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Talibanisation of British Childhood

Last November, on the steps of Tate Britain, I witnessed a scene that troubles me still.

A furious Asian father was shaking his young son and tearing up the picture his child had drawn.

The boy kicked and cried. Recognising my face from TV appearances I had made as a commentator on current affairs, the father came across to say 'hello'.

So I asked him what his child had done that had made him so angry. He explained that according to his Islamic mentors, drawing pictures of people was forbidden.

I was flabbergasted. After all, this was in the middle of Britain's multi-cultural capital - a modern metropolis, not some dusty backstreet in Kabul. What harm can there be in a picture?

So I asked the man if he owned a camera. 'Yes,' he replied. 'And a video camera.'

So why, I asked, was it acceptable for him to take pictures, but not for his child to draw a stick figure?

'The madrasa teacher told me children are not allowed to,' he said, referring to the places of religious instruction for Muslim children, which are the equivalent of Sunday schools for Christians.

'I am not an educated man, so I must listen to them.'

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TAGGED: CHILDREN, EDUCATION, ISLAM, RELIGION


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