Compulsory religious education ‘may breach human rights’

Secularism

Source: BBC

By Bethan Lewis, BBC Wales education and family correspondent

Making all pupils take part in religious education classes could see the Welsh Government taken to court for breaching human rights, a legal expert has warned.

Parents’ right to withdraw their children from religion lessons will be removed under Wales’ new curriculum.

But Sir Malcolm Evans said this could lead to parents taking legal action.

The Welsh Government insisted the curriculum would not breach human rights.

Currently parents are able to request their children do not take part in sex and religious education, under an opt-out arrangement.

But under the new curriculum, set to be rolled out in schools from September 2022, the lessons will be compulsory, regardless of parental objections.

Under the changes, Wales will become the first part of the UK to remove the opt-out for religious education.

Ministers have argued making the subjects mandatory ensures all children have access to important information and that it is consistent with the status of other subjects.

Sir Malcolm Evans
Image caption Sir Malcolm Evans said parents in other countries had challenged their children being made to take religion classes

But Sir Malcolm, a member of the Commission on Religious Education and Professor of Law at Bristol University, said removing the opt-out option for religious classes could breach human rights.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights parents have a right to have their children educated in accordance with their religious or philosophical convictions, which also includes non-religious belief.

Sir Malcolm said unless the Welsh Government could be “absolutely sure” the lessons were “sufficiently inclusive, plural, critical and objective” they would be open to legal challenges.

He said he agreed with the principle of delivering a broad education about different religious and faith traditions and non-faith traditions too, but problems were likely in practice.

“In my view having an opt-out is very much a safety valve,” he said.

“It is a useful and important safety valve to ensure those parents and children who genuinely find it impossible to reconcile their beliefs with the content of an education of that nature still have the right to be able to exempt themselves from those classes.

“For that is, in my view, what human rights law says they are entitled to.”

Humanists UK are also opposed to scrapping the opt-out because they fear faith schools will not provide a sufficiently broad approach to religious education.

“We are extremely concerned that, in state-funded faith schools, where teachers may instruct children from a certain religious perspective, this will be practically impossible,” Wales Humanists co-ordinator Kathy Riddick said.

“The proposed new law seriously risks exposing pupils to unlawful indoctrination.”

She urged the Welsh Government to “seriously reconsider the decision” to remove the parental right to withdraw pupils from religious education.

Read further

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

What Every Muslim, Christian and Jew needs to know: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath

Michael-Servetus-Quotes

The Prophet’s Greatest Victory According to the Quran: A Peace Treaty

Eating Beef in India; Another Reason Why World Needs Secularism in Our Global Village

In Defense of the Secular Narrative of the Holy Quran

Eating Beef in India; Another Reason Why World Needs Secularism in Our Global Village

Why Secularism Is Compatible with the Quran and Sunnah — And an ‘Islamic State’ Is Not

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles promoting secularism in every country of the world

Book Review: Muslims Learning Secularism from Jesus Son of Mary

CNN Documentary: Ultra-orthodox Jews and Israel’s Struggle with Secularism

Why Did Muhammad Fly to Jerusalem?

How can we build the Third Temple together?

The Hypocrisy of Quebec’s MNAs on Full Display in the Crucifix in the Parliament Building

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Delivers Sharp Dissent In Supreme Court Cross Case

Categories: The Muslim Times

1 reply

  1. Quote—-“We are extremely concerned that, in state-funded faith schools, where teachers may instruct children from a certain religious perspective, this will be practically impossible,” Wales Humanists co-ordinator Kathy Riddick said——-

    To be fair and honest, religious thing should not be taught in public school. I support it!

    Where dose Ahmadiyyah stand?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.