Discussions around the controversial sex education curriculum currently piloted in five provinces in South Africa, including the Western Cape, have seen many questioning why exactly government has almost unilaterally decided to allow value judgements in the prescribed content being taught to young and impressionable children. The value judgements and morality addressed in the curriculum can be seen to directly contradict the values and morals taught by different religious groups – particularly those of Islam and Christianity. This has led to the MJC’s Mualima Khadija Patel-Allie calling on parents to reclaim their primary responsibility for the education and development of their children.
The curriculum, called the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curriculum normalises masturbation and homosexuality and even encourages school students to look at certain individuals as heroes and role models due to either their HIV status or their identifying as LGBTQ+ combined with their activism and/or challenging of social and gender norms.
Mualima Patel-Allie says that Islam, in and of itself, is a comprehensive code of life addressing the holistic development of children. She added that although sex education is not necessarily called by that particular name, it is provided.
“Islam, in itself, is a comprehensive code of life. It is meant to be holistic. So, within the development of a child, sex education would not be called by that name but it is braided into the rearing of a child.”
“The education of what pubescence means is well and clearly spelled out for a child of 9 to 10 years old…It is part of the life of a Muslim parent to aptly educate – age appropriately – as our children grow,” she said.
Mualima Patel-Allie cautioned that Islamically, sex ought to be discussed (between males and females) exclusively within the confines of nikkah (marriage) and that the ideologies behind the curriculum are being shoved down the throats of South Africans.
“Before we even address morality, sex should be discussed exclusively in the confines of a marriage. What we consider as the information imparted in this curriculum is really an ideology that is being shoved down the throats of educators and parents alike and should be vociferously stood up against. I absolutely believe that it undermines the trust parents need to have in education and the exposure needed for our children on sexuality. The CSE coaches this in a cloak of education but is [actually] shoving the modern-day ideology of ‘no gender-barriers’ down the throats of our children,” she warned.
“The kind of issues dealt with [in the curriculum] suggest that children will not get, or do not get, education appropriately, at the ages they need to, from their parents and circles of living – which is deeply problematic because it [the curriculum] has no moral basis.”
As far as Mualima Patel-Allie’s claims that an ideology is being shoved down the throats of South African citizens goes, she is possibly onto something.
According to Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), the CSE project has been funded by, amongst others, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and many political analysts across the globe have often been suspicious of foreign agencies, like USAID, utilising their resources to further western agendas in other countries.
“[The project] involves a review of the old curriculum to incorporate UNESCO’s highly controversial International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE), contributed to by the notorious abortion agency, Planned Parenthood.” – FOR SA press release
Mualima Patel-Allie says Muslim parents need to take back their space.
“Take back the space and know you are the primary teachers of your children. We want our children to know the sacredness of this area of education – it is meant to be taught for the understanding that it is a space Allah has reserved for marriage,” she said.
“Islam has given the necessary route of what we do when we have these [sexual] feelings. The concept of masturbation has been put into the face of our children as if it is a social norm and is fine to do.
Masturbation is haram but alternatives are given…our bodies have their own mechanisms. There are so many natural and normal ways Islam deals with the development of our children which should be tapped into so that we can bring it into the space of our children.”