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Muslim parents 'banning children from music lessons'


Hundreds of Muslim children could be withdrawn

Hundreds of Muslim parents are withdrawing children from music lessons because their beliefs forbid them from learning an instrument.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said music lessons were potentially unacceptable to about 10% of Muslims.

This could equate to hundreds of Muslim children being withdrawn from the lessons, the MCB said.

It said passages from a collection of the Prophet Mohammed's teachings banned instruments.

The MCB said passages from the Ahadith collection state: "There will be people from my Ummah [nation] who will seek to make lawful fornication, the wearing of silk [for men], wine drinking and the use of musical instruments."

The Herbert Morrison Primary School in Lambeth, south London, said it had seen up to 22 children removed from music lessons.

Eileen Ross, its head teacher, told BBC London: "Some of the parents don't want children to play musical instruments and they don't have music in their homes.

"There's been about 18 or 22 children withdrawn from certain sessions, out of music class, but at the moment I just have one child who is withdrawn continually from the music curriculum."

For goodwill I allow that parent to withdraw their child from all music but I am in fact denying the child the opportunity that the other children in the class have
Eileen Ross, Headteacher

She added: "We're a very small school, we don't have a classroom to put these withdrawn children in and we don't have an extra adult to supervise them.

"For goodwill, I allow that parent to withdraw their child from all music, but I am in fact denying the child the opportunity that the other children in the class have."

Dr Diana Harris, from the Open University, has previously researched the subject and has claimed that Ofsted inspectors have sometimes turned "a blind eye" to the issue.

She said: "I feel sad because although I wouldn't want anyone to do anything against their religion, I feel there's a lot in music which gives us great joy in life and I feel sorry for children who want to be part of that and can't be and particularly when it's for reasons they don't even understand.

"Until Ofsted faces up to this, we're not going to break down the issue and sort out what really needs to happen."

An Ofsted spokesman said: "Music is an important part of any child or young person's education.

"Ofsted inspectors investigate if they become aware that any pupil's access to the curriculum is being restricted. Inspectors will always follow up relevant concerns and take action where appropriate."

Matthew Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said: "At a guesstimate I say it will involve about 10% of the Muslim community."

Asked if this involved hundreds of pupils, he said: "Yes, you might be looking at that sort of figure."

"The MCB wants Muslim children to take benefit of the full range of educational possibilities, including music."

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