London: Scotland`s first Islamic secondary school is set to open in Glasgow by a group of Muslim parents.
The Glasgow Community Education Association (GCEA) has bought Abbotsford House, a former state school in the Gorbals, for 400,000 pounds and plans to rename the B-listed Victorian building The Islamic Institute. It will offer private secondary education to boys and girls, as well as a nursery, reports the Scotsman.
The school will be funded by parents, businessmen and members of Glasgow`s Muslim community.
A spokesperson for the GCEA confirmed that the building has been purchased, and that they are now focused on getting the project moving forward. He said he hopes it will be a very successful centre of learning.
The GCEA has in the past claimed that attending mainstream schools was resulting in "unsocial behaviour" among Glasgow`s Muslim youngsters.
However, the establishment of the school raises questions over inclusivity and whether denominational learning could cause rifts within the community.
Glasgow MSP Hanzala Malik last year disputed the need for a Muslim school in Glasgow, saying he was a firm believer in public education and urging those behind such plans to redirect their energy into improving mainstream provision.
Previous attempts to establish Muslim secondary schools in Scotland have been unsuccessful. Both the Iqra Academy in Glasgow and the Imam Muhammad Zakariya School for girls in Dundee closed after receiving negative inspection reports.
The Iqra Academy, which shut in 2003, was criticised by inspectors for giving pupils no opportunity to mix with the local community and for its treatment of girls at the school.
However, more recently the Qalam Academy has been set up in Glasgow`s Pollokshields, and an independent Islamic Educational Institute is providing primary education.
There are already a number of Islamic secondary school s in England. They include the Darul Uloom Islamic High School in Birmingham dubbed the "Eton of Islam".