Almost all the Bangladeshi pupils in Hampshire are Muslim, but schools need to clarify with families what their religious needs and expectations are.
Implications for Schools
Most, but not, all parents are happy for their children to participate fully in school assemblies and RE lessons, particularly in the primary school, although schools should ensure that Islam is given recognition wherever appropriate.
From the age of eight, and certainly by twelve, Bangladeshi Muslims should be offered facilities for prayer (a quiet, private room and access to running water). If this offer is declined, it would be worth checking that this is not from fear of appearing different or of being laughed at.
Although representations of animals and people are forbidden in Islam, this does not necessarily apply to school children who are drawing or painting for educational purposes. However, Muslim children should never be asked to make pictures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), nor of other religious figures. Neither should they be asked to draw, name or read about pigs, which is considered to be an unclean animal.
Muslims are forbidden to eat any meat, or meat products, from animals which have not been ritually slaughtered (i.e. halal, or permitted meat). Some Muslims will not eat any food cooked outside the home in case it contains, or has been cooked in a pan with, non-halal meat products. These dietary considerations need to be taken into account at lunch-time and when planning food technology lessons or residential visits.
During the month of Ramadan, children over twelve years old, and sometimes younger, will usually participate in the fasting, neither eating nor drinking anything all during daylight hours. In Ramadan, they often get up in the early hours, perhaps to help prepare food, and almost certainly to eat, returning to bed afterwards until dawn prayers. Naturally, Muslim pupils may be extremely tired at this time of year.
The major festivals of Islam are: Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid-ul-Adha, which comes at the end of the Hajj and is a celebration of the life of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Muslim parents should be consulted, and if they so wish, their children should be permitted to take these days off.
Strict Muslim girls should, at puberty or from the age of twelve, keep their heads and bodies covered. Men must be covered from the navel to the knee. This may be an important consideration for PE and practical lessons.