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Appears in:
Page: 7789 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.2076

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

ISLAMIC SCHOOLING IN THE CULTURAL WEST: A SUMMARY OF THE POLICY ISSUES CONCERNING SCHOOL CHOICE

M.D. Shakeel

University of Arkansas (UNITED STATES)
Increased Muslim immigration and conversion to Islam have influenced the rise of Islamic schools in the western countries. Islamic schools existed in the western world long before the modern era in medieval Spain. Islamic institutions became the center of learning for young scholars from Europe and many works of literature and science were translated from foreign languages to Arabic and other languages spoken in the Muslim world in the golden medieval age of Islam in the tenth and eleventh centuries (Coulson, 1999, p. 60-64). Decentralization and market orientation were the key attributes of Islamic schooling up to the eleventh century (Coulson, 1999; Durant, 1950, p. 94, 304). Thereafter, Islamic scholarship declined, reaching its nadir in the colonial era in the fifteenth to early nineteenth century. Some sources cite the number of illiterate Muslims to be approximately 40% in the current decade. On the other hand, Muslim immigrants have settled in the cultural west in increasing numbers in the last three decades and conversion to Islam has increased.

A minority of Muslims in the western countries attends Islamic schools (Merry, 2005). While only three percent of American Muslims attend privately funded Islamic schools (O'Neill, 2010, p. 5) and four percent of Dutch Muslims attend state funded and privately run Islamic schools (Kiefer, 2005), these numbers are increasing rapidly due to cultural and religious demands of the Muslim community in the last two decades. Molook (2005) describes the formation of Islamic schools in the US due to parental dissatisfaction with the traditional public school system, an alien social environment for Muslim students in public schools and concerns about assimilation. Elbih (2012) argues that Islamic schools can create well-adjusted individuals for the society who understand both religious and democratic values.

Following the demise of the Soviet Union and especially after 9/11, policymakers have viewed Islamic schools in the west with skepticism due to concerns regarding domestic and international politics, civic values and possible segregation of Muslims. Critics also accuse Islamic schools of segregating Muslim students, promoting patriarchy and authoritarianism over female students and promoting religious intolerance (Elbih, 2012). The research on Islamic schools has largely been qualitative in nature. To better understand policy relevant issues, more research is needed. Alternately, consolidation of the existing research offers insights as to variation in Islamic schooling across nations. Here, I review Islamic schools in the “cultural west.” I use the term cultural west from a traditional Islamic perspective chiefly the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Sweden, and Spain.

This review adds to the literature on Islamic schools in the cultural west by summarizing over fifty studies in English collected through google scholar (about 8360 sources including citations).

This paper summarizes literature on Islamic schools in the cultural west. Islamic schools are both formal and informal, and are schools of choice. I discuss three policy relevant issues concerning:
1) the purpose and nature of Islamic schooling,
2) parental and student preferences; and
3) the quality of Islamic schooling.

The review reveals a variation in education policy issues where some countries fund private Islamic schools and others provide Islamic religious instruction in the public schools.
@InProceedings{SHAKEEL2017ISL,
author = {Shakeel, M.D.},
title = {ISLAMIC SCHOOLING IN THE CULTURAL WEST: A SUMMARY OF THE POLICY ISSUES CONCERNING SCHOOL CHOICE},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.2076},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.2076},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {7789}}
TY - CONF
AU - M.D. Shakeel
TI - ISLAMIC SCHOOLING IN THE CULTURAL WEST: A SUMMARY OF THE POLICY ISSUES CONCERNING SCHOOL CHOICE
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.2076
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 7789
EP - 7789
ER -
M.D. Shakeel (2017) ISLAMIC SCHOOLING IN THE CULTURAL WEST: A SUMMARY OF THE POLICY ISSUES CONCERNING SCHOOL CHOICE, ICERI2017 Proceedings, p. 7789.
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