School forces Muslim students into Catholic liturgies

In response to an issue raised by Atheist Ireland in relation to students being forced into religious ceremonies, the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton has again stated that students cannot be forced into religious instruction or ceremonies against the wishes of their parents.

Atheist Ireland had raised the issue of a second level school, Colaiste Bride, Clondalkin (A CEIST school) where according to their policy on the wearing of the Hijab the students were obliged to take part in school liturgies.

It is really difficult to understand how any school can let something like this happen or feel it is in order to publicly state this in any school policy. Colaiste Bride is a publicly funded school, it’s ethos is informed by the teachings of the Catholic Church. Like all Catholic schools this school does not promote pluralism as it is against the educational philosophy of the Catholic Church.

In the Irish education system inclusion and diversity are, ‘whatever you are having yourself’. Inclusion, respect and diversity mean whatever a particular Patron Body says they mean. Schools call themselves inclusive while continuing to discriminate on religious grounds and undermining the human rights of minorities.

We welcome the comments of the Minister on opting out of religion. We believe that if he really wants to ensure that the Constitutional and human rights of students are guaranteed and protected then he needs to amend Section 15 of the Education Act 1998, to ensure that the curriculum is delivered in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner.

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