Is it ok for Muslim parents to stop their kids having non-Muslim pals?

Is it ok for Muslim parents to stop their kids having non-Muslim pals? By Mary Wakefield in the UK.

Quite by coincidence and on separate occasions, in the past month I’ve met two (non-Muslim) women whose children have had trouble at Muslim-dominated state schools. The kids made friends easily in their first term, said the mothers, but as the months went by it became harder to stay pals. Their schoolmates never invited them home, nor would they come round for playdates or parties. The friendships faded away and the kids were left confused. One of the two mothers I met had decided to move house: new catchment area, new start. She felt guilty, she told me, because she’d been keen her son have friends of all faiths. But he was one of only two non-Muslim boys in his class, and he was lonely. ..

Yes, mothers of all sorts select their child’s peers: there are Jewish schools, Christian schools, private schools — but to discriminate within the classroom seems different. The child notices. The women I spoke to had struggled to explain the situation to their offspring: ‘It’s not you darling; it’s just the religion.’ Is that right?

Nor is there parity. Imagine if Christian parents refused to invite the Muslim children home from school; imagine if they banned playdates or sleepovers for any non-Christian kids. Perhaps it happens — parents are terrible, anxious snobs — but it would plainly be wrong. …

Imagine yourself to be a devout Muslim mother living in Britain. Imagine looking around at the sex, drugs; the boozing and gangs. It might well be that your child’s best hope in this world (and the next) is to keep their faith, and the best way of ensuring that is to never let them go; to control who a child plays with and talks to after school.

hat-tip Stephen Neil