What British Muslims really think

A TV programme on Wednesday evening on Channel 4 might be worthwhile watching for our GCSE RS students. Channel 4 commissioned face-to-face, at-home interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across the UK between 25 April and 31 May 2015 so they would be able to report on what British Muslims really think. Obviously a thousand is no where near the actual number of Muslims living in Britain (2, 706, 066), but as  a survey it is found to be enough to be representative. The Guardian has reported in quite some depth about the TV programme’s findings but I still think watching it would be worthwhile.

A few interesting facts were unearthed by the survey:

  • The research suggests that 86% of British Muslims feel a strong sense of belonging in Britain, which is higher than the national average of 83%.
  • A large majority (91%) of the British Muslims who took part in the survey said they felt a strong sense of belonging in their local area, which is higher than the national average of 76%.
  • However, when asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 18% said they agreed and 52% said they disagreed, compared with 5% among the public at large who disagreed.
  • 39% of the Muslims surveyed agreed that “wives should always obey their husbands”, compared with 5% of the country as a whole.

What are women like in the Bible?

We think we know the main female characters of the Bible as we see and hear representations of them regularly in film, TV, art, music and adverts. Haven’t we all heard of Mary the mother of Jesus, and Eve who was tempted by the forbidden fruit?


A recent article in the Independent  looks more closely at a few famous Bible ladies and concludes that they are far more complex and powerful than we initially thought. This is great for anybody who wants more gender equality as sometimes the Bible’s predominance of men and women as mere supporting actors can be used as a sign that men are more important than women.

International Women’s Day March 8th

Growing up in the UK I was never bothered about International Women’s Day. It was only when I lived in South Italy in my early 20s that I ever even heard about it; and even then it didn’t really feel right, we were living in the EU where laws made sexual discrimination illegal. On a positive note, in South Italy in the early 00’s, it allowed women to spend an evening socialising together in the bars and restaurants when often they usually weren’t allowed out without a man, often a brother, accompanying them.

This caught my eye on the BBC today: the surfer who wasn’t pretty enough to get a sponsor. This wasn’t new to me: women being treated differently based on their aesthetic beauty. I wonder if it is the same for men? I have known intelligent female engineers who are treated rudely by their male colleagues who are all niceties and smiles to attractive women in Human Resource jobs or the like.

Do young people feel that girls and boys are both unfairly treated based on looks; or is it more of a problem for the female gender?


Police guilty of discrimination against police officer

This wasn’t a case of sexism but a case of the police force discriminating against a mother of two who asked for flexible work hours so she could juggle a career and motherhood. She had been given a promotion in the police which was then taken away after she’d asked for the flexible hours.

The BBC reports how Hampshire Police have to pay just over £11,000 to Mrs Burden for her loss of earnings, pension and injury to her feelings. All employees with 26 weeks or more service will be allowed to request flexible working, which employers in turn must address in a ‘reasonable manner’. An employer can turn down your request if it affects how well you can do the job.

What is flexible working?  It is a variation of your working pattern, such as working from home, part-time working, flexi-time, job sharing and shift working.

The Human Rights Act also provides protection for people’s family life with Article 8 stating:

Everyone has the right to respect for his of her private and family life, home and correspondence. This right is subject to proportionate and lawful restrictions.

Article 8 is a broad-ranging right that is often closely connected with other rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to respect for property. The government is forced under Article 8 to not interfere with the right itself and also to take some positive measures, for example, to criminalise extreme breaches of the right to a private life by private individuals.

Chief of School Inspectors comments on the full veil

Sir Michael Wilshaw made comments on how he supports school which ban the inappropriate wearing of the veil by women. He said that if wearing the veil stops students learning and progressing their best then it should be banned at that school. He was talking about teachers, TAs and students wearing the veil.


In class today 10/RE3 learnt about how the Qur’an says men and women should be modestly dressed and not wear tight clothing. We talked about the positive and negative effects of wearing the niqab; but we forgot to talk about these effects on society in general! Can you think of how it might be good or bad for society if women wear the niqab?


Proposals to stop Sharia Courts in UK as they are sexist against women

Baroness Cox wants their to be a new law stopping Sharia Courts acting as a parallel legal system in Britain because a lot of their actions are not in line with British law and equality.

“There are aspects of sharia law and the way the sharia courts operate which are fundamentally incompatible* with the laws, values, principles and policies of this country and which represent a threat to the fundamental principle of one law for all,” she added.

*do not work at all with

Her biggest concern is that women are being pressured to reconcile (forgive and continue living with) violent husbands and are not being told about the legal powers available to them in normal British law.

In defence of Sharia courts  Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Britain (Mab), said: “In the main, Sharia courts help Muslim women to achieve closure on their religious marriages; and they provide a good and needed service to the community.” Furthermore nobody should be forced to go to a sharia court but individuals have the right to choose a sharia court as a ‘referee’ which Mab says should be respected.

Should Tyson Fury be allowed to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award?

He became the Heavyweight Champion of the World just over a week ago but have Tyson Fury’s comments about women and homosexuality ruined his chances of being a contender for the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award?


Petitions have been gathering thousands of signatures from people who say his comments are so sexist, homophobic and therefore dangerous he’s not worthy of winning a national sports prize. The BBC have even had to say that Tyson Fury’s beliefs are not supported by the media organisation.

About women he said that Ennis-Hill, a fellow contender for the award, “slaps up good”. He also said: “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back – that’s my personal belief.”

When put on the defensive in an interview with Channel 5 on Saturday night, the 27-year-old said: “If I am going to get in trouble for giving women compliments for wearing a dress, then what has the world come to? Listen, I’m the heavyweight champion of the world and people look up to me. If there’s any women in here tonight wearing dresses, I think everybody looks beautiful in a dress.”

Before his big fight with Kitschko where he won the Heavyweight belt he made comments comparing homosexuality and abortion to paedophilia and then afterwards attempted to play down his comments by saying they come straight from “the holy scriptures”.

What do you think?

About his Christian faith he said after the career defining fight with Kitschko that “God gave me the victory” and he also wore a t-shirt with the slogan: “God is all things most high”.

In an interview with the Catholic Herald in Ireland he said that God gives talents and he is using his to the best of his ability, and boxing is just a sport. While his mother is a Protestant and his father is a Catholic, neither is practicing. His uncle, a born-again Christian and preacher, introduced him to religion. While he speaks in a very evangelical way he was particularly drawn to Catholicism.

He said that he goes to church every Sunday and reads the Bible, both of which give him strength to know that “if God is in my corner then no one can beat me.”

Back in a 2011 interview he said that he would not be ashamed of God but rather by putting Him first “everything will work out.”

“Everything is destined to be in life, every turn we take is planned.”

“From the first moment I laced on a pair of boxing gloves, there wasn’t one person in my family who didn’t believe I wasn’t going to be the heavyweight champion of the world,” he said. He added that he had become the first Traveller ever in history to win the world heavyweight championship and concluded that God gave him the victory.