The Muslim parents

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DEFINITION OF THE RESEARCH ITEM

This paper will discuss how Muslim parents make the decision of teaching their children in both types of schools, but also on what basis they make this decision and what are the reasons behind it and whether there is a need for Islamic schools in Western countries.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

What were the reasons that Muslims embarked on building over 100 Islamic schools in order to educate their children with their required education and why there are still other Muslims who send their children to state schools. To understand their choice we have to understand what is Islamic Education is about and the resources and the philosophy of their education. There isn't a lot of documented literature about the Islamic philosophical education in the Western countries and the little available has been done by Britain. Some of these journals have talked about subjects pertaining to what Islamic schools are all about. Is it about Islamic studies or is there more to it than meets the eye? The studies undertaken are of an extremely significant subject pertaining to the Muslim society and they will highlight the issues that the younger generation of Muslims have to overcome in order to ensure that their children are exposed to the basic religious concepts of Islam. Whether it is required that the child is exposed to the religious culture and concept at that age would be a debatable subject as the upbringing of the child will be restricted to the society. In Britain the experience in seventies was different and 80% of Muslims were from India and Pakistan and the balance 20% are from other nations of the world in varying proportions. Schools in the period of the 70's were more on the lines of culture rather than religion.

LITERATURE REVIEW

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Muslim parents living in countries that adopt the Western lifestyle, including Australia are faced with the difficult choice of deciding where to send their children for regular education as well as Islamic education. Parents often want to send their children to a full time Islamic school for studies or to send state schools. The question that arises is why Muslim parents will opt to send their offspring to study in a full time Islamic school over the state schools and this presents the question-do they want to raise their children with religious beliefs or do they just want to find a community that makes them feel accepted and wanted? Muslim parents that opt to send their children to study in Islamic schools are excluding them from interacting with other children from different cultures, primarily Western and this prevents the child from learning about the Western lifestyle and creating their own Islamic community within it.

On the other hand, the Muslim families who send their child to the state schools provide the child the opportunity to a weekly class of religious studies. In Britain, the Muslims send their children to government schools and then they teach them at home or in the mosques. Like any other normal school in the world, in state schools, children would often face problems like discriminating or bullying based upon their religious orientation. The damage whether it is psychological or physical can impact on the behavior and can influence the Muslim student's performance in the classroom. From the Muslim parents' perspective, the knowledge that their children would receive is going to be through a secular perspective and this often will be open and unbiased towards any particular religion as it would be more attuned to the Western philosophy. This does not settle down well with parents of Muslim children as a Western teaching philosophy would be against the Theological teaching of Islam and sideline the Islamic teachings. In Britain, mosques play a big role for Muslim children to receive Islamic studies after school time but in Australia the majority of Muslims I have met teach their children either at home or they send their children to a Muslim school.

The Muslim population in Australia has grown by 69.4% over a period from 1996 through to 2006. There are 360,000 people that are identified Muslims living in Australia. Their diverse communities are concentrated mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. Since the 1970 Muslims established Islamic schools and more than 100 mosques and pray centers (Department of the Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Australian government).

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Were schools built on basic Islamic foundation or on strong, ethnic and racial structures? Some of the Muslims parents of the first and the second generation born in Britain were not educated in Islam themselves but their belief structures were highly influenced from their culture. The parents' belief structure may correspond to the life experiences of those living in rural Pakistan or India. As a result they do not accord with the life experiences of those who have been born and raised in the West (Gilliat, 1994, p. 173). However, there are other Islamic schools that started to move away from the cultural background and have tried to develop into a more integrated and interracial British oriented Muslim School. An example of this is the Islamic School on London that was set up by Yusuf Islam (formerly the singer Cat Stevens). The schools have children from 25 different nationalities (Ghaffar, 1997, p160) and the big question is: Did the Muslims in Australia get to go through the same experience as well as those in Britain? In other words do they have Muslims schools or do they identify the schools based upon categorization based upon the nature of studies being conducted? I couldn't find enough studies about the purposes of building Islamic schools in Australia but through some research on the internet. It was obvious that the Islamic schools through their portals do not talk about and support any kind of ethical stereotyping based upon religion and nationality. This was substantiated by interviews of the target sector as well. Their education methods and policies are based upon Islamic values. The subject has a lot of scope for further studies and required further research (Hatina, 2006).

From one of the journals, there was an article on an Australian adopting Muslim values. The author had an interview with one of the Bangladeshi's background in Perth on which she noted that Australian values are also universal values:

As Kabir (2008), stated, Australia is actually a home to people from various background and various countries and when these people moved from their land they were not only bringing exposure to other cultures upon themselves, but they bring with them their values from their own countries. Australian values are really just a collection of these values. For example, the value of giving everyone a fair go, is very much Australian but it is something that is universally acceptable.

CONCLUSION

Obviously all the discussion about how Islamic education can't be separated from political point of view because of the different Islamic perspectives and way of life is to explore the possibilities for creating an environment that will safeguard the rights of the Muslims children's education and satisfy Australia's Muslim community without inventing their own environment and excluding the children from the western society while preserving their Islamic identity. To create such an environment to Muslim's family in Australia we have to build a bridge of interaction with the philosophers of the Islam and the west and find a new way that is accessible to western thoughts without changing the principles and essential values of Islam (Alavi, 2008).

We have to remember that someone who is not an Australian, is also someone who is not a Bangladeshi, or not an Indian or not an Afghan, because each of these countries they represent have the same sort of acceptance of the same sort of universal values that define society. In an interview conducted by a journalist Nahid Afrose on the subject "Are young Muslims adopting Australian values" that was conducted on 6th of May 2006 provided an insight about the mindset of young Muslims living in Australia. It revealed that Muslims living in Australia don't face any discrimination and ethnic based problems due to their diversity of the nationalities in Australia. The journals talks about the political point of view of the Muslims value as a lot of articles and books do. The article can't tell much about the Education but i was able to understand that that was one of the reasons that Muslim parents based their choice of schools. Through her study she mentioned that all of the 32 children of the study are in state schools because they come from lower socio economic status. It is approved that one of the issues of Muslims choice is an economic reasons because of the high fees of the Islamic schools (Gardner & Rod et.al 2008).

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What were the reasons that Muslims embarked on building over 100 Islamic schools in order to educate their children with their required education and why there are still other Muslims who send their children to state schools? To understand their choice we have to understand what is Islamic Education is about and the resources and the philosophy of their education. There isn't a lot of documented literature about the Islamic philosophical education in the Western countries and the little available has been done by Britain. Some of these journals have talked about subjects pertaining to what Islamic schools are all about. Is it about Islamic studies or is there more to it than meets the eye? The studies undertaken are of an extremely significant subject pertaining to the Muslim society and they will highlight the issues that the younger generation of Muslims have to overcome in order to ensure that their children are exposed to the basic religious concepts of Islam. Whether it is required that the child is exposed to the religious culture and concept at that age would be a debatable subject as the upbringing of the child will be restricted to the society. In Britain the experience in seventies was different and 80% of Muslims were from India and Pakistan and the balance 20% are from other nations of the world in varying proportions. Schools in the period of the 70's were more on the lines of culture rather than religion.