Hanna de Jong-Markus

General Introduction 25 1 Religious diversity and Islamic schools Recently, Budak (2021) described the development of Islamic primary education in the Netherlands between 1988 and 2013. His study shows that it was precisely the social debate on the place of Islamic education in society which focused on the integration of Muslims and security after the 9/11 attacks, which ensured that these schools developed differently than, for example, Christian schools. According to Budak (2021) the identity formation of Christian primary schools is influenced by secularisation, de-churching and individualisation, while Islamic primary schools had to relate to suspicion of poor integration from politicians, media and the Inspectorate of Education. This has caused those involved with Islamic schools to express themselves more explicitly and extrovertly about the task of preparing their Muslim pupils for participation in Dutch society. Beemsterboer (2018) also pointed out that the Dutch societal context is a central feature within Islamic education because schools want to prepare their pupils for a future in the Netherlands, and tensions between Islam and that societal context are assumed; the school is perceived by pupils and parents as a safe place, therefore sensitive issues can be discussed and thus schools contribute to Muslims’ integration into Dutch society (cf. Budak, 2021). Moreover, an important characteristic of Islamic primary schools is that they are very diverse, given the great diversity among Muslims themselves and the relatively limited number of Islamic schools. This creates major differences in the backgrounds of pupils within the schools. In addition, teachers in Islamic schools are not necessarily Muslim themselves. In the practice of Islamic education much attention is paid to this diversity, so that those involved in the school grow closer to each other (Beemsterboer, 2018; Budak, 2021). The most important differences between Islamic schools have to do with the balance that is chosen between the alignment with the Islamic home environment and that with the Dutch societal context (Beemsterboer, 2018). Interestingly, both aspects deemed characteristic of Islamic education seem to have appeared in orthodox Protestant schools as well: these schools experience suspicion— or at least the need to defend themselves—and the internal diversity among the people involved with the school has increased (as described above and in Section 1.2). 1.5 Teaching Profession and Teacher Education Research on teachers’ thoughts and actions is an important way to improve understanding of how the religiously diverse context is handled in schools with monoreligious characteristics. After all, the teacher is the one who ultimately realises education while playing a key role in educational quality (Hattie, 2012; Leu, 2005; Onderwijsraad,