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‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Can’t Ofsted distinguish between a Sunday school and a Salafist madrassa?


Sunday School is getting scary. Not because freckle-faced Poppy and dopey-eyed Jack are trembling with fear as Miss Josie regales them with nail-biting stories of Daniel in the lion’s den. Poppy and Jack are fearless. They watch creepy Harry Potter videos more than they read the Bible. What then? Sunday School is getting scary because they are churning out jihadis by the thousands! Ofsted is worried.

On Sunday morning after the 7-year olds at St Dodo’s by the Wardrobe have sung their ‘action song’ on Noah’s Flood, ‘The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky, build it out of hickory barky’, they make little plasticine models of Jurassic animals marching two-ey two-ey into Noah’s arky barkey.

Then comes the scary bit. Like nimble-footed ninjas, Miss Josie and the girls, dart behind a screen and drape burkhas over their faces. Joey and Jack—the only boys in the class—pick up toy AK-47 rifles and fire blanks into the air—like Palestinians celebrating a suicide bombing. ‘Whaddya wanna be for Jesus?’ yells veiled Miss Josie, emerging from behind the screen. ‘I’m gonna be a Jihadi for Jesus!!!’ shout Joey and Jack. ‘Who-ya-gonna-kill for Jeee-sus?’ yells Miss Josie. ‘I’m gonna kill infidels for Jesus!!!’ shout Joey and Jack.

Breathless with excitement, the class settles down to watch an Omar Bakri Salafist video in Arabic with English subtitles. The class ends with the kids singing a revised version of a popular hymn accompanied by a twanging ukulele.

Jesus loves me this I know

For the Koran tells me so

Shariah law by far is best

We will wear a suicide bomber’s vest.

Now you know why Ofsted inspectors have been prowling round and round like the hosts of Midian inspecting Sunday Schools in bulletproof vests? Quite right. These madrassas are not conforming to ‘British values’! ‘If you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down,’ says the government!

These draconian laws would apply to any institution in England that provides instruction to children for more than 6 hours a week. They would also apply to youth groups, holiday Bible clubs, church weekends and summer camps, as well as to a vast number of different voluntary groups, warns the Christian Institute. Last month Christian Concern said that the government is to push ahead with its nefarious plans to inspect church youth groups and other youth activities.

So Ofsted Obergruppenführer Otto Smith could walk into Jihadi Street Baptist Church in Bradfordstan and question children without their parents present, as has already happened in some schools. He could ask little-lisping Mary to name the gender of the animals waltzing two-by-two into Noah’s ark. If Mary’s answer did not include at least some of the animals being transgender, cis-gender, bi-gender, a-gender, pan-gender or at least some of the 58 gender options listed on Facebook, Obergruppenführer Smith could report Mary and her teacher and Jihadi Street Baptist Church Sunday School could face closure.

The story of Adam and Eve could be deemed offensive to same-sex marriage unless accompanied by a more inclusive narrative of the gay couple Adam and Steve or the lesbian couple Madam and Eve. And any teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation would be highly unacceptable. How dare you offend those Hindus in Neasden and Wembley who believe in 33 million gods?

Ofsted will be looking for any ‘emotional harm’ to children, says a consultation paper. So even if Bart Simpson considers hell to be ‘cooooooooool’, Ned Flanders could be banned from teaching Sunday School because Lisa Simpson, Bart’s sensitive sister, has had her feelings hurt and her safe space invaded by the micro-aggression of hate speech because Mr Flanders implied that Buddhists might go to hell without first giving the class a trigger warning.

So why is the government using a steamroller to flatten a pancake? When Sir Michael Wilshaw, Head of Ofsted, was asked why he could not just focus on the real problem of Muslim madrassas, he said there needed to be an “even-handed” approach. Is Mr Wilshaw a multi-culturalist gone mad? Does this over-paid, under-brained, Quango-heading bureaucrat who grew up Roman Catholic and was head teacher of St Bonaventure’s Catholic School in Forest Gate, London, not know the difference between a Sunday School and a Salafist madrassa?

If only he would drop in on a liberal Church of England Sunday School class, he would be lost in wonder, love and goo because he would find his multiculturalist curriculum already being taught by the loony luvvy lefty feminist ‘wimmin’ vicar with Sunday School modules on the religion of niceness, and the fifth gospel according to St Marx and a more recent module on ‘How to Feel Good about your Bodies’ for anorexic girls in Gloucester produced by the Bishopess of Self-Esteem Rachel Treweek.

If Sir Michael can comprehend serious writing, I sincerely recommend that he read the book titled The Strange Death of Moral Britain by Christie Davies of Reading University. Prof Davies breaks the social history of Britain over the last century and a half into three periods. The first period, from 1860 to 1905, saw rising religious observance, falling crimes of violence and dishonesty, and falling birth rate outside marriage. The second period, from 1905 to 1960, saw religious observance falling slowly, illegitimacy remaining low (except during wartime), and drug and alcohol abuse continuing to fall. The third period, from 1960 to the present, shows religious observance and church membership falling rapidly, crimes of violence and dishonesty rising rapidly, birth rates outside marriage also rising rapidly, and drug and alcohol abuse rising as well.

What has been responsible for the moral ascent and decline? Davies’ research points to Sunday School attendance. While Sunday School did not result in an increase in church attendance, it indisputably produced generations which valued “comparative cleanness, truthfulness, kindness and beneficence” as the leader of the Sunday School Union described the people of Great Britain in 1910.

It was the people who emerged from this teaching that fought two World Wars and survived the hardships of the inter-war years. Robert Raikes, founder of the Sunday School, did not start this movement to convert young people to Christianity necessarily but rather to save them from a life of crime.

If Ofsted has its way, the very movement that kept children from crime will run the risk of being criminalised itself. And that is far more terrifying than Muslim madrassas indoctrinating children with jihadi ideology.

(Image: NoirKitsuné)

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‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes
‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes
The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes, BA, BD, MTh, PhD (Cantab) is a journalist and academic.

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