Traditional Islamic Education and Mainstream Schooling in Contemporary England: Grasping the Nature of theFormer and Researching the Relationship and Interaction with the Latter
Bill Gent [+]
University of Warwick
Coming from a religious education teaching background, it is not surprising that, when he began serious research into Islamic educational provision, Bill Gent became fascinated with the experience of English Muslim school-age children and young people who, in their daily lives, participated in two major educational traditions: those often referred to as the ‘western’ secular and the ‘Islamic’ religious traditions. In order to avoid simplistic, stereotypical or essentialist perceptions of Islamic education, in this paper the author explores some of the inner dynamics of traditional Islamic approaches to education and the quest for knowledge, with particular reference to the concept of ‘the embodiment of knowledge’ which is often used as a key marker of these approaches. Using this as a foundation, he then suggests several exemplar lines of enquiry relating to the relationship between Islamic education and its encounter and possible mutually enriching coexistence with western secular education.