A Muslim campaign group has written to the new Education Secretary Michael Gove to object to state-aided Jewish schools promoting Zionism.Asif's organization is trying to make Gove look like a hypocrite, because Gove is on the record as being against giving public funds to Hizb ut-Tahrir schools in Britain that preach for the establishment of a unified Islamic state. Asif is facetiously claiming that support for the liberal, democratic Jewish state is equivalent to support for a pan-Islamic state that would institutionalize discrimination against women, discrimination against non-Muslims, and would severely restrict freedom of religion, the press and assembly.
Mohammed Asif, the chief executive of Engage (not to be confused with the antisemitism monitoring group of the same name), said he was "more than a little surprised" to see Zionism included as part of the ethos of several Jewish schools.
Mr Asif cited a number of Jewish schools professing explicit support for Zionism, including Manchester's King David High School, Broughton Jewish Cassel Fox Primary in Salford, and Simon Marks Jewish Primary School in Hackney, north London.
He wrote that he understood the Jewish nature of the schools, but that he would "contest the place of Zionism in the school's governing ethos".
A spokesman for the Department of Education said it had not yet had time to respond to the letter. Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, commented: "There is nothing at all remarkable or contentious in a Jewish school stressing the spiritual and historical connection of Jews to the land of Israel, and the centrality of those connections to our faith. It is those who attempt to characterise Zionism as an anathema to Judaism who are trying to score political points."
King David's website, explaining the aims of its Jewish studies programme, states that the school has "a strong Zionist ethos and all students are given the opportunity to visit Israel. A love and appreciation of Israel is woven into the curriculum."
I am a little concerned that the King David school site is down at the moment. The Google cache shows how its Zionist ethos is described:
Speaking of how awful Zionist Jewish schools are in England, there is another Jewish, Zionist school called the King David Primary School in Birmingham - and, according to an Independent article from 2007, half of the students are Muslim!
King David is a strictly Jewish school. Judaism is the only religion taught. There's a synagogue on site. The children learn modern Hebrew - Ivrit - the language of Israel. And they celebrate Israeli independence day..That must really upset Mr. Asif!
But half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority-supported school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school's catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day and hang out with the people some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world.
The Muslim parents, mostly devout and many of the women wearing the hijab, say they love the ethos of the school, and even the kosher school lunches, which are suitable because halal and kosher dietary rules are virtually identical. The school is also respectful to Islam, setting aside a prayer room for the children and supplying Muslim teachers during Ramadan. At Eid, the Muslim children are wished Eid Mubarak in assembly, and all year round, if they wish, can wear a kufi (hat). Amazingly, dozens of the Muslim children choose instead to wear the Jewish kipah.
At the prize morning Carol Cooper, the RE teacher, says: "Boker tov," (Ivrit for "Good morning").
"Good morning Mrs Cooper," the children chant in reply. The entire school, Muslims, Jews, plus the handful of Christians and Sikhs then say the Shema, the holiest Jewish prayer, all together