British Chief Rabbi Backs Teaching Islam in Jewish Schools

'It is more important than ever that our children have a better understanding of Islam and that we build strong relationships with British Muslims,' Mirvis' spokesman says.

AP

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis recommended in an interview published Wednesday that Jewish schools teach Islam.

Mirvis’s spokesperson said that teaching Islam will give children the opportunity to learn about a “poorly understood” religion.

“It is more important than ever that our children have a better understanding of Islam and that we build strong relationships with British Muslims,” a spokesman for Mirvis told the London-based Jewish Chronicle.

“As such, the Chief Rabbi has recommended that schools take this opportunity to teach students Islam, a faith which is widely discussed but often poorly understood in public discourse,” the spokesman said.

Beginning in September, British schools will be required to teach two faiths as part of their curriculum in order to receive a General Certificate of Secondary Education certification in religious studies. Religious groups had lobbied against the new requirement.

Mirvis has not issued any formal guidelines on the subject.

The requirement to teach two religions was implemented by the British government as part of efforts to counter religious extremism and promote tolerance.