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← Prayer refusal pupils 'disciplined'

Prayer refusal pupils 'disciplined' - Comments

Manson's Avatar Comment 1 by Manson

Somehow I don't think this is what Daniel Dennett had in mind. ;)

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 08:50:00 UTC | #194249

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 2 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

Another parent, Karen Williams, said: "I am absolutely furious my daughter was made to take part in it and I don't find it acceptable. I haven't got a problem with them teaching my child other religions and a small amount of information doesn't do any harm.

So much information in so few words.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 08:52:00 UTC | #194250

hmcook87's Avatar Comment 3 by hmcook87

I would have liked to see the fuss (and the endless apologies) that would have been kicked up if children of muslim parents were forced to pray to god... There would be riots in the streets by now. I don't think Muslims would be impressed with "a practical demonstration of how god is worshipped". Its plainly unacceptable to attempt to force anyone to worship anything.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 08:53:00 UTC | #194251

Plate Captain's Avatar Comment 4 by Plate Captain

I happen to live in alsager and know of the teacher who did this. Had a reputation for being a bit strange.

I'm actually quite surprised that two of the kids refused to do it. Normally at that age you just don't question this kind of thing.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 08:54:00 UTC | #194252

AllanW's Avatar Comment 5 by AllanW

I'm pleased to see the independence of thought exhibited by these two kids but on the other hand, the teacher seems to be either thoughtless in their appreciation of how a 'practical' such as this might be received by some of the participants or genuinely stupid enough to be surprised that it would cause a controversy.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 08:59:00 UTC | #194255

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 6 by Steve Zara

I suggest we don't get too worked up yet.

from the article:

Cheshire County Council confirmed that parents had complained about the lesson, and said the circumstances of the incident were to be "thoroughly" looked into.

If this is just one teacher being nutty, and if there is a suitable response from the council, this could end up as a positive story.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 09:00:00 UTC | #194257

Chris Bell's Avatar Comment 7 by Chris Bell

It's my understanding that English schoolkids are often led in Christian prayers because there is no separation of church and state.

Seems like an excellent "teachable moment" to me.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 09:06:00 UTC | #194260

NekoFever's Avatar Comment 8 by NekoFever

I remember learning about Islam in RE and the teacher asking for a volunteer to demonstrate how Muslims pray and turned it into a joke ("be careful what you tell your parents we did in class today when you're telling them about prostration"). Guess my teacher was being disrespectful as well ;)

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 09:08:00 UTC | #194262

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 9 by Apathy personified

I can't see where the teacher got the idea to make them pray to allah - how is that teaching them about islam? They should know that muslims pray to allah but how the hell does it help their education to actually do it themselves? In a science lesson the kids benefit from actually doing the experiment, but RE is different.
If they are doing about opus dei will the teacher make them whip themselves?

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 09:19:00 UTC | #194263

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 11 by huzonfurst

Zara, I find your comment much too accomodating. If it turns into a positive thing it will be because what the teacher did is recognized to be as outrageous as it is.

By now I must freely admit to a strong anti-Islam bias, which is an eminently rational position to take based on its record. What would you do, wait until sharia is imposed on all of Britain "just to be sure" Islam really is that bad?

Same to you, Benocrates. Haven't you ever heard the expression "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile?"

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 09:47:00 UTC | #194270

Benocrates's Avatar Comment 10 by Benocrates

This seems absolutely silly, have we (on this site) gone mad? It seems to me, from the first sentence down to the last, this was a practical exercise on how Muslims prey to their man in the sky. This does not seem, in any way, to be some forced worship of Allah.

Perhaps, if the teacher said their disrespect for not participating was directed at their characters Muhammad or Allah, then I'd be more suspicious. I think something of that effect is quoted in the article, but seems to be from parents who made their own assumptions. The parents that are "absolutely furious." Realistically, this looks more like Christian parents experiencing massive Islamophobia, and are worried their dogmatic nonsense will be superseded by another.

It seems as if we (the atheist community) are becoming hyper sensitive about any issue surrounding anything that could possibly be deference to a religion. I am usually right behind you in every step, I'll fight day and night to keep mandated prayer out of schools, but not prayer demonstrations directly linked to RE.

Think about it, maybe the act of Muslim prayer (head on the ground, etc) will be an illustrative point on how subservient and childish that religion is. Maybe not, but it's definitly not doing any harm. This kind of hysteria is exactly what gets people like Monique Davis to create and spew her bigotry.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 09:47:00 UTC | #194269

NineBerry's Avatar Comment 12 by NineBerry


Read the article again: The teacher is no muslim. The prayer was meant as a demonstration.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:05:00 UTC | #194275

Benocrates's Avatar Comment 13 by Benocrates

huzonfurst, I would definitly label that as committing the slippery slope fallacy. You're saying a practical demonstration of a religious act, on par with kneeling to prey to a Christian conception of god, will lead to an Islamic takeover of British politics? Remember, this appears to be an educational practice in direct connection with Islamic RE.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:05:00 UTC | #194276

bollocks's Avatar Comment 14 by bollocks

For crying out loud Zara

When are you going to stop being a

Soft left
Let's wait and see
Nothing is simple
Not enough scientific evidence
Humanity can get along
It can't happen here


Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:25:00 UTC | #194284

Logicel's Avatar Comment 15 by Logicel

Benocrates, you think it's appropriate that the kids got punished?

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:29:00 UTC | #194285

Benocrates's Avatar Comment 16 by Benocrates

For crying out loud bollocks

When are you going to stop being a

impregnably hard right
Let's act irrationally
everything is simple
Fuck scientific evidence
Humanity can never get along
It will happen everywhere

irrational atheist fundie

I can be insulting without knowing anything about you too! :)

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:30:00 UTC | #194286

D'Arcy's Avatar Comment 17 by D'Arcy

Some of the richest footballers in the world live in Cheshire. They need protection. If Cheshire County Council is really going to thoroughly investigate the complaints, can I suggest they call in the Dundee Police?,2806,Muslims-outraged-at-police-advert-featuring-cute-puppy-sitting-in-policemans-hat,Daily-Mail

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:31:00 UTC | #194287

Ian's Avatar Comment 18 by Ian

I can't honestly see how anyone is going to be happy about this, especially Moslems, who could regard this as a debasement of worship.

Kudos to the young lads, education is supposed to be about empowerment, not submission.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:32:00 UTC | #194288

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 19 by the great teapot

i was forced to pray to allah once a week in my school in the north east of England twenty five years ago. Pleased to see nothing has changed.
(btw god=allah=god)
It was tacitly assumed back then , as now, a childs disobedience is without question punishable.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:40:00 UTC | #194291

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 20 by thewhitepearl

I don't think this article is telling the complete story..I have a feeling that there is more to this.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:48:00 UTC | #194294

Benocrates's Avatar Comment 22 by Benocrates

logicel, it seems from the article that these children were probably refusing to participate in a disruptive way. I can't be sure, and if it were otherwise (perhaps in opposition to some religious freedom in a reasonable way), I would think differently.

However, based on the assumption it was disruptive to an honest RE lesson, they should face the same punishment as any student disruptor.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:49:00 UTC | #194296

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 21 by huzonfurst

Benocrates, I am saying that letting anything that smacks of religious coercion slide is the equivalent of pounding nails into our own coffins. This doesn't mean I think any one incident will lead to another Dark Age, but it does mean that I prefer to err on the side of caution, exposing every possible threat to the light of day and *not* letting it pass!

"All that's needed for evil to triumph is for good men (*and* women, as in Life of Brian) to do nothing" and all that.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:49:00 UTC | #194295

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 23 by the great teapot

National service seems the only reasonable answer to me.
We of course would have to invade a few more countries to send them to to be killed in.
But it will keep them off Britains got talent and thats got to be worth it.

That would finally end the ....
"you guys are a tremendous example to the youf of today, pretending to be hoodies in Milton keynes is a far greater example to set than actually fucking learning something usefull"
comments once and for all.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:49:00 UTC | #194297

Benocrates's Avatar Comment 24 by Benocrates

huzonfurst, would you consider testing on the content of the Christian Lords prayer for RE purposes to be an affront to British secular politics?

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 10:53:00 UTC | #194298

Nairb's Avatar Comment 25 by Nairb

This is great. :)

Children are being educated on how ridiculous religions are. Hopefully it will inspire their skepticism about what religious instruction they get at home and how stupid some adults can be.

I hope this becomes common practice though its probaly too much to hopê for given the fuss about it.

Steve Zara as usual you are spot on.
Bollocks what a good name!

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:14:00 UTC | #194302

alexmzk's Avatar Comment 26 by alexmzk

hey, on more than one occasion, my classmates and i were made to pray to jesus when i was at school.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:35:00 UTC | #194312

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 27 by Dr Doctor

If the basis of this story is true, that the children were given detention for refusing to take part in a "prayer demonstration" (regardless of whether it was detention for being disrespectful), then I think they have every right.

Compelling children to take part in acts of religious ritual is not good education, and is nothing that cannot be illustrated with books, videos or practical demonstration.

Getting the child to do it steps over a line. It does not convey any lesson, or useful information beyond what it is like to kneel and bend your back in a certain direction.

Heady stuff.

I would back any child, mine or others, that refused to take part in something on a point of principle, especially over such a worthless "demonstration", given they can articulate why in a rational way.

If the reason given for detention is true, then that is a disgrace and it is appalling that one or two members of this site are being mealy-mouthed about the issue.

If the reason was something else, like disruption, rudeness etc then that is a different point entirely.

I'm certain there is more to the story, but to use it as a stick to beat those that are showing "hypersensitivity" seems misplaced. There are other stories for whom that reaction has been merited more in the past which came and went without comment.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:36:00 UTC | #194314

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 28 by Steve Zara

Comment #204617 by bollocks

For crying out loud Zara

When are you going to stop being a

Soft left
Let's wait and see
Nothing is simple
Not enough scientific evidence
Humanity can get along
It can't happen here


Never, I hope.

I will argue with passion against ideas, but I have faith. I have faith in people. Almost all people are decent, and compassionate, and reasonable, given a chance. The problem with religion is that it prevents criticism of those who aren't, and allows them a safe space to develop and propogate ideas.

Most people who identify as Christian are decent, so are most people who identify as Muslim.

Most people sign up to traditions and ideologies without bothering to investigate the details. A typical muslim may tick a box on a questionnaire that asks about Sharia law without having much idea what Sharia law is. They tick the box out of solidarity for a community.

This is why education is important - so people realise the implications of what they are signing up to in terms of traditions and religious beliefs.

Until that has been achieved, we should not condemn a whole group because of every report of what silly individuals do.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:40:00 UTC | #194316

Dinah's Avatar Comment 29 by Dinah

I'll probably be accused of having a sense of humour crisis, but if I were a parent and my children were ordered to pray to Allah and then punished for being 'disrespecful' to the Prophet if they refused, I'd be hopping mad about it too. It doesn't matter what the motivations of the teacher were. Even if he or she was sending the whole thing up, the children wouldn't realise that. To me, it's out of order, unacceptable, and amounts to child abuse. I have no idea whether the children who refused to take part did so just to be 'naughty' or because they felt what they were being asked to do was wrong, but it was fortunate they did refuse, or the matter might not have brought to the attention of the authorities.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:46:00 UTC | #194317

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 30 by Dr Doctor

I also don't think it is needful to condemn an entire group on the actions of a single individual within it.

I think that is setting your sights far too low.

Use the best examples to condemn the entire field of religion, religions that run schools and religious privilege.

Remove their tax breaks, their right to intervene in school education, the privileges and make the playing field level and you know, maybe the world would end up being a better place. It certainly wouldn't make it worse.

Oi, teacher, leave those kids alone.

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:49:00 UTC | #194318