The issue of “unregistered schools”, at least the political and media spheres, has focussed largely on Muslims. More specifically, this has been peppered and spiced, particularly by Ofsted’s Michael Wilshaw with the rhetoric of pupil “vulnerability” to “extremism”. As I have previously catalogued, this accompanying rhetoric is nearly always focussed on the Muslim community and swift action is seen through various, thoroughly publicised communiques between Ofsted and the Department for Education. The issue of unregistered schools in the Haredi community, despite the religious group holding views clearly violating the PREVENT-based “British values”, is never coloured with the brush of possible terrorism. The same is also true of Christian “unregistered” set-ups.
The official state social engineering policy of muscular liberalism remains flexed when it comes to Muslims. But only for Muslims.
According to a report by the Independent, a senior education official at a council meeting admitted earlier this week that the number of Orthodox Jewish schools believed to be operating illegally in the east London borough Hackney now outstripped those which are legal. The report also highlights the some of the experiences at the school:
One former pupil at an illegal school in Hackney told The Independent he was regularly subject to “physical and psychological abuse”.
“They went to extreme length to stop us learning English,” he said. “Education is all about preparing people to make their own choices. The very ethos of these schools is to do the exact opposite and to isolate people from secular society.”
There are claims of “psychological and physical abuse” yet the reaction from the Department for Education and the media continues to remain inert. This, despite the fact that there is a history of reports highlighting Jewish children being subjected to corporal punishment along with a history of comparative irresponsiveness and downright blind-spotting by the media, DfE and Ofsted. In 2014, I covered how there was no public outcry by Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted, the DfE or the mainstream media over the Ofsted report finding that pupils at Talmud Torah Chaim Meirim Wiznitz School in Lampard Road, Stamford Hill were having their hands slapped as punishment. Two years later, the Jewish charity GesherEU Support Network published findings that unregistered Orthodox schools and yeshivot (Orthodox Jewish religious schools) are using corporal punishment on their pupils. A former pupil claimed, that the attitude towards other people and cultures “was absolutely negative”:
“We were bred in racism, sexism and bigotry”.
Further, there are claims that these issues have historically not been confronted because the government fears being “pilloried as antisemitic.” There are even allegations that the DfE has been “covering up” evidence that over 1,000 pupils, reported missing at school, were actually being educated at “illegal” faith establishments.
There has been no bloated coverage in the Daily Mail or its posher cousin, the Times, contextualising the findings as a demonstration of a “nation within a nation” with “regressive attitudes” emerging, and neither are there “extremism concerns” despite evidence pointing towards Jewish children being nurtured into “bigotry” of various types. David Cameron has not narrated tales of hapless Jews unable to speak English thereby increasing their susceptibility to “extremism”. There are no calls for the Jewish community to adhere to “British values”. Indicative of this light-touch treatment in the Orthodox Jewish context is the absence of the term “extremism” in the Independent article. In other words, Muslims experience the full wrath of muscular liberalism, whilst the same various muscle groups constituted of the various government departments and the media become distinctly fatigued and dystrophic in exerting liberalism upon the Orthodox Jewish community.
I do not want the Orthodox Jewish community to be subjected to political witch-hunts and smear pieces like the Muslim minority. The issue is the neocon state’s evident motivation to abuse the Muslim minority as a political football to justify draconian policies like PREVENT and forge a radical national identity which is now doing wonders over in the US. The political and media-generated hyperbole, coupled with the default counter-terrorism rhetoric reserved for Muslims and demonstrably absent in the case of Orthodox Judaism is a trend which continually proves the structurally discriminatory treatment and stigmatization of the Muslim minority.