The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has endorsed a newly released video advocating for “Special Religious Instruction” for Muslim children in state schools.
ICV is seeking donations and volunteers so that they can have an Islamic version of the Christian program run by ACCESS Ministries.
The video claims that there are 25,000 children who need “Islamic SRI”. See video here:
The video includes the voice of an unidentified school principal who says that during SRI all the Muslim kids must be sent to the library. This kind of segregation should be stopped by ending SRI, not by encouraging more of it. There is no way that schools can cater to the increasing religious diversity in our secular schools, and children would benefit more from learning about different religions, rather than being instructed the one practiced in their home. The solution is to trust families to secure religious instruction from their religious community of choice.
FIRIS has contacted the ICV asking for its support for the abolition of the SRI program in Victoria – a program that encourages religious division among children.
Unfortunately, ICV has rejected our appeal, and is going ahead with a plan to recruit volunteers to run Islamic SRI.
SRI is an outdated and flawed model of segregated, unprofessional religious instruction, which encourages religious organisations to divide up students according to their religious identity.
Rather than uphold the principle of secular education and trust families to attend to the religious formation of our own children, whether we are Christian, Islamic or another religion (or no religion at all), this “them and us” approach to religious teaching imposes on families and divides children according to their religions. Special interest groups like ACCESS Ministries, and now Arkan Toledo, can easily offer programs outside of the compulsory school day and most families eagerly participate in after school programs all the time.
Please help FIRIS speak out about this increasing competition for our crowded curriculum by volunteers organized by religious groups.
Contact details for the ICV can be located here