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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 16:59 GMT
Your views on Muslim guidance
BBC education correspondent Mike Baker discussed the Muslim Council of Britain's guidance on how schools should treat Islamic pupils.

As usual we invited your thoughts too. Here is a selection of the responses.

I am against full face veils as they exclude children who are hard of hearing by preventing them from lip-reading and that is unacceptable. Separate changing I am sure would be welcomed by all children, why is there even a thought that any child doesn't mind having to change and shower in front of other people it is ridiculous.
Lizzie, London

While the MCB is correct to bring awareness of the fact that schools and society in general can indeed do much to become more aware and attune to minority religions, cultures and languages, this document verges on the bizarre. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, perhaps the strictest Islamic State of all, in a school with over a 100 nationalities, encompassing all faiths and traditions. Close to half the pupils were Muslim, and none of these issues from PE to dance were ever a source of conflict.
Saj Chakkalakal, London

The changing for PE issue is one which I think all parents should be concerned about as children develop at different rates and are entitled to some privacy. When I was at school, the girls from two classes got changed in one classroom and did Netball or whatever, whilst the boys did woodwork. Then the boys from the two classes got changed in the other room and did football whilst the girls sewed. And that was a one form entry primary school.
Jan, Birmingham

As someone who teaches in a secondary school I understand the importance of adapting to accommodate as many belief systems as possible. However, I feel that is up to the individual schools to make a decision as to what extent this happens. We are in essence a Christian country, and although I love having a mix of people our society, there needs to be acceptance of the fact that we are predominantly Christian.
Victoria, Brighton

Perhaps the MCB needs to learn the meaning of the word 'compromise'? Or are they determined to turn all schools into schools where only the needs/views of Muslims are respected? That's what their list of demands (and that's what it is) sounds like. No thought given to the needs/views of non-Moslems.
Nefer, UK

As a British Muslim living in Egypt I think the MCB is being rather unreasonable. Here the niqab is not accepted in the majority of schools, it is allowed in the government secondary schools 16-18 years. My daughters wear trousers, blouses and a headscarf which is tucked into the collar during science. Here on PE days children wear their PE uniform to school, there are no changing facilities in school. As for swimming we have what looks like a wet suit made of lycra with a tunic over it and a small tight scarf or a regular swimming cap. My children take part in dancing activities although some parents object. I think many Muslims in the west are unrealistic in their demands. Oh about praying, yes the children can pray in school but only during their break or after school.
Nadia Abdul-Sabur, Egypt

I think that the increase in lack of Christian values has led to problems for the Muslim minority that didn't exist before and that is why the "guidance" provided by the MCB seems so burdensome to provide. Christianity has a lot of similarities with Islam and when our parents settled although they may have experienced racism they still felt safe because the values of Christianity meant that promiscuity was frowned upon and dress codes were modest. Now Christianity has nearly disappeared and politicians keep insisting on "Britishness". What is "Britishness"? Could the British born white person pass the citizenship test? What does a person have to be like to be British?
Zara, Bolton

This is a simple issue, the principle of "when in Rome" should apply here. If I move to a country where the culture is not what I'm accustomed to, it means that I must adapt, not the host country. I would research the culture before I went, not after I arrived.
George Denyer, Glenrothes,

The Muslims should adapt to our norms not the other way round. Do we have the Chinese insisting on everyone celebrating Chinese New Year or Hindus insisting on no beef, no we don't, they adapt to the cultural norms of this country.
Tom, Aylesbury

If a Muslim is allowed to wear a headscarf then other pupils can argue that they are being discriminated against by not being allowed to wear a hat or a hood. Treating a child different because of their religion only encourages a divide to exist. How can you teach children that everyone is equal when they see their friends being treated differently from them.
Sean, Scotland

The face veil is not simply a barrier to communication. Girls should not be required learn to separate themselves from boys and men. Schools are places where girls and boys learn to take their place as equals in the adult world. To allow Muslim girls to wear the face veil in schools would make teachers complicit in the unequal treatment of the girls and boys of one particular religion.
Elizabeth Foster, Oxford

What pupils wear at school is surely not a big issue. I can understand that a school would want everybody to wear the same uniform, but surely a uniform rules could be adapted for certain religious and cultural groups. The other issues: changing systems, employing specialist staff and erecting structures to accommodate Muslim requirements are more of a problem because (i) the cost and (ii) this will start to look like segregation - even apartheid - as different groups are treated differently.
Ken, Bristol

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