Thursday, 23 November 2006

The End of an Era

The Avenue School was a small private primary Muslim school in London, it has been going for about 10 years and had a good reputation as one of the best Muslim schools in London, it teaches the National Curriculum plus Islamic studies and Arabic, it had an extensive Arabic department with many experienced Arabic language teachers, most of the students at this school had an excellent command of the Arabic language and of the Muslim religion, at the end of term assemblies students used to sing in Arabic or read poetry and the Quran and even perform Arabic plays, the age range of children in this school was from 3 to about 11 years old.
This faith school taught children how to respect and be tolerant to others and this is partly why my children are very well behaved, the school had no bullying and was run under a happy and respectable Muslim environment.
The school recently went through the process of changing from a private school to a state funded school and achieved the Voluntary Aided status but due to many problems which I can not get into but partly due to the bad behaviour of some of the parents which behaved in a non Islamic way, the school is unfortunately closing down at the end of this term (mid December 2006) I have already taken my children out last month and now they attend a normal English school.
As a private school it was run by a Muslim charity that spared no expenses to make it into one of the best primary schools around with the best IT equipment and teaching resources that a school can have, I had the privilege of doing a lot of work at this school and my work is still based very close to this school where I get to see the children playing in the school grounds through the windows everyday, it really saddens me that this time next month the grounds will be empty, there will be no more laughter and screaming and happy kids. Many of The Avenue School pupils will InshAllah go to Islamia School but their future is still hanging and nothing is guaranteed. What I am dreading is that in January I would probably be taking part in removing everything to do with this school from its buildings including lots of drawings and presentations done by my children over the past few years.
The school had beautifully maintained grounds including flower gardens and play areas, they even had a gardening club to introduce the children to the pleasure of planting and creating beautiful gardens. The school was always very clean and the toilets are always spotless which is something that can not be said about other certain Muslim establishments in London.

This is a small Herb and flowers garden

One of the many sports days they had and you can see the happy faces of the children, some of these sports days were in aid of charities such as the McMillan Cancer Support or the British Heart Foundation plus collecting money for Palestinian and Iraqi victims and many Muslim charities.

Children always celebrated Eid with a big party where they got to wear their Eid clothes and were always served with a meal and given a present afterwards, this school had a very healthy food policy and was probably one of the first to implement it in London, children were not allowed to bring in their lunch boxes any fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets or chocolate and only got to enjoy these as a treat during the 2 Eid parties they held every year.

This picture was taken during happier times about 2 years ago during the Nursery Graduation Party! Yes the boy picking his nose is my son! how embarassing.

The School usually took part in local events, this was during Brent Council's Eid celebration for the Muslim community, the school presented a song and most of the children wore traditional clothes, you can see my daughter wearing a Libyan costume but she was not very happy as it was a bit to big for her.

The children on stage singing

The school used to organize school trips for all classes according to their age, they would visit theme parks, zoos and historical places in London, the above picture is from a trip about the Great Fire of London, you can see Tower Bridge and the River Thames at the back.

I had hoped that my children would finish their primary education and learn Arabic and Islamic studies at this school, this is not to be. My children are already missing the school, their friends and their teachers, I will be missing the school as well.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all that celebrate it


Hanu said...

Anglolibyan, It's the sad truth that most of the time we (Arabs/Muslims) are the reason for losing our best, be it school, people, etc.

We have the teaching-Arabic dilemma in my family. We wish our kids do learn Arabic. The problem is, most schools that do that here are basically religious, and their teaching of religion is not the way I wish my children to be introduced to it! We didn't leave that environment to bring it to our children in a more corrupt form. I got some books to teach children Arabic from Lebanon, but I have yet to start using them... So much to do, so little time!

Aladdin of Tripoli said...

Happy thanx giving , it's sad that no plans for celebrating thanksgiving here , i once had a good thanxgiving in London with some Americans frineds of my brother and it was amazing , had a dinner "turkey ofcourse' and some other stuff , and then we went clubbing and it was really nice. hopefully next year i will plan something for thnxgiving.

AngloLibyan said...

thank you hanu for visiting and yes the problem of teaching our children Arabic, my kids speak more English than Arabic and as you mentioned even here in the UK most Arabic schools can be extremist but I found a Qatari saturday school that has a good reputation and im hoping my kids can start in January.
Good luck to you and your family especially your sweet kids (MashAllah) and enjoy thanksgiving holiday.

You are lucky to celebrate thanksgiving in London Aladdin, it is not known here and is not celebrated unless you are American.

white african said...

so sad, it looks lik such a nice school as well, i'm sorry to hear that its closing down, it sad because the children get affected the most, inshallah khair, hope your kids get more acustomed to their new school

Safia speaks said...

What a nice school!

My kids also attended a private Arabic Muslim school all thru primary grades (9 years) and alhamdulillah this is one of the best schools in all of Denmark, not just the best of all the Arabic schools.

That school was founded in 1978 and in the beginning the school really sucked. But5 slowly with progress came awareness (or was it vice versa?) and today DIA private School can easily compete with any Danish school around.

People over here have tried every year to get the school closed down, attacking the school for being "islamistic" (whatever that means) or just "not up to date" - but alhamdulillah we have always rebuffed that nonsense by showing of a top-ten grades list - there are especially some school leaders from public schools in Copenhagen who have done much to discredit our school in the media, but every time we just replied with a copy from the last 10 years grades - Danish public schools have very low grades and a huge problem with violence, drugs and anti-social behaviour.

A shame your school had to close up; you parents should have taken the matter into your own hands and continued without governmental support and without the parents who caused the closure - but then again, I don´t know British laws maybe that wasn´t possible.

AngloLibyan said...

yes whiteafrican it really was a great school, my kids are slowly getting used to their new school but it will never be the same.

Safia, that is really good to know about this simillar school in Denmark, the avenue school had some of the best grades in the local area and was doing very well.
one of the main problems that closed this school is greed and the fact that parents refused to pay even to employ an Arabic teacher, the story of this school is well documented and is still going on. it even lost the land where its standing now.

Highlander said...

AngloLibyan, what a lovely post, I did not know about this school in London, I thought there were only some big Saudi funded schools and the Libyan one in Manchester. Thanks for bringing to light such issues. I do hope your children are able to keep learning Arabic as no matter where they are it will always be an advantage to them in my opinion.
I heard from some friends that back in the 80s the Iraqi schools for the Arab community were some of the best in European capitals in terms of curricula etc.. is that true ?

AngloLibyan said...

highlander its so good to have you back.
there is King Fahd Academy which is private and Islamia School which was founded by Yousef Islam (CatStevens) and the Avenue School. Yes the Iraqi school used to be one the best and so was the Libyan school in London for a while, after the closure of the avenue school Islamia school will the only state funded school in London.

Lebeeya said...

what a sad story.... Can you hear the violins? :(

I am really sorry about the school closing down. Whoever is guilty of the school closing down needs to be slapped. It seems like such a nice school.

I used to go to an Islamic School in America when I was younger. It was such a nice school. It had a big playground :)

maiuna said...

that's really sad!! why do close such a nice place!!
it looks neat and organized, student look happy and sound, then why close such a beautiful place!!
there are things in life we can't understand, and i think this is one of them!!

and by the way, your daughter looks very pretty in the pink 7oli(7ram) ;)!!

AngloLibyan said...

yes lebeeya I can hear the violins:o)
thank you for caring.

Mainuna as you said some things in life we can't understand.
yes Aida looks pretty but as you can see she wasn't very happy, thanks.

Sereeb said...

Hi Anglolibyan,
It is very sad that such a good school is closing; as far as I know most of the Islamic school here in London are rubbish.

I digress here. It really breaks my heart when I see little girls wearing the Hijab. Why is that? For God’s sake they are only kids, let them live their childhood. Kids should never been forced to wear it; even in the Quran it says when they reach puberty, not before. Such people who make their female children wear the Hijab should be persecuted in my opinion.

AngloLibyan said...

Thank you Sereeb for your point which brings me to why I refused to take my children to Islamia School even though it has a long waiting list and my kids got automatic entry there, the reason is the girl's uniform, my daughter is 8 and I will not have her dressed in a long dress that will restrict her movement and would probably make her fall if she runs and I will not have my daughter wear a hijab because the school says so, this is her own decision which she can make when she is old enough, The Avenue School did not force girls to wear hijab it was a personal choice and I do not agree that little beautiful girls wear scarf and end up looking like old women, I do not want to offend anyone but as Sereeb said when they reach puberty, some fathers argue that girls need to get used to it, my argument if you want your daughter to wear hijab then please let her enjoy her child hood, let her wear pretty girly clothes, let her go swimming, let her enjoy the outdoors and stop saying no she can't do that she is a girl. Girls are like precious gifts from God please let them enjoy life and make their own decision.
thank you Sereeb for your valid point.

Hanu said...

Girls are unappreciated abused gifts!

My son is in Kindergarten, so all kids are 5- or 6-years old. One day, he commented, "We are all wondering in class why Sumaya wears that thing on her head." Apparently, Sumaya is a Somali girl in his class. Although my son is familiar with women wearing hijab, he found it odd for a little girl to cover her head and didn't make the connection that it is hijab.

Somalis dress their girls in wide long jalabyas and wide scarves that reach the middle of their torso. What an ugly site! And what's worse, they take them to playgrounds. I never saw a girl dressed like that really play in the playground. All she'd do is hang on a swing. They can't even move freely with such clothes, let alone play in them. I guess since female infanticide is illegal, clothes-burial is the alternative.

AngloLibyan said...

yes I know what you mean Hanu, we have tousands of Somalis in London, mothers and daughters tend to wear a huge amount of long depressing clothes, i have spent a long time in this school and seen girls from Nursery class with my daughter to year3 now, some of them wore hijab at 3 years old, they never seemed happy or as happy as the other girls, they still find it amazing that my daughter goes swimming and to the cinema and enjoys her birthday party, if my daughter decided at the age 14 or so to wear hijab which is her own business then at least I know I gave her a happy childhood just like any other happy girl.

Lebeeya said...

I started wearing the hijab in America when I was in 3rd grade. My parents did not force me or anything, it was actually a personal choice. I never regreted it and one of the main reasons of me wanting to wear it was cuz my older sisters wore hijab and I so wanted to be like them. (you know when u are young u so want to be like your older sibilings lol)

Of course my hijab wasnt proper than, I used to wear shorts, tank tops and have a scarf on but at that time all that mattered was that I covered my hair! lol

But i never felt like I couldnt have fun cuz i wore a scarf on my head? When i would go swimming, I used to take it off! I personally think that cuz I was so used to wearing it when i was younger, when the time came when i had to start wearing it properly it was easy for me cuz i was so used to it?

When I have a daughter inshallah, I will encourage her to wear it from time to time when shes young, let her get the whole feeling of something on her head so when the time comes for her to wear it, she will be so comfortable with it already! :)

AngloLibyan said...

thank you lebeeya for explaining how it was for you, that was good to know and I am glad it was your choice.

Sereeb said...

Hello Anglolibyan,

Well done and good luck to you and your daughter. Honestly, 99. 9 percent of Libyans , males and females alike, are صماصم, and bigots, simply hopeless cases.

But you know what gets on my nerves even more is those adults who wear the Hijab and think they are better than those who don’t wear it. Some, I have to say not all, think that by putting this piece of cloth on their heads they guaranteed Heaven! Whaaa? I tell them, dream on, في المشمش . Id-Deen معاملة, a way of conduct and the rituals are between you and Rab Al-Ibad; Plus, religion is a very private issue and no one has the right to shove it under people’s noses. People has the right to choose, to pray or not, to wear Hijab or not, to do X or to do Y. Who the hell are you to condescend and tell people what to do! But sadly, most of them just don’t get it, too wrapped up in their own cocoons. The sad reality is many of these women/girls are/were forced to wear it by their fathers, brothers, or any male member in their families. Also, lots of them, especially those live in Libya, had to wear it due to society pressure or community pressure, for those live outside Libya. Some they chose to wear it for economical reasons, because it is cheaper to have a Jilbab and wear it everyday to work/school. Some because it is easier to put on a Jilbab and a scarf on; they don’t have to do their hair (or even wash it regularly. One of my cousins in Libya told me horror stories of teachers come to school wearing a Jilbab over their pyjamas or smelly dirty day clothes) in the morning or think what to wear. But still, they will use any opportunity to lecture those who don’t wear the scarf.

I congratulate you for letting that decision to be your daughter’s, when she grows up and become a mature person, as you know and anyone who has an ounce of logic, that a 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 11 or 12 or 13 or 14 or even 15 years old child can’t make such decision.

Trabilsia said...

An excellent coverage Anglo, as always.
Really sad about the school closing down but this is part of life nothing continues forever. Whenever one feels complete and stable and that nothing can go wrong , it does !It's as if we are we are being tested as to how much we can take.
As for the hejab I'm happy for your daughter having an open minded father , for it is only her that will one day decide to wear it or not. Wearing hejab doesn't necessarily make one go to Heaven it's only our deeds that will take us there.

AngloLibyan said...

Sereeb, I think many of us grew up in Libya where Hijab was unknown until the 80s, I would hate to hear people saying women that do not wear hijab are bad and regarding the uncleanliness of some I did write a post about it before. Thank you.

Dear Trabilsia that is life, Alhamdulelah.
yes my daughter will decide, its not me or society, all I can do is teach her about our religion then she has the choice.

butterfly said...

السلام عليكم
اول مرة اقوم بزيارة هذه المدونة
و اعجبني و قوف الزي الليبي بين عدد من الازياء العربية و العالمية
و جدت انه يضاهيهم جمالا و يتفوق عليهم

AngloLibyan said...

Thank you butterfly and welcome to my blog, the girl in Libyan dress is my daughter.

Anonymous said...

در اجرای طرح ارتقای امنيت اجتماعی که از ابتدای ارديبهشت‌‏ماه آغاز شده, برخورد با مالکان خودروهای حامل افراد بدحجاب در دستور کار پليس قرار گرفته است، بر اساس اين طرح خودروهای حامل فرد بدحجاب يا خودروهايی که زنان بدحجاب راننده آن هستند، توسط ماموران اجرای طرح امنيت اخلاقی يا ماموران راهنمايی و رانندگی توقيف و به پارکينگ منتقل می‌‏شوند.
به گزارش خبرنگار ايلنا, نيروی انتظامی با اين توجيه که حضور فرد بدحجاب در خودرو از جرائم مشهود محسوب می‌‏شود، نسبت به برخورد با خودروهای حامل فرد بدحجاب اقدام کرده و راساً به توقيف خودروها می‌‏پردازد.

ماموران زنا زاده پلیس راهنمایی رانندگی ایران بجای اینکه هزاران راننده که مانند حیوانات با سرعت غیر مجاز، عبور ممنوع و صدها مورد جرایم مشهود خطرناک را پیگیری کنند در برابر این جرایم سکوت می کنند و ماشین افرادی را که موهایشان پیداست توقیف می کنند!

آی کیر خوک و خر و سنده خوک و خر تو کس حضرت زهرا بنت رسول الله چون ملایان می خواهند ایرانیان مثل این فاحشه قریش باشند.
سنده سگ تو کس ننه و زن و دختر رسول الله به خاطر این قوانین مسخره و حیوانی قرآن.
سنده شیطان تو حلق محمد قرآن شد.

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