen and Arabic wre taught by two part-time Muslim teachers.
The school receives capitation and other grants from the Department of Education on the same basis as other national schools. The Department of Education is seeking a permanent/semi permanent accommodation for the School.
There are five buses to transport the children to the School; two from Lucan, one from Blanchardstown and one from
during the year this was the first time the I.F.I. organised such an activity.. om Jeddah to Medina. Tallaght.
Enrolment Policy:
A student secures a place in the school solely on a first come first served basis. The school maintain two lists each year; one for Junior Infants and one for non-Junior Infants. The parent or guardian must sign the pre-enrolment form. No pre-Enrolments are taken over the phone.
School Hours:
The school hours are as follows:
Junior & Senior Infants 9:00am. to 1:40 pm.
1st Class to 6th Class 9:00am. to 2:40pm.

School Curriculum:
Like its sister, the Muslim National School, the school follows the rules for National Schools Curriculum. In addition to the national curriculum for primary schools, the school provides a religious education programme. This programme covers a range of religious, social and moral issues from an Islamic perspective.
The Administration of the School:
Patron: Imam Yahya Al-Hussein
Acting Principal: Ms. Norma Murphy.
Board of Management:
The Current Board of Management is composed of the following:
1) Dr. Faheem Bukhatwa Chairperson and Patron’s Nominee.
2) Ms. Norma Murphy Acting Principal.
3) Mr. Adel Mahrouk Patron’s Nominee.
4) Ms. Aoife Caulfield Teachers’ Representative.
5) Mr. Adel Zeghni Parents’ Representative.
6) Ms. Hidayat Idrees Representative.
7) Mr. Syed Muhammad Abid Co-opted Member.
8) Mr. Sajid Khan Co-opted Member.

The term of office of the Board of Management is for four years (from Dec. 2008 to Dec. 2012.)
School Holidays:
Eight days are taken at the end of Ramadan and continues through Eid-ul-Fitr. Five days holiday are taken for Eid-al-Adha. Both of these occasions are Islamic festivals, which are celebrated yearly in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar. The school closes for national and bank holidays
Parent/Teacher Communication:
The healthiest environment for a child is one of open and easy communication between parents and teachers. Parents/Guardians are encouraged and welcome to discuss matters relating to their child/ren with the relevant class teacher. Parents should agree a convenient time with the teacher if the need arises.
Contact Details:
Ms. Norma Murphy, Acting School Principal.
North Dublin Muslim National School Project,
C/O St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf Boys,
Navan Road,
Cabra, Dublin 7.
Tel. 01-8689587.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Department delivers scathing report on Dublin Muslim school

A REPORT by Department of Education inspectors on the North Dublin Muslim National School in Cabra delivers a scathing assessment.
In the most significant finding, the report says accounts of the school’s finances since its inception are not available. It is not possible, it says, to ascertain how money from the department has been spent.
Established in 2001, the school is a 12-teacher co-educational, national school under the patronage of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland.
The inspectors report a significant decrease in enrolment since 2006 when the school first attracted negative coverage in the media. At that time, it was reported that then taoiseach Bertie Ahern had expressed concerns about management of the school, which is in his constituency.
The school has never had a permanent principal and there has been a continual turnover of staff. The whole mainstream teaching staff resigned in June 2008. The board has had to make 12 appointments since then.
No member of the teaching staff has completed their probationary period; only four of the teachers are fully qualified within the Irish system.
The Muslim school is situated in rented accommodation on the grounds of St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys. All of the pupils are of the Muslim faith. For the vast majority, English is not their first language and for some, it is a second or third language.
The inspectors report how extra personnel are employed by the board to teach religion with 45 minutes daily dedicated to teaching the Koran and Arabic with senior classes also attending prayers for 20 minutes. The inspectors say this impinges on curriculum delivery time.
In a finding which symbolises the poor procedures at the school, the inspectors could not clarify the precise number of students. The principal reported that 107 pupils were enrolled last September but the inspectors point to inconsistencies and anomalies in various roll books.
In its response, the school board of management says it is still seeking financial records from the previous board. Overall, it says it welcomes the inspectors’s findings and says it will “proceed in building an outstanding school in terms of academic work and in terms of promoting an Islamic ethos”.
Damning findings: main points
تدني المستوى العام للتدريس والتعليم
A poor overall standard of teaching and learning;
ليس هناك اسلوب تعليمي واضح يركز على تحصيل وتطور ونجاح التلميذ
No evidence of an ethos that focuses on pupil achievement, development and success;
Poor staff morale; وان الجو العام للموظفين ليس مشجع
Clear breaches of the Rules for National School; عدم اتباع للقوانين للمدارس القومية
No evidence of the monitoring of pupil absences. An examination of the roll books shows that significant numbers of pupils are absent for a considerable portion of the school year; ليس هناك سجل عياب واضح, وانه هناك كثير من التلاميذ غائبين على مدى فتراة طويلة في السنة الدراسية.
The school is in breach of department guidelines with regard to the length of the school day; والمدرسة قد تعدت القانون في طول اليوم الدراسي
The board of management will not allow the school to implement the music curriculum; امناء المدرسة منعوا منهج التعليمي الموسيقي من التدريس.
Several policies that relate to the care, welfare and protection of children and that are required by legislation, have not been formulated; عدم تطبيق عدة سياسات تخص العناية والرعاية, وحماية الاطفال وهي مطلوبة تشريعيا
Significant weaknesses in the leadership of the school, reflected in a number of areas including school and classroom planning, curriculum implementation and teaching and learning. ضعف القيادة للمدرسة واضحة في الفصول الدراسية ووتطبيق المنهج والتدريس والتعليم.

Irish Times
SEÁN FLYNN, Education Editor

O'Keeffe criticised on Dublin school

The Irish National Teachers Organisation has strongly criticised the Department of Education over conditions at a Dublin primary school for Muslim pupils.
A Department inspection report has found that the quality of teaching English and Irish at the North Dublin Muslim School in Cabra was “poor” or “very poor” and that morale among teachers was “very poor”.
Among its other findings, the report ruled that sanitary facilities were “inadequate” in the building, which formerly housed the School for the Deaf, and that child protection policies were not properly implemented.
The school caters for about 100 pupils.
A spokesman for Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said this morning he was “very concerned about the serious weaknesses” described in the report, which is to be published tomorrow. He said the Minister was seriously concerned at the “unacceptable” management and teaching standards at the school and “inadequate” child protection measures.
The spokesman said officials from the Department have held two meetings with the patron of the school and the chairperson of the board to emphasise the need for swift action on their part to ensure improvement in the operation of the school. “The Minister is heartened to hear that at these meetings the patron and chairperson accepted the findings and recommendations in the report and their confirmation that the current board of management is fully committed to improving the school,” the spokesman said. He said school representatives have taken “a number of positive immediate steps” to address the shortcomings in the school”. These include putting an effective child protection policy in plan, regularising the school day and making provision for some subjects such as music that were not being taught at the time of the inspection. The school has also advertised for a permanent principal. The spokesman said Department officials will be regularly monitoring the situation at the school.
This morning, the INTO general secretary John Carr claimed the Department had failed to provide the school’s management with the necessary support and has made “no significant intervention” despite being aware of problems at the school.
He said the union wrote to the Department in 2004 complaining of irregularities in the employment of teachers and raised these concerns again the following year. The union also informed the authorities that the then Board of Management was in breach of employment and equality legislation.
However, Mr Carr said, the Department failed to act on these warnings.
“The Minister should be held to account because the Department knew for at least five years about problems in the school yet nothing was done,” Mr Carr claimed.

Irish Times

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Islamic Foundation of Ireland

Statement in response to Joe Duffy’s Liveline show on the subject of Muslim schools
We would like to express our deep concern about the RTE Radio 1, being a respectable
national radio station giving free air time to two persons spreading false accusations
against two respectable Muslim institutions namely the Islamic Foundation of Ireland
and the Muslim National School in Clonskeagh, Dublin 14.
We were surprised that someone like Mr. Kamel Ghanem who has no qualification
whatsoever in evaluating scholastic standards can be allowed to give judgement on
standards of education in the Muslim National School in Clonskeagh in contradiction to
the views of professional school evaluators of the Department of Education. A whole
school evaluation was carried on the School two years ago and was very positive.
Mr. Ghanem also made very serious allegations about financial records insinuating
irregularities about the School finances. The School accounts are audited by chartered
accountants and made available to the Department of Education and Science and any
concerned person who has an interest in them.
Mr. Ghanem stated that secondary school teachers have expressed the views that the
standard of education of students coming from the Muslim National School in
Clonskeagh is low. It is inconceivable that secondary school teachers would openly
make such a prejudicial statement. Unfortunately such irresponsible allegations can
have their repercussions on our past, present and future Muslim students and our
teachers in the School.
The issue of the Mosque finances not being disclosed for public scrutiny was brought up
during the show by Mr. Liam (Mujahid) Egan. The Islamic Foundation of Ireland is a
registered 'Friendly Society' and is a recognised charity. The accounts of the Islamic
Foundation of Ireland for the year 2008 have already been submitted to the Registry of
Friendly Societies. They were posted on the notice board in the Mosque a week before
the Society's last annual general meeting, presented during the meeting and are always
made available for inspection by the members of the Society as required.
There is no doubt that the vicious attack by Mr. Ghanem on the Islamic Foundation of
Ireland and the Muslim schools is prompted by personal dispute with the School Patron
and the Chairman of the Board of Management. Mr. Ghanem’s conduct is a subject of
Garda investigation following an assault which happened in the offices of the Islamic
Foundation of Ireland on South Circular Road. As for Mr. Egan his continued
unwarranted attack on the Imam is well documented.
Many members of the Muslim community are aware of the grudges which both men
hold who have been consistently causing difficulties.
In the circumstances, Mr. Ghanem and Mr. Egan’s allegations are frivolous, untrue,
founded in ulterior motives, and should be totally disregarded as the words of
disgruntled and disaffected persons. Accordingly their complaints should be treated
with the contempt they deserve.
Islamic Foundation of Ireland

The Islamic Foundation of Ireland
Statement Re. North Dublin Muslim National School
The North Dublin Muslim National School was opened in 2001. The School was
initially intended to be established under a different patronage body other than the
Islamic Foundation of Ireland. The Islamic Foundation of Ireland offered support and
assistance to the School. In December 2007 when no alternative patronage body was
established, and the situation in the School management became untenable, the Islamic
Foundation of Ireland decided to take an active role.
In December 2007 a new Board of management was formed and since then the Board
has been working to improve the conditions which it had inherited from the previous
Since the Whole School Evaluation Report was made by the inspectors of the
Department of Education and Science and a number of specific issues were brought to
the attention of the Board, discussions have been held between the School
representatives and officials of the Department of Education and Science. A number of
issues outlined in the report have been already addressed. These include:
 Child protection policy: Training has been provided to the staff on child
protection policy with the assistance of support services of the Department of
Education and Science. A policy has been developed and would be formally
ratified by the Board of Management at its next meeting.
 The Board of Management has made a decision to address the issue of time
allocated for curricular subjects to ensure that 5 hours and 10 minutes for
curricular subjects excluding religious education would be provided as required
by the regulations. The Board has also decided that qualified class teachers would
remain with their classes while religious instruction is being provided by religious
education teachers.
 The school has developed curricular plans for maths, music and Irish and these
have been approved by the Board of Management.
 The Board has made a decision that curricular plans for all other subjects would
be available by December 2009.
 On the issue of school accounts a summary accounts covering the period from
January 2008 to present day has been prepared and forwarded to the Department
of education and Science.
 The School Board has established that some of the unpaid bills to the Department
of Education and Science for light and heat had in fact applied to two schools, the
North Dublin Muslim School and another school on the same site. The Board
believe that it would be unfair of the Department to financially penalise the
current pupils in the school in respect of payments due in respect of previous
periods. The Board has discussed with the Department of Education the
repayment of money owed, and is willing to schedule payment.
 Certain measures have been taken to improve the current accommodation and at
the same time the Board is in discussion with the school parents over the
possibility of re-locating the School to another site.
 The School which has been under the patronage of the Islamic Foundation of
Ireland proper since its establishment in 1990 is the Muslim National School in
Clonskeagh. A recent evaluation report on the School was published. We refer
you to that report.
Islamic Foundation

Kamel Ghanam's is here: I was both disappointed and surprised that the IFI has apparently chosen this disparaging attitude in their latest attempts to offset the growing criticism being levelled against the Patron who is also their President, Trustee, Chairman, and Imam.While I admit to having no qualification in evaluating scholastic standards, and that would place me on a par with Patron and many who now make up the current board of management including the Chairperson of the Board of Management etc. I do however have the most important qualification – that of a concerned parent. As a parent I feel adequately qualified to evaluate the standard of education imparted to my children previously when compared with the school they are attending now. I don’t believe I made any insinuations regarding the finances bar the fact that as a parent I and others simply haven’t seen any financial reports despite requests. Contrary to the improbability postulated by the IFI/Patron regarding statements by secondary school teachers – the recent WSE reports demonstrate that such incidences are indeed possible. I do not as yet have the experience of my children progressing to the second level school but I have been reliably informed by other parents of past pupils that when their children went to the secondary schools they encountered problems there.I believe the Muslim community is acutely aware of the growing concerns, and not merely on account of two people as you allege. My only motive in this affair is the future of our children. It is regrettable that the IFI/Patron has not demonstrated similar convictions. I do not believe that my comments were frivolous, or untrue. The only objective was to highlight our desire to improve our children’s education and future as good Irish citizens. Patron I challenge you to a live television debate!______________________________________________________________________________________________

Muslim school is slated Patron claims report is 'too critical' and 'over the top'

A TEAM of experts will be sent in to monitor the overhaul of a primary school which has been strongly criticised in the most damning inspection report ever issued by the Department of Education.
The unprecedented move follows a litany of shocking revelations contained in an inspection report into the North Dublin Muslim School in Cabra, which is housed in the former School for the Deaf.
Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe last night said the standards of management, teaching and learning at the school were "unacceptable" and that child protection policies were "inadequate".
The findings -- the most critical of nearly 3,000 inspection reports issued by the department -- are set to cause alarm within Ireland's 32,000-strong Muslim community.
The report -- seen by the Irish Independent -- will be officially published tomorrow. It reveals:
Taxpayers' money given to the school in the form of grants since it opened in 2001 is unaccounted for;
The quality of teaching of English, Irish and maths is "poor" or "very poor", with teacher morale "very poor";
Sanitary facilities are "inadequate;
The school is in breach of several pieces of legislation;
The school refuses to implement the music curriculum.
Separate correspondence, also seen by the Irish Independent, reveals that the school failed to pay around €37,000 it owed to the department.
To recover some of the money, the department withheld payment of the capitation grant in June 2008 and threatened to do so again recently.
The patron of the school, Imam Yahya Al-Hussein, said the report was too critical and a bit "over the top".
He said the current board of management, appointed last November, inherited the problems and was trying to solve them. The former board chairperson Shahzad Ahmed was unavailable for comment last night.
The draft inspection report says that no financial accounts are available since the school opened and there is little physical evidence of where state grants have been spent.
The current acting principal (the fourth since it opened) has still not completed the probationary process. All the mainstream teaching staff resigned last June and the board made 12 new appointments. No member of the teaching staff had completed the probationary period at the time of the inspection on November 28 -- only four of them are fully qualified within the Irish system.
The report says that the school is unable to provide support for newly qualified teachers or those experiencing professional difficulties.
Several policies that relate to the care, welfare and protection of children have not been drawn up. The school is in breach of the Education Welfare Act (2000) and of the Rules for National Schools.
The report says there are no policies on attendance; child protection; social personal and health education and on the duties of special needs assistants. The Relationships and Sexuality Education programme has not been implemented. There are no plans for assessment; for English as an additional language; for visual arts, physical education; drama and music.
The North Dublin school is one of two schools catering for the Muslim community. Pupil numbers there have fallen significantly since 2006, the report says. However, the report found inconsistencies between class roll books, the attendance book and the register of pupils.
Since 2006 almost 3,000 inspection reports have been published by the department on its website. There are two kinds of reports: single subjects; and Whole School Evaluation (WSE) such as that prepared for the North Dublin Muslim National School.
The inspectors review the quality of school management, school planning and the quality of learning and teaching. There have been a few very critical reports, mainly at post-primary level, but none come anywhere near this one in terms of the directness of the language and the criticism.
It represents a significant step change in the approach taken by the department whose lawyers checked and double checked the report before agreeing to its publication.
- John Walshe Education Editor
Wednesday June 17 2009

Experts sent to monitor North Dublin Muslim School

Education officials have been sent to monitor improvements at the North Dublin Muslim School after it was recently condemned in the "most damning inspection report ever issued" by the department of education.According to the Irish Independent, teaching standards at the school were branded as unacceptable, while child protection procedures were deemed inadequate.Among other things, the report revealed that some of the money given to the school in recent years has not been accounted for.In addition, the school had previously refused to implement the Irish music curriculum.School patron Iman Yahya Al-Hussein has branded the report as "over the top" and said the current board of management had inherited many of the school's problems.According to, the school was opened in 2001 with three classrooms and three teachers and was the second state-funded Muslim school to be opened in the Irish capital.

SchoolDays Newshound

Why I'm so proud of our Muslim school Dublin principal highlights its academic and sporting successes

Wednesday June 24 2009
From the outside it looks like any other Irish national school. There are words in Irish posted on the classroom walls, paintings by children decorate the assembly hall and some of the school facilities are in prefabs.
But in other ways this is no ordinary national school. All the pupils, whether Irish-born or from abroad, are children of Islamic parents.
They learn Arabic as well as English and Irish.
They receive Islamic instruction, and the older pupils attend prayers every day in the neighbouring mosque.
A large number of the girls in the co-ed school wear headscarves.
On Monday, when I visited the
Muslim National School in Clonskeagh, Dublin, the entire school and many parents assembled for a sixth class graduation.
Their ceremony included Islamic songs and prayers, the Irish rugby anthem '
Ireland's Call' and a sketch about travelling on the 46A bus.
There was a cheerful, celebratory atmosphere as the children looked forward to the summer.
The Muslim National School in Clonskeagh has moved swiftly to defend its reputation after another
Islamic School on the northside of Dublin was severely criticised in a Government report.
North Dublin Muslim School in Cabra was slated last week by the Department of Education in an inspection report. The Cabra school was criticised on a raft of issues, including poor teaching standards, lax accounting procedures and inadequate child protection policies.
In the wake of the controversy over the Cabra school, there have also been criticisms of the Clonskeagh school from some quarters.
A former parent of pupils at the school appeared on
Joe Duffy's Liveline on RTE to complain about academic standards at the school, and certain other management practices.
But this week, the principal of the Clonskeagh school,
Colm McGlade, was keen to outline how his pupils are being well served with a high standard of teaching and good facilities.
He was anxious to open the doors of the school to show that it is functioning properly.
While the Cabra Muslim school has been damned by a whole school evaluation by the department, the Clonskeagh school received a much more positive evaluation by inspectors.
The 2006 evaluation highlighted perceived strengths in the school. These included:
"Professionalism of the principal, teacher and school staff in their work and their commitment to the ongoing development of the school.''
"Responsiveness and enthusiasm of the pupils."
"The very good work taking place in many areas of the curriculum ... and providing for pupils with a wide range of abilities and particular language needs.''
On the other hand, the 2006 report highlighted "serious difficulties in the functioning of the board of management'' and the need for extra language support.
Colm McGlade says these issues have been addressed since the inspection was carried out.
Although all the pupils come from Islamic backgrounds, the school is one of the most diverse in the country when it comes to nationality. There are pupils from 20 different countries in the school.
Colm McGlade says the language issue is a major challenge for the school.
"We have pupils coming to us who do not speak English at all. They could be involved with four languages. For example, a pupil from
Pakistan might have spoken Urdu in his country.
"At school he or she will be learning English, Irish and Arabic. We teach Arabic here, because it is the language of the Koran.
"We now have six language support teachers in the school.''
The school teaches the Irish primary school curriculum, but there are certain restrictions.
Music teaching is limited, because wind and stringed instruments are not allowed in the school in order to comply with Islamic teaching.
"To say that we do not do music is completely untrue,'' says Colm McGlade. "We have had a choir that has performed for the President.''
In PE, dance is not allowed, again as a result of Muslim strictures.
However, Colm McGlade is proud of the school's record in sports, pointing to successes in such activities as athletics and Olympic Handball.
Although Islamic and Arabic instruction is given in the school by part-time teachers, the principal and and the core teaching staff are non-Islamic.
"I taught at a Catholic school for 19 years before I came here. I see this as a normal national school, like any other.''
While some critics are bound to have reservations about pupils in an Irish national school receiving Islamic instruction, there are also critics from within the Islamic community who believe the school is not hardline enough.
"There are may different strands in Islam,'' says
Mohamed Jimani, chairman of the school's board of governors. "That can cause certain tensions, because there are people from different cultures who might want a different emphasis.''
With only two Muslim schools in the country, and one of them under a cloud, there is now a huge demand for places at the school. Every year there are 160 children competing for 35 places.
"I think the high number of pupils on the waiting lists shows the quality of education we are providing,'' says Colm McGlade.
"If we were not providing a decent standard of education parents would not be sending their children here.''
- Kim Bielenberg