Al-Refai, Nader (2007) Muslim schools and the teaching of citizenship. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The links between Islam and the teaching of citizenship in Muslim schools, and in state
schools containing Muslim pupils have been explored using the perceptions of students and
teachers in a sample of such schools. The delivery of citizenship instruction in Muslim
schools, attitudes towards its teaching, and its connection with Islam has been the areas of
primary focus. A combination of interviews and questionnaires was used to gain information
from 332 pupils (199 in Muslim schools and 137 in state schools), 28 teachers (15 in Muslim
schools and 13 in state schools), 8 head teachers (5 in Muslim schools and 3 in state schools),
and 6 community and religious leaders. The teaching of citizenship in both Muslim and state
schools faces a number of challenges such as time provision, resources, staffing, training,
administration, and assessment. In Muslim schools the religious perspective is taught
alongside the National Curriculum for citizenship instruction. However, teaching the Muslim
perspective on citizenship involves certain difficulties in terms of curriculum development
and resources.
There is at present, therefore, a great need to revise and develop the citizenship curriculum in
both Muslim and state schools. It is apparent that a large part of the sample in both Muslim
and state schools, including pupils, teachers, as well as religious and community leaders
believe that teaching citizenship in schools is important to pupils’ education. Most of the
pupils in the sample believe that studying citizenship helps pupils become aware of their role
in society, and to become good citizens. Citizenship lessons seem to be enjoyable for the
majority of pupils, although these views may be based on sample selection and bias. Muslim
pupils appear to have a preference for instruction on citizenship to be given by a Muslim
teacher who reflects Islamic values. In Muslim schools pupils are subject to religious
influence in terms of prosocial behaviours and positive attitudes towards others, whatever
their ethnicity or faith. These schools appear to be rather successful in building their pupils’
value systems. Islamic Studies and lessons in the Quran are often used to support the teaching
of citizenship, and this too appears to be quite successful. Muslim schools are therefore
judged to have the potential for the development and evolution of a new form of Muslim
national identity within Britain through citizenship education, in useful and meaningful ways,
given the difficulties encountered in the delivery of citizenship education in schools of all
types according to the Ofsted (2006) review.


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