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Christian hymns dropped from Anglican school where 75 percent of pupils are Muslim

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a bid to reflect the mores of the majority, Christian hymns have been dropped from assemblies at a Church of England school as 75 percent of the pupils there are Muslim. In addition, separate prayer rooms for girls and boys have been introduced to better reflect the Muslim majority in attendance.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Assemblies at Slough and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College are not based specifically on the Bible, but may make reference to it alongside other religious texts.

Bowing to Muslim dietary requirements, the meat served at the secondary school, which has over 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 19, is halal.

Headmaster Paul McAteer said the approach was to be "sensitive to the fact that we do have many different faiths in the school." As justification, he added that Christian values were "more prevalent here than I have experienced in non-Church of England schools."

McAteer also stresses that the Church of England describes itself as "a faith for all faiths . The values we support are very much Christian values of honesty, integrity, justice."
 
According to the school's prospectus its assemblies - which McAteer said contain a "moral message" - reflect humanitarian and spiritual issues "that concern everyone."

The gender-separated prayer rooms at Slough and Eton, McAteer says were not specifically for Muslim pupils, but said that it tended to be Muslim children that use them.

He said 20 male students would typically attend a lunchtime Islamic prayer session at the Berkshire school.

One of the school aims outlined on its mission statement is "to promote tolerance and respect for all cultures represented in the school."

Judged "outstanding" by Ofsted in May 2011 and it was awarded, the college received the same rating after a Church of England inspection the following month.

Collective worship at the school is broadly Christian, and assemblies are based on Christian principles but are "designed to value and not exclude any other faith," the prospectus states.

According to the Church of England, a substantial number of primary and secondary church schools, both voluntary controlled and voluntary aided, have over 80 per cent intake from the Muslim community.

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