Teachers at a Welsh school are fasting and going to a local mosque during Ramadan to help them “connect” with their “many” Muslim students. They have called on others to join them to “experience a taste of another culture”.
Andrew Bodgin, Jon Letson and Jennifer John and administrator Shoko Morimoto are staff at the Celtic English Academy who have decided to fast for Ramadan and go to mosque this week. The school is just one of the many in the UK that provides foreign students the ability to enter the United Kingdom on a student visa to learn the English Language.
The Home Office UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved school states on its website that it can help with applications for both long and short stay visas, and even visas that will allow prospective students to bring their families to the United Kingdom as well. Based in Cardiff, Wales, the school offers to arrange visas, accommodation and airport pick-ups for its pupils.
The Celtic English School’s website boasts of its gender segregated classes, which Morimoto told Breitbart London were instituted for the benefit of Saudi Arabian women who would otherwise not be allowed to leave their husband’s homes. She said:
“Students from Saudi Arabia wear hijabs, which covers their whole face apart from their eyes. They feel very hesitant to study with male students because in their own country once they are married, they aren’t even allowed to go out unless they are accompanied by their husband or brothers.
“Coming to a Western country like the UK, Mixing with men, it is a huge culture shock for them… these wives, unless we provide ladies only classes, they stay at home.
Speaking to Wales Online, teacher and fast organiser Andrew Bodgin said:
“We are doing this as a way to connect with our Muslim students and to raise money for the food bank. Many of our international students are Muslim. By participating in the fast, we hope to show solidarity with them as well as those in our local community.
“Many of our Muslim students are from the Middle East. Seeing the efforts they make to study while doing Ramadan, we wanted to show we empathise and want to show that there is community support within the community here when Muslims are sometimes needlessly vilified.
“I want to show the people and their culture are nothing to be afraid of. The more we can connect with different peoples and their cultures the better”.
Morimoto told Breitbart London about a third of all students at the school come from Muslim backgrounds and countries like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Qatar, Oman, the UAE, and Turkey. She said some teachers felt there was a lot of negative feeling towards Muslim people because of the activities of the Islamic state, and the students appreciated the school recognising that their faith “isn’t a bad thing”.