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Edith Rogers-England 3rd year MA Religious Studies Christianity and World Religions 3 Should we pray together A study of interfaith worship in schools The question of interfaith worship began to be seriously discussed about fifty years ago Ethnic groups have been present in Britain since at least the 1870s when the East India company began to employ Muslim seamen from Yemen as a result of the opening of the Suez Canal However the 1944 Education Act does not seem to refer to any religion other than Christianity In the 1950s high employment produced by the need for post war reconstruction caused problems in filling the least desirable jobs The British government therefore began recruitment campaigns in the Caribbean India Pakistan Cyprus Kenya and Uganda The new immigrants were placed almost entirely in industrial cities most of which were to be hard hit by unemployment at the end of the post war boom The 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act gave preference to professionals and dependants over unskilled lone males By the late sixties therefore many inner city boroughs were facing questions of how best to provide an education for a significant number of children with a home culture perceived as very different to the school culture and a religious background that was not Christian or Jewish A part of this was the problem of school worship which up until then had been explicitly Christian The debate on education was fed by the wider discussions taking place on race During the fifties the most popular official stance was that of assimilation It was argued that black people were inferior to white people and that their only possible means of self-improvement was to try to acquire white norms and values and perceptions meanwhile accepting their place at the bottom of the socio-economic class system By the sixties when ethnic minority children were beginning to enter education in significant numbers some shift
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