As the British government pushes an LGBT agenda in schools, Muslims across the country have risen up in protest, joining the many Christians who have long been fighting back. Britain’s Department for Education (DfE) is not backing down, but the Commission for Countering Extremism chided the DfE for its lackluster enforcement against Muslim protesters. This was particularly ironic, because the commission was set up after a terrorist attack against Muslims.
Protests began in February at Parkfield Community School, where most students are Muslim, the BBC reported. Parents demanded the school stop using story books feating same-sex couples, chanting, “Our children, our choice!” The school later suspended its LGBT program.
UPDATE: A #Birmingham primary school has suspended its #LGBT lessons indefinitely, Parkfield Community School says studies will not resume until a resolution is reached with protesting Muslim parents#ParkfieldSchool pic.twitter.com/z5bnARqd1J
— Press TV UK (@Presstvuk) March 15, 2019
Parents also protested at Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, arguing that homosexuality was morally wrong and inappropriate to teach kids. The schools defended the curriculum, saying they were teaching children about diversity involving the groups covered by the 2010 Equality Act.
Starting in September 2020, schools will have to teach relationships education in elementary schools and relationships and sex education (RSE) in middle school and high school.
While some forms of protest have spread to 70 schools, the Education Department is standing by the teaching.
“We want children to grow up understanding that some people are different, some relationships are different from what they may have experienced, but all are valuable,” Education Secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC. “We trust individual schools, individual head teachers, to know their cohorts of children, and to determine how and when to address what can be obviously sensitive subjects.”
Yet Parkfield Community School said the DfE urged them to cave to keep the issue out of the news. “Our top priority is that Parkfield School is no longer on national news,” it quoted a department official as saying. The department denied ever sending this message.
The National Association of Head Teachers said the suspension of the program made the situation worse.
Yet the Commission for Countering Extremism criticized the DfE. Commission leader Sara Khan said the department “could have done so much more. I think they were too slow to respond. There’s a lot of confusion about what’s actually being taught and I think the DfE could have played a very important role in clarifying to parents this is what’s actually being taught, not the misinformation that we’re seeing out there.”
The issue is not “misinformation,” of course. The issue is a fundamental difference in worldview. LGBT activists in the British government believe that homosexuality and transgenderism should be normalized in the name of fighting bullying. Conservative Muslims and orthodox Christians believe homosexual activity is sinful. Their opposition to LGBT teaching in school need not involve support for bullying, however. “Misinformation” is not the problem — fundamental moral disagreement is.
Yet the Commission for Countering Extremism is calling for a government crackdown against dissent on these issues, even though a sizable part of that dissent comes from Muslims.
This is ironic because Prime Minister Theresa May announced the creation of the Commission for Countering Extremism in 2017, after the Finsbury Park terrorist attack. In that attack, a man who hated Muslims targeted an area near the Muslim Welfare House and Finsbury Park Mosque, killing one and injuring nine in a vehicle attack. May explicitly referenced the targeting of Muslims in her statement.
When Khan was appointed in January 2018, Muslims warned that she would not be good for their community.
Former Tory Chairwoman Sayeeda Warsi called her appointment “deeply disturbing.” She insisted, “For the commissioner to be effective the person had to be an independent thinker, both connected to and respected by a cross-section of British Muslims. Sara is sadly seen by many as simply a creation of and mouthpiece for the Home Office.”
Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, argued that the commission head’s appointment “will be seen as a move to placate those small sections of society who see Muslims as foreign, alien, rather than as equal citizens in this country.”
Most forms of Sharia (Islamic law) do not just consider homosexual activity to be sinful, but also encourage violence against openly gay people. ISIS infamously executed them by throwing them down from buildings.
Yet Muslims need not support this kind of violence to oppose LGBT indoctrination in schools. Many Muslims and Christians oppose this kind of teaching and oppose any violence against LGBT people. Sadly, it seems the British government is bent on stigmatizing this kind of opposition, whether it comes from Christians or Muslims.
Conservative Christians have long been told that since they are part of the “majority” and enjoy certain privileges, religious freedom should not extend to them on this issue. That argument is bigoted and wrong, but it cannot stand when applied to Muslims who also object to LGBT teaching in schools.
Educators should find a way to teach tolerance of LGBT people without mandating agreement and moral support for their lifestyles.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.