Fury over children being taught together and learning about one another

In one respect, our mid-market tabloids are as reliable as the finest Swiss watches. If anyone anywhere suggests anything about Muslims that doesn't involve screaming hatred and fear, the tabloids will inject it.

The NUT has suggested that single faith schools undermine community relations, given that they separate children into different groups and keep them apart. A solution the Union has offered involves stopping the spread of faith schools and having children taught about religions by representatives from those religions.

A quote from the NUT General Secretary about the subject (from this Press Association article):
"I believe that there will be real benefits to all our communities and youngsters if we could find space for pupils who are Roman Catholics, Anglican, Methodist, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim to have more religious instruction in schools.

"You could have imams coming in, you could have the local rabbi coming in and the local Roman Catholic priest. If there were opportunities where they all talked together to the youngsters, what a fantastic example that would be."
You can probably guess the Express headline. Ready?


The website also has a special 'Have Your Say' question: 'Should Imams teach our children?' It's actually quite a balanced and thoughtful open question that offers both sides of what could be a contentious issue for Express readers. Ha! Gotcha! Course it's not! Here's how it looks on the main 'Have Your Say' page:

Hmmm...I wonder what answer the paper wants us to give.

The fine and front page apology to the McCanns has obviously worked in getting the paper to change its ways and start reporting things properly.

The Mail, which is supposed to be more measured and serious than its thick mid-market rival goes with the headline 'Fury over plan to let imams teach the Koran in state schools'. To be fair, the article is slighty more balanced than the Express's, but it involves a worrying statistic:
The call comes as new research today shows the numbers attending mosques in England and Wales will outstrip Roman Catholic churchgoers by 2020.

Christian Research expects Catholic worshippers at Sunday Mass to fall to 679,000 but Muslims at Friday prayer to increase to 683,000. The figures also suggest the number of Muslims at mosques will overtake Church of England members at Sunday services.
Which is bizarre, since according to the Mail, Britain is a Catholic country because of immigrants. In December the paper went with the article 'Tony Blair converts to Catholicism - as immigration means Britain is now a Catholic country'. Don't these new researchers read the Mail? Or is it that the paper cherrypicks information to scare its readers with that suggests that there will soon be more of THEM than there are of US? (Insert this week's baddies into the 'THEM' section as appropriate).

What the Mail and Express coverage of the NUT paper 'In Good Faith' (not available online yet) shows is how far the tabloids have come in being able to demonise particular 'out groups'. A few years ago, they managed to turn the term 'asylum seeker' into an insult. They've now managed to do the same with 'Muslim' and 'Imam'. An Imam is not now the man who leads Muslim prayer - the obvious choice for someone to teach children about Islam - an Imam is someone who tries to brainwash kids into becoming terrorists, someone who is best illustrated by a picture of Abu Hamza lit from the bottom, like a horror film monster.

The Mail appears to have done the same with 'multiculturalism'. Multiculturalism is, to the Mail, a doctrine that forces people to live separately in ghettoes and never interact with one another, ever. The NUT's proposal, which is about stopping people from alienating themselves from one another by mixing in schools and being taught about each others' religions, is greeted by this nonsense from an idiot Tory MP:
"In case the NUT hasn't heard, multi-culturalism is generally regarded as a failure and even central government is abandoning it."
Eh? I wish I knew exactly what this numpty means by multiculturalism, but I suspect it means 'anything at all to do with other cultures and religions that I don't like'. So, in this case, it's putting everyone together and teaching them equally about one another. In another case, it could mean making everybody separate and not have to learn anything about one another.

It's got to the point of being a tired cliche now - but imagine how these articles would look if the same NUT paper were published and the papers decided to go with outraged headlines about Rabbis being able to teach the Talmud, with scary pictures of them lit from the bottom to maximise their scariness potential. It would be a little distasteful, wouldn't it?

*UPDATE* Both Express stories have been taken down from the website. More on that in 'Fury over paper printing nonsense front page headlines'.

1 comment:

Onion Terror said...

The only people who have anything to fear from multiculturalism are those employed by the Express and its ilk. If we all understand and get along with each other, there won't be much of a market for rabid fear-mongering bile, now will there?