London warns British Muslims on Shariah in schools

November 24, 2010

LONDON (RNS) The British government has warned a network of Islamic
schools in the wake of a BBC investigation that claims extremist Shariah
law is being taught to thousands of Muslim students.

The televised report, by the BBC's Panorama program, said as many as
5,000 pupils are being taught that thieves should have their hands cut
off as punishment and that Jews are working to dominate the world.

The investigation, which aired Monday (Nov. 22), said young Muslims
are being instructed in Shariah law that also preaches that
non-believers in the Islamic faith are condemned to "hellfire."

Britain's coalition government swiftly issued a statement warning
that "we will not accept any proposal where we have concerns about the
people behind the proposal, or if we think the school will undermine
British democracy."

The Panorama report said textbooks in the schools are part of the
Saudi Arabian national curriculum, which includes diagrams for where
cuts should be made to the hands and feet of thieves who violate Shariah

The report said teachings include punishments for homosexuality
ranging from being stoned to being thrown off a cliff, and that when
Jews die they are transformed into pigs or apes.

Education Secretary Michael Gove issued his own warning, that
extremism, anti-Semitism and homophobia will not be tolerated in British

The Panorama investigation said the network of more than 40 Muslim
private schools is part of an umbrella group calling itself the Saudi
Students Clubs and Schools in Britain. The Saudi embassy in London
disavowed any connection to the group.

"Any tutoring activities that may have taken place among any other
group of Muslims in the United Kingdom are absolutely individual to that
group and not affiliated to or endorsed by the Royal Embassy of Saudi
Arabia," the embassy said in a statement.