UK warns to shut down religious schools teaching intolerance

 Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday announced a major crackdown on madrassas and other religious schools in the UK that teach children intolerance, warning that they will be shut down.

PTI| Updated: Oct 07, 2015, 20:44 PM IST

London: Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday announced a major crackdown on madrassas and other religious schools in the UK that teach children intolerance, warning that they will be shut down.

Cameron, speaking at the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester, promised to open up these religious schools to scrutiny.

"Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at a madrassa? Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it's at madrassas, Sunday schools or Jewish yeshivas.

But in some madrassas, we've got children being taught that they shouldn't mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people," the Conservative party leader told his party delegates.

"These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened, not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.

So I can announce this today: if an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected. And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down," he said.

The Conservative British Prime Minister went on to make a direct attack on the Leader of the Opposition, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, as "terrorist-sympathising" and got a standing ovation from Conservative members.

"Thousands of words have been written about the new Labour leader. But you only really need to know one thing: he thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a 'tragedy'. We cannot let that man inflict his security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology on the country we love," he said.

In the speech, Cameron said he would create a "Greater Britain" before leaving office before the 2020 national election.

Laying out the grounds for his legacy as Britain's Prime Minister, he said he wanted his time in power to be remembered as a "defining decade for our country, the turnaround decade...One which people will look back on and say, 'that's the time when the tide turned, when people no longer felt the current going against them, but working with them'."

He addressed criticism of his response to the Syrian refugee crisis, saying: "If we opened the door to every refugee, our country would be overwhelmed."

He also announced "dramatic" planning reforms to increase home ownership across Britain.

Under the new plans, builders in England will no longer be forced to offer low-cost rented homes in new developments.

Instead they will be able to offer "starter homes" for first-time buyers under 40 as well, at discounted prices.

The price of the "starter homes" after the discount is applied will be capped at 250,000 pounds and 450,000 pounds in London - and those who buy them will be prevented from selling them for a quick profit under the new policy, which aides say will provide 200,000 new homes by 2020.