The British Muslim Forum (BMF), which is an independent, national representative umbrella body, has published its response to the government consultation ‘Out-of-school education settings: call for evidence’. The consultation seeks responses by 11 January 2016 regarding the government’s proposals for requiring certain out-of-school education settings to register and be subject to risk-based inspections.

In a detailed response document released earlier today, the BMF has set out its point of view regarding the consultation and the government’s proposals. It has discussed the need for greater clarity, fairness and maintaining a correct balance as regards freedom of religion in Great Britain, which it says is ‘one of its prominent national characteristics on the world stage’. Whilst examining the details of the proposals, the BMF has presented its views on matters of governance, children’s welfare and countering extremism.

In its response, the British Muslim Forum has called for an independent commission to be established comprising of representation from all faiths and of no faith, the role of which would be to oversee the entire process of regulation, registration and inspections of all out-of-school education settings. It further called for any proposed measures in this regard to be applicable to all settings, religious and non-religious, belonging to any and every faith and to no faith.

The response highlights the critical need for mosques and madrasahs to be clearly seen as being solution providers to the problem of extremism and radicalisation, rather than being a problem. This is supported by the findings of the MI5 report on ‘understanding radicalisation and violent extremism in the UK’ previously published by The Guardian.

The British Muslim Forum further has called for the government to provide support for mosques and places of worship to increase security measure in light of far right extremism and growing Islamophobia as well as anti-Muslim hatred. As there is no credible communication channel between the government and mosques and madrasahs, the BMF has proposed an advisory group to be set up for this purpose to work under the independent commission in building a dialogue with governmental departments and mosques and madrasahs.

The British Muslim Forum encourages its members as well as all mosques, madrasahs and out-of-school settings to respond to the consultation.

To view the full BMF response, click here.

To view the consultation document ‘Out-of-school education settings: call for evidence’, click here.

To view the government consultation and download response form, click here.

​To view the Government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy, click here