London: Muslims in the north-western
British city of Blackburn are awaiting the approval of plans to
build the first free Islamic school in the country to serve both
Muslim and non-Muslim students, Lancashire Telegraph newspaper
“The planning application has been submitted following months of
detailed design work on what has proven a very challenging but
equally rewarding project,” Principal Jacquie Petriaho told the
Muslims have applied to the Darwen Council to build a
free Islamic school in Blackburn in Lancashire County. The
application includes moving the current Tauheedul Islam Boys
School from its current site in Little Harwood to the former Young
Men's Christian Association (YMCA) building at Edinburgh House on
“The scheme submitted meets the schools
aspirations, by providing well-ordered learning spaces and
innovative working environments and has done this while respecting
the qualities of the surrounding area,” said Petriaho, the former
deputy head of Beardwood Humanities College.
The new school aims to provide a first-class education for its 700
pupils with the aim of getting many into Britain’s top
universities. The school was temporarily located in the Tauheedul
Islam Girls’ School, which was relocated to its new site in
Beardwood Humanities College, Preston New Road.
If approved, the
multi-purpose school will open in September 2014. It will be the
first free Islamic school in Britain. British Muslims are
estimated at 2.5 million.
There are 400,000 Muslim students in
British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
About 7,000 state schools in Britain are faith schools – roughly
one in three of the total – educating 1.7 million pupils.
590 faith-based secondary schools five are Jewish, two Muslim and
one Sikh - the rest are Church of England, Roman Catholic and
other Christian faiths.
The free Islamic school would offer huge opportunities for both
Muslim and non-Muslim students in Blackburn.
“The site is in an
ideal location to serve our projected pupil intake and offers the
opportunity to redevelop a site that has blighted the local
community for a number of years,” Principal Petriaho, who is not a
“Tauheedul Boys’ School will continue to provide
outstanding educational opportunities for many young people in
Blackburn and our pupils and staff are excited about the
opportunities the new building will create.”
Pupils from the
Islamic school have been playing a leading role in serving the
vulnerable in Britain. Pupils from the Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High
School (TIBHS) have succeeded in raising £4,600 for Crisis – the
UK’s national charity for single homeless people.
school only started a few months ago, our boys have demonstrated
their commitment to community service and philanthropy,” Petriaho
“Through our partnership work with
Crisis, we aim to transform the lives of thousands of single
homeless people in the UK.”
The 2011 census found that the
proportion of Muslims in Britain rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8
percent, becoming the fastest growing faith in the country.