The Scottish government, in partnership with Education Scotland, has been criticized for issuing guidance which claims that the use of supposedly “offensive” terminology such as “British values” could inspire terror attacks.
“The concept [of British values] can cause offense and could play into the hands of groups who seek to assert that there is an inherent conflict between being British and being Muslim,” teachers in Scotland were told.
A spokesman who defended the guidance contended that the “wrong” words in the classroom could “amplify the rhetoric used by terrorists and violent extremists.”
After learning about the directive, which stresses the “importance of using appropriate and accurate” terms when discussing terror, U.K. Security Minister Ben Wallace accused Education Scotland of “putting PC [politically correct] politics before children’s safety.”
The guidance document contains what is characterized as an “overview” of language which should and should not be used during classroom discussions on terror attacks and violent extremism, Breitbart reported.
Terms are listed under two columns — “safe” and “problematic” — and urges teachers to “think carefully before selecting the right words.”
“British values” is listed in the “problematic” column, while “shared values” is considered a “safe” term. According to the document, teachers should refer to “shared values” rather than “British values” because students must be taught to be “responsible citizens who respect other people, different beliefs and cultures.”
The guidance drew the ire Scottish Conservatives, whose spokeswoman, Liz Smith, asserted that parents would be “astonished and very angry” over the directive, and contended that “British values are part of our history and are important to this country’s culture.”
Educators are warned in the guidance that it is “dangerous” to refer to the word Islamist, which is frequently used to refer to fundamentalist adherence to Islam, since their “non-expert” audience might associate the phenomena with ordinary Muslims.
“All audiences will make a connection to the Muslim faith. This phrase is best avoided,” the directive warned, recommending that teachers instead use the term “Al-Qaeda-Inspired Violent Extremists” when referring to those who perpetrate terror attacks.
A spokesman for the Scottish government said regarding the issue, “We encourage the use of appropriate and accurate language as academic research and feedback from communities suggests that the wrong language can cause confusion, unnecessary offense and – in the worst cases – amplify the divisive rhetoric used by terrorists and violent extremists.”
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