Action likely against students avoiding Islamic Studies

SHARJAH — Education authorities here are likely to take action against two Muslim students, who have been suspended from their school for seeking exemption from the Islamic Studies subject saying the “crude methods” that their teacher uses have made the lessons difficult for them.

By Mohsen Rashid

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Published: Sun 13 Feb 2005, 9:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:30 PM

Describing the stands of the grade 8 and 6 students, Shayan and Shadan Al Hariri, of a private school here as “absurd”, Juma Al Sulami, the Assistant Under-Secretary for Private Education at the Ministry of Education, said the whole issue was under investigation.

He said the two students would not remain in the school, as the Islamic Studies subject was compulsory for all Muslim students. “If they have grievances against the teacher for not teaching the subject well, it does not make the subject unsuitable,” he said.

The students had written to the school seeking exemption from the classes. Their father Hussein Al Hariri also supported the stand of his wards. “I myself do not agree with the teaching method of Islamic Studies subject in the school. It is better to explain the meaning and show them how to read the Quran instead of compelling them to learn it by heart, which is so heavy and difficult for non-Arab children, especially with an unprofessional teacher, who makes them hate the class and the subject,” the father said in a letter supporting his children’s decision.

The students had accused the subject teacher of being cruel to them and of using harsh methods that made them lose their interest in the subject “We have understood that one can’t be a Muslim before one has studied and selected the Islam as the religion after having reached 14 years of age. So we must study all religions, then select and follow the best one,” the two students wrote to the school with copy to the Universal Students Union of which they are members.

School headmistress Eileen Ritson said that Islamic Studies and Arabic are compulsory subjects according to the rules of the Ministry of Education.

“We cannot go against the rule to exempt them from studying the subject. Every Muslim student must learn in accordance with the curriculum as approved by the ministry,” she said, adding that she had referred the issue to the Ministry of Education with the files of the two students containing all the relevant documents and the letters from them and their father. She said the school had suspended the students after they began to claim that they had the right to choose to study or not the subject.


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