Well, according to the King Fahad Academy they are. And this ain't the King Fahad Academy in Riyadh I'm talking about - it's the one in Acton, London!
Yes, another of my UK agents (this time Agent A) has alerted me to this genteel educational establishment, a true repository of liberal values and tolerance for all humankind. OK, I know it's bugger all to do with EFL, but it is SUCH a good story, innit, and puts many crazy Tefl tales well in the shade!
According to their own website, the King Fahd Academy in Acton is a 'World School', meaning that it is an educational institute offering the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. Now, one of the 'misson statements' of the IBO is the rather grand and noble objective of fostering world peace, no less. For example, it claims to "promote intercultural understanding and respect ... as an essential part of life in the 21st century", and believes their broad(-minded) curriculum can "develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect."
Quite how they achieve this at the King Fahad Aademy, which is famous for telling its students that Jews descend from pigs, is unclear. Even more opaque is the way in which they manage to create 'inquiring young people' when they treat girls as inferior. The school has, however, been happy to admit that nowadays it prefers to follow Saudi education policy, which states that a girl's education should "enable her to be a successful housewife, an exemplary wife and a good mother" or prepare her for work which is "suitable to her disposition as a woman".
Strange, that is ... I mean, I've never heard of one's gender being referred to as a 'disposition' before, but I guess they see things a lot differently in the Magic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - also known as 'the largest open prison in the world' by many who have unfortunately entered but managed to escape.
Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside and chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, has accused the school of inciting racial hatred, and hit out at Ofsted inspectors for failing to discover that the textbooks used in the school portray the other "peoples of the book" (Jews and Christians) as 'apes', 'pigs', and 'repugnant', amongst other rather less-than-agreeable terms. Take a look at yourself, King Fahad (resembling a rather corpulent member of the pork-sausage brigade himself alongside), I am tempted to say.
According to Ms Ellman, "This whole situation is unacceptable. It is incitement. It is part of a deliberate Saudi initiative to install Wahabbi extremism among Muslims and in the rest of society. If Ofsted has not drawn attention to this, that is a failing of Ofsted."
Of course, expecting the squib-like Ofsted to take on the might of the Saudi King Fahad and his school in London is probably expecting a little too much, I would add. Let's face it, the Ofsted inspectors are rather supine little buggers at the best of times, only daring to throw their weight around when they know they're on to a winner, so I guess they thought they were being bold just by knocking on the school's doors!
Anyway, there's more on this wonderfully open minded academy here and here.