In a rather unexpected coalition, Christians have united together with Muslims and atheists In Ireland to promote separation of church and state in education.
ChristianToday.com reports that the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland (EAI) has joined with Atheist Ireland and Irish Ahmadiyya Muslims to work for alternatives to religious education in schools.
The groups are hoping to do away with the state-sponsored religious education course which is required for students.
All three groups believe such a requirement actually harms religion, as well as the secular state, even though about 85 percent of Irish people identify as Catholics.
The EAI stated that, in opposing the course, it was seeking to “protect children from coercion and discrimination in the area of religious education.”
Michael Nugent, chairman of Atheist Ireland stated, "The minister for education should immediately issue a circular letter informing all schools at second level that the state religious education course is not compulsory and students can choose another subject, and schools should actively inform students and parents about this.”
Imam Ibrahim Noonan stressed the importance of not allowing one particular faith to “have the monopoly in the schools.”
"The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has always adhered to the fact that religion and state are two different entities," he said. "Therefore it views that secular knowledge should be given eminence within the school curriculum. The state must recognise the importance of the feelings and sentiments of those who practise a particular faith or belief system, whether that be a religious system or non religious system.”
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Publication date: July 21, 2016