By Jonathan Walsh
By Jonathan Walsh
Rabat – A school in the British island of Guernsey has come under severe criticism for assigning homework in which pupils were asked to explain to their parents why they have converted to Islam and why this has positively impacted their life.
The school insists the exercise, which was set for a class of 12 and 13-year-old school children, was meant purely as a fictional piece, and was set to challenge pupil’s creative writing abilities and knowledge of the religion.
“It is important that our students are able to learn about, understand, investigate and question all that is around them. As with all subjects, homework will be set to cover all areas of the curriculum,” said one Educational Department spokesperson, according to the Independent.
Despite this, parents and locals have reacted badly to the news, branding it “irresponsible” and “inflammatory”.
“What I think it totally wrong in this case is they are being asked to say how their lives would be improved by it. This automatically appears to make a presumption that Islam is better, which in my opinion it is not,” wrote one local on the Guernsey Press Website (GPW).
Although many would accept this as a balanced expression of opinion, there was a general acceptance among social media users that the faux-conversion implies an “encouragement of radical Islam.”
“In this day and age when easily led youngsters are being radicalized, it is a dangerous road to be taking. The amount of youngsters heading to Syria without their parents knowing must ring warning bells about how easily led they can be,” wrote another GPW reader.
Chief Minister for Guernsey, Jonathan Le Tocq, made headlines earlier this month after announcing that the island would reject Syrian refugees based on the “Islamophobia and negativity that’s been around.”
“It would be difficult for us to ensure that [the refugees] would find security and stability here in Guernsey,” he said in an interview with the BBC.