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Ofsted blasts faith school for book saying gay people should be put to death

A private Muslim school has received a damning report from Ofsted after a book saying gay and lesbian people should be ‘put to death’ was found in the school library. Humanists UK has described the discovery as ‘deeply alarming’. It said the case demonstrates the urgent need for better regulation of private faith schools.

Inspectors found the book, called Islam on Homosexuality, during an inspection of the Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. According to the report, the book states that ‘…the participants of the homosexual act should be [slained] whether they are married or unmarried because in filth and mischief of this act surpasses adultery.’ There is also a paragraph in the book entitled ‘putting to death’ which says ‘…the evil doers should be put to death’.

When asked about the book, some of the school leaders reportedly said it was ‘for research purposes’. However, Ofsted said that ‘by permitting this book to be freely accessible to pupils, leaders are failing to promote respect and tolerance for others, a fundamental British value.’ The report also highlights a ‘poor culture of safeguarding’. And it found a range of health and safety issues, including exposed electrical wiring and evidence of smoking on site.

The private boarding school caters for boys and young men aged 11-25. During their visit, inspectors found that students over the age of 18 were ‘at times responsible for escorting younger pupils to medical appointments and to shops.’ But leaders had not carried out risk assessments or checks to ensure their suitability or the safety of the younger pupils.

Humanists UK Education Manager Dr Ruth Wareham commented:

‘It is deeply alarming that a book calling for the murder of gay and lesbian people has been made freely available to children by this school. Worse still is that some school leaders tried to defend its presence.

‘Dangerous homophobic extremism has no place in a diverse, democratic society. It certainly has no place in an educational setting. But, despite its failings, the truth is that this school will probably be allowed to continue operating. If the Government is serious about protecting children, it must strengthen the law on private faith schools as a matter of urgency.’

Last year, the UK Government ran a public consultation on improving the regulation of private schools. It included a change to the law to enable swifter action to close schools that repeatedly fail to meet the Independent School Standards. These are the basic standards that private schools are expected to meet. However, the results of the consultation are yet to be published. What’s more, a bill on this issue was not listed as something the Government intends to do over the course of this session of Parliament.

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read the Ofsted report.

Read our most recent article on the DfE allowing a faith school found unlawfully segregating pupils by sex to split into two single-sex schools.

Read our article on the private faith school allowed to repeatedly fail Ofsted inspections for five years.

Read more about our work on faith schools and private faith schools.

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