Stoke & Staffordshire

Muslim body 'not part' of schools advice

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) says it was not not involved in the preparation of Ramadan guidelines from a council to schools in Stoke-on-Trent.

The city council's 11-page guide suggested swimming lessons should stop during Ramadan to ensure Muslim pupils "did not swallow water".

The council said it was based on information from the MCB.

The MCB said part of the guide appeared to be based on one of its documents, but other parts differed.

During the month of Ramadan Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn until dusk.

'Broad spectrum of views'

It is expected start on about 11 August this year.

The council guide suggests re-scheduling sex education classes during the holy lunar month, as Muslims who have reached puberty are required to avoid sexual thoughts during this period.

As some Muslim pupils could get up before dawn to eat with their families during Ramadan - to avoid eating during daylight hours - the council guide suggests examinations could be re-scheduled.

A spokesman for the MCB said: "Stoke-on-Trent have recently published guidelines for Ramadan to assist schools in the city deal with issues arising for Muslim students.

"The MCB was not involved in the preparation of the guidelines issued in Stoke, but assumes some sections refer to our earlier guidance document, Towards Greater Understanding (2007).

"There are some differences in this document from the advice given by Stoke, such as the guidance on examinations, which our guidance document merely suggests "appropriate consideration" should be given to.

"The guidelines were designed to reflect the views of a broad spectrum of Muslim parents.

"The document aimed to give context behind the wishes of those parents who wished for their children to adhere to certain interpretations of Islamic practise."

The city council said in a statement: "We support the views expressed by the MCB and stress the eventual published document issued will be purely for discussion and guidance."

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