Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Australian Imam Says Students Should Be Taught Prayer


http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/10306066/schools-no-place-for-prayers/

Religious non-believers have welcomed a WA State primary school's decision to ban the Lord's Prayer from its fortnightly assemblies because they say schools should reflect the nature of Australia's secular society.
WA Humanist Society president Diana Warnock said the Lord's Prayer had no place in public schools, which were meant to be free and secular.
"I think it is completely inappropriate for them to have any kind of prayer," she said.
"If you want your child to have a religious education, you send them to a religious school."
Edgewater Primary School dropped its 25-year-old tradition of reciting the prayer at assemblies after some parents complained, even though many others wanted the practice to continue.
The parents said use of the prayer went against the Education Act which states that schools should not promote any particular religious beliefs over others.
Humanists believe children should be taught to be open-minded and to understand religion's history and role in shaping society.
Ms Warnock said people should be able to pray in churches or synagogues, but a school assembly was a community space that should remain secular.
However, Muslim imam Burhaan Mehtar said he was not opposed to non-Christian children reciting the Lord's Prayer.
Imam Mehtar, who teaches religion at the Australian Islamic College's Thornlie campus, said if State school students were not being indoctrinated or preached at, then the practice should continue because it was a calming influence.
He would rather students were taught any prayer than no prayers at all.
"We can take religion out of prayer but I don't think we can take prayer out of our lives," he said.
Liberal MP and ordained Christian minister Peter Abetz said the school was "pandering to the minority" by banning the prayer, because most of the parents who bothered to respond to a survey said it should be continued.
"The Lord's Prayer is part of our heritage," he said.
"It's good for kids, whether they have a personal faith or not, to get to know that prayer.
"It's a bit like learning the national anthem.
"If somebody has a conscientious objection to saying the prayer they can just remain silent."

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