SOUTH African Muslim organisations have objected to the introduction of sex education in schools, specifically the inclusion of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme to the curriculum.
The South African Muslim Network (Samnet) wrote to the ministers of basic education and higher education and training to reiterate their opposition to the introduction of concepts such as sexual desire, sexual diversity, sexual expression and enjoyment, motivations for having and not having sex, and the way it has been proposed.
The letter said the CSE programme was known to demean religion and faith, considering that the majority of South Africans considered themselves as people of faith.
“We must resist any foreign force using donor aid or political pressure to further an agenda that is not in keeping with the vast majority of our people’s views,” the letter read.
Dr Faisal Suliman, chairperson of Samnet, said there was no need for a CSE programme because sex education was already covered in existing subjects.
“Sexual education is covered in life orientation, biology and life sciences. Why are they introducing the CSE programme?” he asked.
Suliman said he hoped the minister would take into consideration the opposition raised by a number of organisations to the programme.
“An overwhelming majority of the Muslim community, including many schools, have come out against the CSE programme.
“In discussions that we have had on social media, they oppose the content, saying it is not necessary,” he said.
Suliman said the Muslim community was not against children being educated on the issue, but there was a specific time, place and manner where they could be taught something like this.
Moulana Ahmed Mahomedy, the head of religious studies at Durban’s Orient Islamic School and the head of Jamiatul Ulama KZN, a body of Muslim theologians, said the government had a moral responsibility to safeguard the educational content of any syllabus within the framework of decency and modesty.
“This will have an extremely detrimental result on young innocent minds, who are our responsibility and the responsibility of the entire nation,” he said.
Ebrahim Bham, secretary-general of the Jamiatul Ulama, said in terms of what is permissible to them as a religious community, moral instruction delivered traditionally through the home and religious schools was sufficient for the purpose of sex education.
“We are concerned about the manner in which the liberal education establishment attempts to tamper with this sensitive subject in the classroom. We will engage with relevant authorities to express our concerns and where necessary, put (forward an) alternative framework,” Bham said.
Nomsa Marchesi, MP and DA shadow minister of basic education, said the party had written to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on basic education to brief civil society and parents on the content and material of CSE.
“Sex education must strike a careful balance between equipping young people with the information they need to make the right choices, and unintentionally over-sexualising learners,” Marchesi said.