At about eight o'clock on a dull autumnal morning, a mother is
preparing breakfast for her young son in the kitchen of an unassuming
private house on a little modern estate in Leicester. The doorbell
rings. Outside, a series of people carriers and estate cars are rolling
up one by one; out of them tumbling a succession of children in twos and
threes, all in traditional Islamic dress.
By 8.30, 26 children –
some of them only just old enough for school, some almost grown – are
sitting in tight rows on the floor of a little inner room, reciting
morning prayers in Arabic and in English. By 9.30, the conservatory has
become an infant classroom, the dining room has been taken over by the
juniors and in the living room, year 7 and 8 girls are preparing to
spread their geography projects across the laminate flooring.
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