Education of Bilingual Muslim Children

A primary school teacher asking her pupils in the classroom: What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual! what do you call the person who speaks 2 languages? Bilingual. And what do you call a person who speaks only one language? British!

English is not a peace building language for the Muslim children in British schooling. Majority of English speaking Muslim youths are extremists, find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. One can find English speaking Muslim youths in Syria and Iraq, in prison and in the mental hospital. Thanks to English language. English is the economic language of the Muslims while Arabic , Urdu and other community languages are the social and emotional languages of the Muslim community.

Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one's culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children's alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grand parents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.

Tri-lingual 11 year olds in Hackney outperform monolinguals in reading tests and tell more elaborate stories University of East London A study of language and literacy use in the Guajarati Muslim community shows that children in multilingual families have complex patterns of language use and literacy development. They speak a dialect of Guajarati in the home and the community but have very little access to literacy in that language. They become literate in Urdu to interpret religious texts, but use the language little outside religious contexts. They study the Qur'an in Arabic. Far from being confused by these experiences, by age 11 the children perform above age norms for children of a similar social background in the borough. Unusually, boys are ahead of girls in their reading performance. The children who have encountered traditional stories through two languages rather than one tell more elaborate stories. The children who tell good stories in the community's dialect of Gujerati also tell good stories in English. However due to the lack of access to literacy in Gujerati, the children find access to literary Gujerati difficult. The study was carried out in Hackney between 1996 and 2000. It investigated the language use and literacy practices of 36 children (aged three and a half, seven and eleven) from a Gujerati and Urdu speaking community. The study also found that cultural community centres play a crucial role in slowing down inter-generational language shift Families who use a community centre have more literacy materials in Gujerati and tell more stories to their children. Access to leisure activities with children who share their first language helps children maintain the use of the family language with siblings and friends. Dr Raymonde Sneddon, who carried out the study, notes that contrary to the expectation of many English teachers, children can thrive on a complex diet of language and literacy. The children in the study demonstrated a strong awareness of their different languages and considerable insight into their different uses in their every day life. Children would benefit from having their language awareness skills more readily recognised and developed in school. The study was carried out with 36 children and their families through: Questionnaires and extended interviews of children and their families / observations in school, home and community settings / tape recordings in the home and in school /analyses of children’s drawings, writing and story telling in Gujerati and English / interviews with elders of the community.

Research has shown that bilingualism is beneficial for children’s development and their future. Children exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view. But they also tend to be better than monolinguals at ‘multitasking’ and focusing attention. They are often more precocious readers, and generally find it easier to learn other languages. Bilingualism gives children much more than two languages!

More recent research also suggests that learning another language may have benefits in later life, delaying the onset of dementia symptoms, and slowing cognitive aging. The good news is that these benefits seem to exist even when people learn a second language later in life. So it is never too late – see our resources page for classes and meet up groups around Edinburgh.

As a British Pakistani myself, and a Muslim, I am deeply proud of my heritage and language. At home I speak my own languages, Punjabi and Urdu. I have always said, the more languages you know, the broader your cultural knowledge. Those who say you must only use one language narrow their perception of the world. Also, people who can learn languages are good at playing musical instruments. Languages should be taught more in school. When I speak in Arabic I feel like a poet and when in English, I feel like a philosopher. "This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive ageing occur later in bilinguals – and the onset of age-related degenerative disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are delayed in bilinguals by up to five years." We are amazed by being able to speak multilingual which is great Ever thought of the One God Creator Who made these languages.

Multi-Culturalism is even more important and crucial after 9/11, 7/7 and terrorist attacks in various European countries. Muslim youths are also likely to feel alienated by a focus on shared Britishness, rather than multicultural diversity. Rather than promoting a single British “us” teaching should acknowledge that “us” can be diverse and plural. Children should be encouraged to explore differences in appearance, history and religion to reduce social and educational fears. The pressures of multi-Culturalism, racism, bullying and Islamophobia have forced the Muslim community to set up their own schools. Does the media label the troubles in Northern Ireland as Catholic terrorism, or Protestant terrorist, or Christian terrorism? No. There is bias and hate pointed right at Islam. As for race, why did white youths attack a Sikh thinking he was a Muslim? Answer skin colour. People see someone with brown skin and a scarf or foreign clothing and automatically assume they are Muslims.

I think the problem is that, as the UK has become more and more diverse, the curriculum has become more and more restricted. Young teachers (and that's most of them) don't often have the opportunity or the courage to step away from the set learning and try something different. No fault of theirs - the fault lies in our deeply flawed system. Try learning a new language. It will open up a different culture and new ways of seeing the world to you, more fun, and more friends. I recently went to a meeting were four languages were spoken, and none of us spoke them all. But we managed, and we achieved results that could not have been achieved had we each spoken only our native language. Many workplaces function very well on more than one language. Smile Don't succumb to nativist fear!

In Finland, every child who has a mother tongue which is not Finnish or Swedish (the official languages) is entitled to two lessons per week in their native language. In my city, dozens of different languages are taught in schools under this scheme. It enables the children to maintain/improve their mother tongue language skills in an academic environment, outside the home. This can have huge benefits for the country (eg economic) as well as for the children (language learning supports overall literacy). "Bilingualism is something we usually celebrate in adults yet not always in the classroom, where English is usually prioritised." - curious to see how the word "prioritise" has acquired a bad connotation. Surely schools should be to prepare children for life not just the workplace. But in both situations knowledge of more than one language is a bonus. Recognising respecting and encouraging our community languages rather than undermining and even mocking them might be the best place to start.

Muslim children must learn and be well versed in English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they must learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry, otherwise, they would be lost in western jungle.

A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. he/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brits. British schooling has been forcing them to become notoriously monolingual Brits. It is a fact that British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist. It is a crime against humanity to deprive a child form his/her mother tongue. Arabic is a religious language and all Muslims must learn and be well versed in Arabic to recite and understand the Holy Quran.Ed is very proud of his comprehensive school because students were speaking 60 languages. After leaving school, all those who spoke different languages, could only speak English because there is no arrangement for them to learn their own languages at school. Even teachers discouraged them to speak their language in school. British schooling regards bilingualism as a problem and not an asset. The Mayor of London is the product of British schooling. He is very proud that he is unable to speak, read and write Urdu language. I do not blame him. It is the fault of the school.

Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that 'education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.'

The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs and demands. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental period' otherwise, they would be lost in the Western JUNGLE. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. At higher level of education, a Muslim teacher is not a priority.

There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies.