Extremism Consultation - Please Take Action
Urgent Call to Action E-Letter – Extremism Consultation
Warm greetings from CARE this Christmas time!
One of the great challenges facing governments across the Western world is how best to respond to violent Islamic extremism and the radicalisation of their own citizens.
A key part of the British Government’s response is to require all organisations that teach children and young people outside school to respect British values. In his Conservative Party conference speech this year, David Cameron said: ‘If an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected. And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.’
The Government has now launched a public consultation on this proposal saying it will apply to all provision in England which ‘entails an individual child attending a setting for more than between 6 to 8 hours a week.’ It proposes that all such out of school education be subject to Ofsted inspections. If a provider is deemed to be promoting teaching that is contrary to British values then action will be taken against them which may involve banning a particular individual from working in such a context or the shutting of premises for specific purposes.
These proposals are a major concern for Christians and churches for at least two reasons:
Churches and para-church bodies will be caught by these proposals. If a young person attends a morning and evening service and a mid-week youth club then they would cross the six hour threshold. Christian youth camps and holiday bible clubs would similarly become subject to Ofsted inspections.
No attempt has been made to define ‘intolerance’ or what British values are. Given the hostility of Ofsted to Christian and Jewish schools in the last year, it is hard to imagine them taking kindly to a church teaching that Jesus is the only way to God, or that the only place for sexual activity is within heterosexual marriage.
In our view the Government is in danger of developing a response to extremism that, through its extraordinary intrusiveness, is ironically also in danger of threatening British values.
We believe that there is now an urgent need for Christians from right across England to respond to the consultation. This is our opportunity to leave the Government in no doubt whatsoever that there is no public appetite for this kind of policy.
Please would you take time to respond?
CARE has produced two guides to help you respond to the consultation, depending on how much time you have. If you are pressed for time then please click here. If you have longer, then please click here.
Given that many people living in the other UK nations will draw on similar services when visiting friends and family in England, it would be helpful for CARE supporters from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to also respond. In doing so it would be great if you could express your concerns that this initiative is being taken forward in the name of ‘British values,’ in which you have a stake and, if relevant, that you use these services when visiting England.
Thank you for standing with us on this important matter.
Yours in Christ,
Chief Executive and Head of Public Affairs
PS You might also like to read this very important article about the issue from Fiona Bruce MP
, Christian Action Research and Education
, Education & Family
, Education and Family
, Nola Leech