Last month, two brave British schoolboys were given detention because they refused to kneel down and pray to Allah during a religious-education lesson.  The boys attend classes at Alsager High School near Stoke-on-Trent, situated approximately midway between Manchester and Birmingham.  The local county council has a diversity curriculum that requires children be educated in the beliefs of different faiths.  According to the council, this diversity education “is essential to understanding.”

As part of “understanding” Islam, the boys’ religion education class was forced to don Muslim headgear and watch a film about Muslim worship.  After the film ended, the teacher produced prayer mats from her closet and said, “We are now going out to pray to Allah.”  Children were then told to kneel on Muslim prayer mats and to recite a Muslim prayer.

When the two boys (11 and 12) refused to worship Allah, their teacher accused them of being disrespectful and ordered them to detention.  Not satisfied that her authority over the children’s education and spiritual life was reestablished, the teacher punished the remainder of the class by depriving them of the afternoon snack.

Parents were rightly outraged.  The grandfather of one child in the class described the forced worship as “absolutely disgusting, there’s no other way of putting it.”  Karen Williams, whose child was also in the class, said, “I am absolutely furious my daughter was made to take part in it and I don’t find it acceptable.”

The boys’ refusal to violate the First Commandment and the parents’ anger at the school are good signs.  The children and their parents demonstrate that there are still a few Britons left who will resist the onslaught of multiculturalism.

What is worrisome, however, is the vocabulary many parents are using to describe the teacher’s actions.  Rather than invoking their ancient rights as British subjects, the parents complain that the school violated the boys’ “human rights.”  Nary a word was said about the historic rights that made England, and later, Great Britain, the envy of oppressed peoples of the globe.

Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and centuries of customary law defined and secured British liberty.  The fundamental rights of Englishmen, in the words of William Henry Drayton, are “rights which no time, no contract, no climate can diminish.”  This great inheritance should be a source of British identity and the fortress from which Britons fight the Islamization of their country.

Today, Britons look to the Human Rights Act 1998, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into the British law.  The act makes it unlawful for any public body to behave in a way that is incompatible with the Convention.  Case law from Strasbourg and the European Court of Human Rights is binding on British judges.  “Human rights” rather than the “rights of Englishmen” has become the law that modern Britons invoke when government officials overstep their authority.

The episode with the schoolboys shows that even in 2008 multiculturalists can push for a bridge too far.  In Stoke-on-Trent, this bridge was mandatory worship of a false god.  Fortunately, two plucky lads refused to violate the First Commandment.  Unfortunately, their parents are not using the incident to teach them about the rights of Englishmen.  The parents’ pathetic appeal to “human rights” as defined by judges in Strasbourg teaches British children nothing about their inheritance, nor does it equip them to resist other forms of multiculturalist tyranny.