British Chief Rabbi Backs Teaching Islam In Jewish Schools


Chief Rabbi Ephraim MirvisBritish Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has recommended that Jewish schools teach Islam as part of the new GCSE religious studies curriculum which requires them to teach a second faith.

Rabbi Mirvis and other Orthodox groups had originally lobbied against the changes to the course, which come into effect next September.

But he has now made a virtue of necessity and said that teaching Islam will give children the opportunity to learn about a “poorly understood” religion.

Children had previously had the option of concentrating only on their own faith for GCSE religious studies but the government now says that at least 25 per cent of the course must be allocated to another religion.

A spokesman for Rabbi Mirvis explained: “Losing 25 percent of the time allotted for teaching Jewish studies as part of the religious studies GCSE was a serious loss for Jewish education in our schools.”

But he added: “It is more important than ever that our children have a better understanding of Islam and that we build strong relationships with British Muslims.

“As such, the Chief Rabbi has recommended that schools take this opportunity to teach students Islam, a faith which is widely discussed but often poorly understood in public discourse.”

The change in the curriculum would provide “a valuable opportunity”, he said.

“Although the Chief Rabbi has not issued any formal guidance on this issue — since, ultimately, it is for the schools themselves to judge how best to tailor their curriculum — we have had a series of positive discussions with a number of our schools and made recommendations to them.”

The government ordered the change as part of its moves to counter religious extremism and promote tolerance.

But the Chief Rabbi argued last year that Jewish schools needed the course time to be devoted to Jewish studies in a crowded GCSE timetable.

When the proposal to teach a second faith as part of the GCSE religious studies curriculum was announced in September last year, it prompted fury from some religious groups.


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  1. Actually, it’s not forbidden to learn about other religions, when you show how ridiculous / stupid / illogical / evil (your pick, add as necessary) they are. However, it requires a knowledge of arabic and their kuran, to point out all of their ridiculous etc. parts. I think there are some converts who could do the job, but not many.

  2. That is not being pragmatic. They should have made a stand. Next, the government will present even more unacceptable demands; and it will be much harder to resist, as there already is a precedent of the Jewish schools falling into teaching avoida zora according to some rishonim, shtusim according to others. Kissing up to the death cult that hates us as an inherent part of their religion, will never lead to anything good. Giving in to the incremental strategy of the socialists-fascists, can only lead to disaster.

  3. Dear Matzav.
    Please get rid of the advertisement (“can you guess which is a real prize) at the bottom of the page. It is extremely annoying.
    Thank you.

  4. The one Jewish school in Ireland has been teaching about other religions for generations. And Christian schools in Ireland teach about Judaism — using a curriculum developed by former chief rabbis there. (Over 90% of Irish schools are Christian.) This is what happens when you accept government money.