Young Muslims will be asked to consider the impact of the 7/7 bombings on their victims; encouraged to report terrorist plots to the police; and women advised not to wear the full Islamic veil to “avoid confrontation”.
Drawing on the Koran to counter extremist ideology, pupils will be taught to channel any anger against British foreign policy into legitimate forms of protest, such as the ballot box.
The curriculum is already being used in up to 200 Islamic schools, or madrasahs, as well as some mainstream state schools, mainly in West Yorkshire. Now, the government, which has part funded the initiative, wants to see it rolled out nationally in madrasahs and schools, though there are no plans to make it compulsory.
Officials estimate that about 100,000 Muslim children attend madrasahs or religious classes at mosques each day, normally after school or at the weekend. But the instruction they receive has traditionally focused on reciting the Koran and learning Arabic.
The new citizenship classes have been introduced by the Bradford Council of Mosques, which has trained about 50 imams in the “Nasiha” (good advice) curriculum.
Sajid Hussain, an Oxford-educated secondary school teacher, has devised more than 30 lesson plans that can be downloaded from the internet. They are aimed at pupils aged 10-17.
Hussain claimed radical preachers had tried to drive “a wedge between a Muslim person’s faith and society”. The lessons, he believes, will enable youngsters to challenge extremist views by using evidence in the Koran.
“It’s okay saying Islam teaches against suicide bombings, but we need to know why,” he said. “It’s very important that young Muslims understand that their faith is not divisive.”
A lesson on the “sacredness of life and property” aims to teach pupils “that it is unlawful to make oneself into a suicide bomb and kill others in a country where Muslims have given a religious promise to respect its laws”.
Sources at the Department of Communities and Local Government, which has been monitoring the programme, confirmed that it wanted it to be used nationally.
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