Faith-schools and the religious other: The case of Muslim schools

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Faith schools in England are associated with particular interpretive traditions within a religion. There are Catholic schools and Anglican Schools, for example. Similarly, what are called the Islamic schools are actually along the lines of madhabs or maslaks such as Deobandi, Barelvi, Ithna ashari Shia schools. Further, there are no inter-faith schools; no schools that are run by different faiths together. The above observations raise a question. How do faith schools teach about the religious other - both about other denominations within their own religious tradition and about the other religious traditions? The question was also raised in the context of a recent Ofsted report on independent faith schools which concluded that “although most schools taught a general understanding of other faiths…many of the schools visited were reluctant to teach about other faiths in great detail” (Ofsted 2009, Independent faith schools, p. 4). This chapter provides the results of exploratory research based on the above question with a focus on Muslim faith schools in England. The findings, based on the interviews of teachers, interfaith educators, classroom observations and the analysis of educational materials, are situated within the context of the wide range of attitudes towards religious diversity found in Muslim societies, past and present. Pedagogical and theological implications of teaching the religious other in faith schools are also examined. The findings show that at least some Muslim faith schools are giving serious attention to this area but their efforts are limited by certain factors such as lack of sound educational materials and limited engagement with philosophical and theological issues around the question of religious diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Learning, Teaching and Leading in Faith-Based Schools
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789401789721
ISBN (Print)9789401789714
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Barelvi
  • Christians
  • Crusades
  • Deoband
  • Dhimmi
  • Exclusivist
  • Inclusivist
  • Independent faith schools
  • Intra-islamic diversity
  • Islam
  • Ithna Ashari Shia
  • Jews
  • Jihadi
  • Muslim faith schools
  • Ottoman millet system
  • Oxford muslim pupils’ empowerment programme (OMPEP)
  • Pluralist
  • Polytheists
  • Prophet muhammad
  • Religious diversity
  • Shi’a
  • Shi’i
  • Sunni
  • Tahreef
  • Ummah


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