Guest post by Abu Sufyan
In late June 2022, the UK’s Department for Education published a report detailing a decision to ban a certain Muslim private school proprietor from managing independent schools.
The Secretary of State for Education declared Waheed Alam (popularly known as Abu Khadeejah) unfit to be involved in the management of private schools, “unable to comply with his safeguarding responsibilities, and relevant legislation,” effectively disqualifying him from any and all school leadership roles.
This particular action by the UK authorities represents a much bigger problem that affects all Muslims in the West.
The Secretary of State had previously found Abu Khadeejah guilty of “conduct…aimed at undermining the fundamental British value of individual liberty” with said conduct being “offensive, inappropriate, and contrary to the Equality Act 2010, the Independent Schools Standards, and DfE statutory guidance.”
The report cites a number of sermons and articles Abu Khadeejah produced within the last decade “which fail to show tolerance of, and respect for, the rights of others, and/or undermining fundamental British values,” specifically mentioning “strong messages that are aimed at undermining the fundamental British value of individual liberty.”
Apparently, we must all kneel to the timeless virtue of individual liberty.
Among the most “disturbing” of this online content was rhetoric “aimed at undermining the individual liberty of women by seeking to restrict the activities of women.”
The Secretary of State also noted Abu Khadeejah’s “shocking” views regarding the LGBTQ lifestyle and, particularly, his “emotive language to denigrate and demonise gay men in particular,” concluding that these were “aimed at spreading prejudice and intolerance towards gay people.”
The report describes Abu Khadeejah as the “former Chair of Directors of Redstone Educational Services Ltd, proprietor body of Redstone Educational Academy, an independent school” where he also formerly served as the governing body Chair. It interestingly notes the findings of an investigation conducted three years prior which found that these “published discriminatory views…would be accessible to pupils.”
In other words, despite running his own independent school, Abu Khadeejah was ultimately reprimanded for not preaching ideas contrary to his own convictions as a Muslim.
This issue is especially serious for those of us involved in Islamic education or those of us who have or plan to have children. If a man can lose his right to educate the children of consenting parents who share his beliefs in an ostensibly “independent” and “private” school, simply because his beliefs do not coincide with ever-evolving British “values,” then how is this anything other than brute authoritarianism?
We should consider where exactly the buck stops with regards to the rights of faith groups to determine their own curriculum, and even parents’ rights to homeschool. Are these really guaranteed by a liberal secular system? Or, can such a right to teach Islam only be guaranteed by an Islamic government that fully implements the Sharia of Allah?
At this point, it behooves all Muslims to ask whether there is even a future for real Islamic schooling in the liberal West. And outside the West, is there a future for such schooling in any country that bows down to Western liberal power?
This incident is just another of many in a clear trend of cultural and ideological warfare in the West and throughout the globe more broadly. Such a decision against this Islamic school is reminiscent of similar instances in France where Muslim community leaders were removed for simply disagreeing with the dominant liberal ideology (or, even just reading verses from the Quran).
Many Muslims will strongly disagree with the particularities and history of Abu Khadeejah’s dawah, etc., but the governmental actions against him is a much broader attack that threatens Islamic education writ large and, therefore, the future of Islam for our children. We are therefore compelled to speak out against it.
«Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who have preceded us in Faith, and do not put any hatred against the Believers in our hearts. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.» [al-Hashr 59:10]