Last month, two brave British schoolboys were given detention because they refused to kneel down and pray to Allah during a religious-education lesson. The boys attend classes at Alsager High School near Stoke-on-Trent, situated approximately midway between Manchester and Birmingham. The local county council has a diversity curriculum that requires children be educated in the beliefs of different faiths. According to the council, this diversity education “is essential to understanding.”
As part of “understanding” Islam, the boys’ religion education class was forced to don Muslim headgear and watch a film about Muslim worship. After the film ended, the teacher produced prayer mats from her closet and said, “We are now going out to pray to Allah.” Children were then told to kneel on Muslim prayer mats and to recite a Muslim prayer.
When the two boys (11 and 12) refused to worship Allah, their teacher accused them of being disrespectful and ordered them to detention. Not satisfied that her authority over the children’s education and spiritual life was reestablished, the teacher punished the remainder of the class by depriving them of the afternoon snack.
Parents were rightly outraged. The grandfather of one child in the class described the forced worship as “absolutely disgusting, there’s no other way of putting...