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Curriculum for Cohesion talks at the University of Leiden about bridging the ‘unserious’ gap between Islamic Studies and the experience of Islam

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

Thursday 6 April 2017. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson delivered a conference paper at the Leiden Islam Academie, University of Leiden, Holland entitled ‘Bridging the ‘unserious’ gap between Islamic Studies and the experience of Islam’ about how the philosophy of Islamic Critical Realism can be applied to bridge the ‘unserious’ gap between Islamic Studies and the experience of Islam in the world today. In particular, it showed that by mobilising the fulcrum of critical realism – the relationship between spiritual being with spiritual knowing and understanding and spiritual deliberation and commitment-making – a pedagogy to embrace both teaching about and teaching for Islam can be developed. The paper was enthusiastically received and perhaps, even more pleasingly, was the fact that Curriculum for Cohesion’s work with the philosophy of critical realism has been picked up and used by other researchers on the continent as an effective theoretical approach to researching Muslims in Europe.

This post was published on Thursday, 6th April , 2017 at 3:20 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion talks straight to the Guardian about teaching controversial issues on the History curriculum

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

Tuesday 27 March 2017. In the context of five exam boards for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, removing Israel-Palestine from their GCSE offering since 2014, Curriculum for Cohesion’s Patron, Mohammed Amin MBE, spoke to the Guardian about the crucial function of the History classroom for teaching controversial events and issues from multiple perspectives in a safe space and how the UK Government “ducked” the chance to set the Israel-Palestine conflict in deep historical perspective in their 2012 National Curriculum Review. This was despite Curriculum for Cohesion’s evidenced report to that review process which showed clearly the benefits both for accurate knowledge and mutual understanding of such a deep and multi-perspectival approach:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/28/uk-exam-boards-drop-israel-palestine-syllabus-school-teachers

This post was published on Thursday, 6th April , 2017 at 3:11 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Mr. Mohammed Amin MBE, Curriculum for Cohesion Chair of Donors, is honoured by Her Majesty, the Queen

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

13 June 2016. Mr. Mohammed Amin MBE, Curriculum for Cohesion Chair of Donors, has been honoured by Her Majesty, the Queen as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Amin has been recognised “for services to Community Cohesion and Inter-faith Relations in Greater Manchester” primarily for his work as Founder Member and Co-Chair of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester.

Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Director of Curriculum for Cohesion, would like to lead the CfC team in congratulating Amin on this honour sure in the knowledge that this is highly well-deserved and timely recognition of everything that Amin contributes,in Greater Manchester and beyond, quite voluntarily and altruistically to making British society a more cohesive, knowledgeable and pleasant environment in which all types of people can flourish. We are all proud of you, Amin.

This post was published on Thursday, 16th June , 2016 at 11:15 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion’s Lead Patron, the Rt. Hon. Sadiq Khan, is elected Mayor of London

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

5 May 2016. Curriculum for Cohesion’s Lead Patron since 2012, the Rt. Hon. Sadiq Khan, who was the Labour Party candidate, has been elected the third Mayor of London, winning 44.2% of the first round vote and 56.9% of the second round vote. His nearest rival was the Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith. Sadiq is accredited with running a highly effective campaign with clear and consistent messages that appealed to a broad cross-section of Londoners.

He is the first Muslim mayor of a major European capital and true to authentic Islam and, indeed, Curriculum for Cohesion’s mission, is determined to bring success and prosperity to all Londoners. Sadiq has said “I want all Londoners to have the same opportunities that our city gave me: a home they can afford, a high-skilled job with decent pay, an affordable and modern transport system and a safe, clean and healthy environment.”

The whole Curriculum for Cohesion team is incredibly proud of you, Sadiq. We ask that God guides you in wisdom and justice with this great Trust that He has given you. Amin.

This post was published on Sunday, 8th May , 2016 at 8:34 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion contributes to the The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) information paper on examinations in Ramadan

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

Dr. Matthew L N Wilkinson, Director of Curriculum for Cohesion, was one of the scholars and signatories on the working group convened by The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) to produce an information paper for schools and colleges over the observance of Ramadan during this summer’s exams. Ramadan falls within the examination season in 2016 and will do so for the next few years.

The information paper is aimed at giving school and college leaders information to initiate discussions with Muslim students and their families on how Muslim pupils can best balance their Islamic obligations and exam performance during Ramadan, following the flexible and humane principles of Islamic law. The paper has received widespread media coverage in Britain and in the Muslim-majority world and endorsed by leading Muslim community organisations, including the Muslim Council of Britain.

The ASCL paper can be found at: http://www.ascl.org.uk/news-and-views/news_news-detail.ascl-produces-paper-over-ramadan-and-exams.html

This post was published on Wednesday, 27th April , 2016 at 7:35 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Nicola Padfield, Master of Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge offers rich insight about the book ‘A Fresh Look at Islam in a Multi-faith World’

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

8 April 2016. Nicola Padfield, Master of Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge and Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice at the Law Faculty, University of Cambridge, offers some rich insights on her reading of Matthew Wilkinson’s book ‘A Fresh Look at Islam in a Multi-faith: a philosophy for success through education’ in connection with the UK Government’s Prevent strategy. Her piece can be read at:

https://blog.fitz.cam.ac.uk/2015/06/

This post was published on Friday, 8th April , 2016 at 9:05 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Dr. Matthew Wilkinson speaks to the Cambridge Union Society on religious extremism

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

26 February 2016. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson contributed to a panel discussion at the Cambridge Union Society entitled, ‘How do we respond to religious extremism,’ with Remona Aly, a guardian journalist and founder of Exploring Islam Foundation, Muhammad Abdul Bari, Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammad Manwar Ali, an Islamist in the 80s who now speaks out against IS and develops anti-radicalisation training and Dr Humeira Iqtidar, Senior Lecturer in Politics at King’s College London.

Dr. Wilkinson explained the general basis of extremisms in terms of exaggerated divisions of the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ which in the case of the violent extremism sharpens into violence. He then detailed the particular characteristics of violent Islamist extremism and explained how this ideology subverts Islamic doctrine as well as explaining what an effective multi-dimensional response to violent Islamist extremism might look like.

The panel stimulated an intelligent and useful discussion in the 60 or so attendeees.

This post was published on Sunday, 28th February , 2016 at 10:33 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion presents to National Offender Management Service (NOMS)

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

18 February 2016. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Director of Curriculum for Cohesion, gave a presentation entitled ‘Factors in Muslim criminality: noxious absences and malign presences in young Muslims’ lives’ at the Ministry of Justice to senior civil servants of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), including Ms. Maggie Bolger, Lead Learning and Development Commissioner, and Mr. Ahtsham Ali, Muslim Adviser at Chaplaincy Headquarters. It was a highly productive meeting and the NOMS team were convinced both by the analytical framework of Dr. Wilkinson’s analysis based on the interaction of noxious absences and malign presences in young Muslims’ lives and of the need for further detailed empirical research on effects of Islam in prisons in order to maximise the benefits and minimise the dangers of Islam for Muslim offenders.

This post was published on Sunday, 28th February , 2016 at 10:30 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Publication of the impact of Curriculum for Cohesion to date…

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

Curriculum for Cohesion is developing minds to heal a fractured world by enriching the school curriculum, by moving academic thinking forward, and by training teachers, judges, barristers, prison officers and journalists in improved understandings of the relationship of Islam and Muslims to liberal democratic societies.

We have posted the assessment of the qualitative and quantitative impact of our work to date and our projected future impact at: http://curriculumforcohesion.org/about/what-impact-are-we-having/

This post was published on Sunday, 20th December , 2015 at 10:33 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion contributes to the British-ness debate at the Historical Association, Cambridge

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

14 December. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Director, co-presented a session of the Historical Association, Cambridge with its President, Dr. Sean Lang, and delivered a talk entitled ‘British Values: what are they? Are they real? Can you teach them?’

Matthew’s talk examined the political background and philosophical grounds for the Duty to teach British Values in schools from a critical realist perspective. Matthew suggested that only a ‘concrete universal’ approach which highlighted the universality of values such as democracy and rule of law, as well as the concrete historical specificity of the British contribution to those values could be intellectually coherent and avoid mindless parochialism.

Sean spoke about the historical changeability of all values, including ‘British’ ones, and cautioned defining the nation against a prescribed set of fixed values. He also compared and contrasted the British and French conceptions of national values.

Questions from the floor were intelligent, pertinent and interesting.

This post was published on Thursday, 17th December , 2015 at 7:26 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion delivers pioneering critical terrorism-awareness training at a school in the East End of London

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

4 December. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Director of Curriculum for Cohesion, and Max Hill QC, Academic Advisor for Curriculum for Cohesion, jointly delivered a pioneering session to encourage c.100 sixth formers to think deeply and critically about terrorism entitled, “What is terrorism? How do we prevent it?”

The talk put the current global concerns with violent Islamist terrorism in deep inter-cultural and historical perspective by informing students about ancient and modern contexts in which different types of terrorism – that is the use or threat of use of violence against civilians to achieve political, religious and ideological aims – have occurred and thrived. Students were encouraged to spot universal characteristics of terrorism and to distinguish between terrorists and political freedom fighters.

Max then went through clear, legal understandings of what does and does not constitute terrorism in UK Law and challenged students to apply these understandings to hypothetical situations.

Matthew ended by explaining how violent Islamist extremism perverts traditional Islamic doctrine and mainstream Muslim accounts of the Divine and human worlds.

The talk was gratefully received by students and the headmaster and his staff and its importance was highlighted by the terrorist knife attack close by in Leytonstone two days afterwards.

This post was published on Thursday, 17th December , 2015 at 7:22 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

Curriculum for Cohesion is present and presents at the SOAS – Nohoudh Muslim Integration Conference 2015

By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson

5 – 6 November. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Director, Mr. Mohammed Amin, Chair of Committee of Donors, and Mrs. Lucy Wilkinson, Project Director, attended the SOAS – Nohoudh Muslim Integration Conference 2015: Engaging with the Discourse.

Matthew gave a presentation, entitled ‘Our Way of Being British: A Philosophical Basis for Muslim Integration’ showing how the philosophy of Islamic Critical Realism can enable young Muslims to chart an authentically Muslim and British Middle Way between reductionist assimilationism and the homeostasis of multiculturalism by sifting the essential from the peripheral elements of the Islamic faith.

Matthew’s talk was immensely well-received and provoked considerable interest in the full account of Islamic Critical Realism made in his book ‘A Fresh Look at Islam in a Multi-faith World: a philosophy for success through education.’

This post was published on Thursday, 17th December , 2015 at 7:17 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also add a comment to this post, or trackback from your own website.

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