Education, it has been said, has four pillars – learning to be, learning to know, learning to do, and learning to live with others.
In these four ways, education is a force for healthy, mature and positive integration.
To educate a child, it has also been said, requires a whole village – mothers, fathers and families, of course, and neighbours and friends, and teachers in schools and colleges, and many other people as well.
Integration, lots of people have said, is a two-way road.
In both directions, says a report published today, the travellers on the two-way road are a mix of good, bad and normal.
The report is entitled Our Shared Future: Muslims and Integration in the UK, and it can be read online free of charge at http://www.mcb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Our-Shared-British-Future-Report_Integration-14-March-2018.pdf
Published by the Muslim Council of Britain, the report contains the views and voices of a wide range of people ─ politicians (including Baroness Warsi, Dominic Grieve and Diane Abbott), lawyers, scholars and imams, academics and lecturers, activists and campaigners, community representatives, a chief constable, a poet ─ and from all four nations of the UK, and all parts of England.
The topics include employment, housing, the media, art and culture, education, gender, activism, loneliness, social mobility, policing, public life, Islamophobia, Islamic theology.
There are case studies and personal stories, statistics and diagrams, think pieces and practical proposals ─ about 40 different contributions altogether. The concluding contribution is a poem by Narjis Khan. Her final words are these:
How many more Mo Farahs will it take
before we can finally put an end to this debate?
We shouldn’t have to prove our worth to this nation
when most of us are only here because of colonisation.
So isn’t it time we moved on the conversation
and took ‘integration’ out of the equation?
Because ultimately in a world that’s been artificially divided
by lines on a map elsewhere decided,
all of us are just trying to improve our situation,
find a better life for ourselves and the next generation.
Surely that’s not something so controversial,
but an accepted truth, a value universal.