27 Apr 2014

Should religion and state education be kept separate?

In a fiery Channel 4 News debate on an alleged Muslim “plot” to take over Birmingham schools, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood says “you have got to keep education secular” – but what do you think?

The debate (video, above) followed an exclusive Channel 4 News interview with one of the teachers at the centre of the alleged “Trojan Horse” plot, where it is claimed that a hardline, conservative Islamic group was trying to take control of a number of Brimingham schools in order to influence the education of thousands of children.

In the interview the teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said that there was a campaign to bring more Muslim teachers and governors into schools in Birmingham – but said this was not a part of an extremist plot, but was to raise standards.


Mr Mahmod argued that religion in schools serves to segregate communities, and that education must stay secular but inform all pupils about the basis of all religions.

Journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said that all religions in schools are getting “too strong” and that we need a “rethink” about the role of religion in state education.

Massoud Shadjareh from the Islamic Human Rights Commission said that if state schools are all secular then “you are not going to give a whole section of the community parental choice.”

What do you think the role of religion in state education should be? Take the Channel 4 News survey below.