From “Islam in RE: Religious Literacy and Controversy through Enquiry”
Discussing terrorism, jihad and Islamist “supremacy doctrines” in RE, you confidently explain:
“… it is just a small fringe minority of extremist…”
However, Bobby, one of your more astute students, comes back with:
“The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest Islamic organization of any kind in the world. That makes it mainstream. Not fringe. The Brotherhood’s goal is to make the whole world submit to Islamic law. (…) They have a long-range plan and they’ve been putting it into effect for over twenty years. This is not guesswork. Their documents have been seized in FBI raids. One such raid recently led to the prosecution of members of the Holy Land Foundation…”*
Bobby even directs you and all his classmates to an exiting website from which he has taken this text and a host of other information which don’t sit well with REs role of contributing to well-being and community cohesion by “promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society” (Religious education in English schools: Non‑statutory guidance 2010, p. 7).
Soon, every pupil with a mobile (i.e. every pupil in the school) has had a look at the website, and the two Muslims students in your class are getting pressured for answers. You are getting calls from your local UKIP representative congratulating you on your courage. Head’s not too happy though. Etc.
Oi! Where’s UKIP in RE??
In the upcoming London course “Islam in RE: Religious Literacy & Enquiry through Controversy” we are going to work with critical statements from Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq (Author od Why I am not a Muslim) on Islam and misogynism, as well as some valid criticism from the ultra-right in relation to immigration.
We are going to discover how Cooperative Learning allows working with these “non-PC” viewpoints and how these can in fact contribute to developing pupils’ “reflection on and response to their own and others’ experiences in the light of their learning about religion and develops pupils’ skills of application, interpretation and evaluation of what they learn about religion.”
Especially we are going to look at how the social contructivism inherent in Cooperative Learning helps pupils develop and communicate their own ideas, particularly in relation to questions of identity and belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, and values and commitments, as outlined in Religious education – The non-statutory national framework (p.11).
“Cooperative Learning has been a valuable learning experience, which I will use in working with teachers. …encourages participants to actively listen to each other … provided a way to engage in controversy within a safe social environment.”
* Bobby got this from noncompulsion.com.