Islam and state school: opinions of Muslim parents in Piedmont

Renzo Guolo

Abstract


What are the opinions of Muslim parents, as to the teaching of Islamic religion? In case it were possible, would they prefer it to be taught in state or religious schools? And in the first case, by whom?. What do families think about problems like the observance of dietary laws in school canteens, the class of physical education for girls in mixed classes, the wearing of veil? The article summarizes the data of a survey on these topics (between 2006 and 2007) carried out in Piedmont, in particular in Turin, on a sample of about 1000 people representing the different ethnonational islamic communities living in the region. The methodology employed is both quantitative (the whole sample was given a structured questionnaire) and qualitative. The latter concerns detailed interviews with the leaders of Islamic associations in the region. The result is definitely in favour of the teaching of Islamic religion in state schools, together with the request to observe dietary laws, both cultural and religious, and the acceptance, on principle, of the mixed class of physical education. There are of course different opinions which, however, show a growing trend in favour of free choice as to the obligation of veil: a picture widely determined by the ethnonational origin of the interviewed, confirming the pluralism of Italian Islam. The result points out that most Muslims in Piedmont have an inclusive approach and that religion does not mean cultural separation. The main trend, apart from the opinions and projects of a few associative leaderships, is one of an Islam that wishes to become a recognized member of Italian religious and cultural scene.

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1970-2221/1692

Copyright (c) 2009 Renzo Guolo

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