CAIRO - A group of British activists are leading a new campaign to include Islamic history in school curriculum, saying that educating non-Muslims about the contributions of the Islamic world to science and philosophy would help in integrating Muslim minority in the society.
This is not just about educating Muslims, Mohammed Amin, from campaign group Curriculum for Cohesion, told Huffington Post UK.
This is about those young pupils who hear nothing about Islam at school and grow up thinking Muslims have contributed nothing to the world about from terrorism.
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Those children could grow up to join the English Defence League.
Backed by the Muslim Council of Britain, the new campaign was launched after the Department of Education published a draft specification of a new history syllabus last February which is currently under consultation.
Yet, the draft curriculum was deeply criticized as excluded all reference to Muslims and Islam.
Urging an amendment for the draft, faith campaigners urged teachers and members of the public to appeal to the government before the consultation ends next week.
Led by Matthew Wilkinson, a former Eton head boy who converted to Islam, the campaign was supported by high-profile patrons including MP Sadiq Khan and Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger.
CfC said a broader curriculum would engage Muslim pupils, 10% of the school population, who may feel excluded from British historical identity, and have published A Broader, Truer History for All.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
There are 400,000 Muslim students in British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
About 7,000 state schools in Britain are faith schools - roughly one in three of the total - educating 1.7 million pupils.
Of the 590 faith-based secondary schools five are Jewish, two Muslim and one Sikh - the rest are Church of England, Roman Catholic and other Christian faiths.
The campaign was intended to advocate for the inclusion of the history for all faiths, not just Muslim history.
"We have asked, for example, for the curriculum to include the persecution of Jews in the Middle Ages, and their eventual expulsion from Britain, Amin said.
It also suggested the inclusion of the contribution of Indian Muslim, Hindu and Sikh soldiers to the military effort in both world wars.
The preservation and enhancement of ancient Greek and Roman learning by classical Muslim civilization and Britain's long history of trade, diplomatic and other relations with Muslim majority regions were also suggested to be added in the new draft.
These inclusions are required to paint a true picture of the past, the group said in a statement.
In their absence, British Muslim children will see no place for themselves in their country's history, creating the risk of alienation.
At the same time non-Muslim children will grow up believing that Muslims have contributed nothing of value to Britain or indeed human civilization, creating the risk of their acquiring anti-Muslim attitudes.
Neither of these outcomes is good for Britain, or for the ability of Britons to do business in a world economy which is increasingly integrated.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net