Just over 100 people gathered together, on the evening of July 18th, to discuss some of the challenging influences which are impacting on our children and young people in modern society. The number of people attending, both young and old, reflected the genuine concern felt by so many regarding internet safety, pornography, the impact of Relationship and Sex Education in schools on small children, and other related topics. Among the audience were a number of Muslim friends, particularly from the UK Islamic Mission and Clifton Road Mosque community, as well as several people from the Somali and Yemeni communities. They and many others come from countries and communities where the traditional two-parent family is still very highly valued, having great concern about the liberal agenda being thrust upon our younger children, in the name of equality and human rights.
We began with a short presentation about Internet Safety from Naeema and Shabina, who have done a lot of research into this area, asking us, as parents, if we were familiar with the influence which social media has on our children. They highlighted some of the ways in which we can be more aware, and how to make things safer for our children, and gave out valuable information both during and after the meeting.
Shreen Mahmood then took us through a series of powerpoint slides about the government’s Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) material, which will be compulsory in both Primary and Secondary Schools in September 2020. She highlighted how schools must develop their own RSE policy and curriculum, and should work and consult with parents on these matters, encouraging parents to get involved individually or as a group, to make sure they are comfortable with what will be taught, and the kind of resources which will be used, particularly as the government is removing the parents’ right of withdrawal from this highly sensitive area. (www.StopRSE.com)
The third speaker, David Earle, spoke first about the international dimension of pornography, and relationship education, highlighting the aggressive Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) agenda which has been thrust upon the United Nations, in some cases threatening the withdrawal of aid if a country does not agree to implement CSE in their education system! Again, under the banner of equality and human rights, it seeks to promote the sexualisation of young people rather than modesty, immediate self- gratification rather than restraint, and an individualistic rather than a family-based lifestyle. David recommended watching a shocking 11-minute video, summarising the above, which can be found on the website www.schoolgatecampaign.org It details how a so-called evidence-based agenda is, in fact, based on the work of one individual, Dr Alfred Kinsey, who’s work has been shown to be fundamentally flawed, eg using biased figures from a higher than average number of homosexuals, as well as prostitutes and convicted criminals in his statistical analysis. (See the link referenced at the end of this report). David then went on to speak about a Character Education curriculum, offered to many countries at a summit meeting in Senegal last year. It helps young people to reflect on what it means to become a good person, finding the right balance between my individual purpose in life, and my purpose in relation to others : my family, my community, society and my nation. It also emphasises the central importance of the family in society, and how children’s love, sibling love, conjugal love and parental love all progressively build on one another, ideally leading us to relate to people in society with true friendship and respect, motivated by a heart which wants to live for the sake of others. It places sexuality, trust and true freedom firmly within the framework of the family, and argues that family-building is ‘nation-building’. It then becomes clear that forces which sexualise and individualise people are potentially destructive, and will fragment society.
Patricia then opened the floor for questions and comments, which led to a number of passionate contributions, particularly from concerned mothers, some of whom have children in Birmingham schools which have become the centre of controversy. We concluded with a general consensus that :
- In some cases, schools have introduced controversial material, especially in Primary Schools, with little or no consultation with the childrens’ parents, resulting in mistrust and public protest.
- Some material being used in Primary Schools is wholly inappropriate for children as young as 4,5 and 6 years old, both the actual content and with no framework of values to guide their understanding.
- Removing the parents right to withdraw their children, given the sensitivities involved, has only added to the controversy.
- While one of the aims of RSE has been to create a more ‘inclusive’ society, the actual outcome is potentially fragmenting and divisive, causing difficulties between children and their parents, and between parents and the school.
The discussion could have continued much longer, given the strength of feelings in the audience, but we concluded by having Viola sing for us, bringing a calming influence, after which we had an announcement about the Young Women’s Speech Contest on August 28th at 7.00pm, then continuing our discussions informally, sharing food together and networking. All in all, a very productive evening. Thanks to all who participated, and made a contribution.