London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667
Open Letter to Language Supremo
English alone is not enough. The mastery of at least two languages as well as the mother tongue is essential to secure the future of British society. The European Commission is also actively encouraging memberís states to promote the early teaching of languages. Learning languages is not just about being able to speak, it is about respect and knowledge of different cultures as well.
The British Government for reluctant Brits to learn foreign languages right from age seven has appointed language Supremo. He will make sure that each and every child from the age of seven will have the chance to learn a foreign language. Nearly three-quarters of the British public think everyone should speak a foreign language, but only one third actually does.
The first wave of Muslim immigrants arrived with two or three languages including English but their British born educated children could only speak English in local accents. Muslim children need to learn Standard English. Muslim children from the Indian sub-continent should be taught Arabic and Urdu languages right from age five. It will make them read and understand the Holy Quran, Islamic literature and poetry. They will not find themselves cut off from their cultural roots. It will be easy for them to have reasonable conversations with their parents and elders. They will not be a laughing stock while visiting their homeland for speaking English in local accents.
There is a great demand for individuals affluent in English and Urdu by educational institutions, British Foreign Service, armed forces, TV Channels, Radio Stations, service industries and film industry. Since DFEE and state schools have failed to teach community languages, therefore, British Muslim youth as well as other Asians could not become language teachers, unable to work for Asian TVs, film industry and Radio Stations. It is difficult to find a writer or a poet or a singer of Urdu language
In my opinion, English, Arabic and Urdu languages should be taught side by side from an early age of five to Muslim children. Muslim teachers from abroad may be recruited because local teachers are in scarcity and difficult to find. They are in a better position to assist class teachers in the teaching of National Curriculum. Infact, they will prove to be a bridge between the two cultures. It will pave a way for respect and better understanding between the Muslim community and the host community which is at its bottom for the time being. I hope Language Supremo will look carefully to my proposals.