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Christians and Muslims: church schools and W. E. Gladstone’s legacy

04 February 2009


From the Revd George Wood

Sir, — Recent publicity has revealed that in many cases, Church of England schools are now catering almost exclusively for Muslim pupils. May I suggest to the dioceses where the pupils attending church schools are more than 80 per cent Muslim, that their parents should be reminded that their children’s education is being subsidised by the weekly giving of the members of the Church of England?

It would be good for both parents, and those responsible for these schools, to compare the attitude of the Church of England with that of the teaching of Islam, especially as regards dhimmi and jizya. Dhimmi is the name given to non-Muslims in an Islamic society — subjugated people, treated as second-class. Jizya is the name of a tax payable by dhimmi as a sign of their subjugation to Muslims. This tax is being enforced in certain parts of Iraq. It was also part of the Hamas manifesto, that if they were elected in Gaza, they would introduce jizya. It is collected in a most degrading way.

Would it not therefore be helpful to all concerned to make an appeal to the innate goodness of those Muslim parents who are not extremists, and their children, to get together with the school authorities so as to understand that whereas Christians subsidise non-Christians, the reverse is taught by Islam?

I am wondering if the parents and the school authorities are aware of this comparison, and, if so, are they prepared for the present status quo to continue?

3 Orchard Gardens, Rustington
West Sussex BN16 3HN


From the Revd Paul Hunt

Sir, — As chairman of a fellow Gladstonian foundation, I was sorry to learn that the Warden of St Deniol’s Library has been in “receipt of a number of intemperate emails” in relation to the proposed Islamic reading room (News, 30 January).

Mr Gladstone was not one to fight shy of the theological controversies of the day, be it the relation of science and religion or papal infallibility, and I trust that the Warden might take some comfort from his continuation of this aspect of the Gladstone theological tradition.

Given Gladstone’s concern for Christians who suffered under Muslim Ottoman rule in Bulgaria (a street in Sofia remains named after him), I should have thought that a centre aiming to improve understanding and relations between Christinaity and Islam was entirely apposite.

National Liberal Club
Whitehall Place
London SW1A 2HE

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