Muslim schools in Britain have emerged as a highly salient issue that at times reinforces, and at other times cuts across, political and philosophical divides. It therefore comes as some surprise to learn that despite a general proliferation of literature on Muslims in Britain very little research has explicitly investigated how increasingly salient articulations of Muslim identities connect with the issue of Muslim schooling. To be sure, and notwithstanding sustained Muslim mobilizations for Muslim schools within and across diverse Muslim communities, surprisingly little is known of how these mobilizations are being undertaken, what is being sought, and, more generally, why Muslim schools are deemed to be an important issue for different Muslim communities. By drawing upon two years of fieldwork, this article addresses these questions through the use of primary interviews with Muslim educators and stakeholders concerned with voluntary aided schooling, including teachers and Muslim educational associations, alongside other case study instruments including field notes, and documentary and policy analysis. The article concludes that through an engagement with a range of established educational conventions, norms, regulations and precedents, the testimonies of Muslim educators betray emerging syntheses between faith requirements and citizenship commitments that are seeking out negotiated, and reciprocal, British Muslim identities.
- faith schools
- cultural identity