Towards an overlapping consensus: Muslim teachers’ views on fundamental British values

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


New Teachers’ Standards were implemented in England in September 2012, giving prominent place to ‘Fundamental British Values’ (FBV). This paper presents the findings of a small-scale research project carried out to understand Muslim teachers’ perspectives on the standards, and FBVs in particular. Though the teachers made several criticisms of FBVs, they did not see any incompatibility between FBVs and their conception of Islamic values. The paper proposes that the teachers’ responses reflect Rawlsian ‘overlapping consensus’ and situates the roots of this consensus in contemporary Muslim intellectual history and the modernist reforms. Finally, a case is made that the teachers’ responses problematise the essentialised understanding of terms such as ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ and indicate the interpretive and open-ended nature of cultures.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Education for Teaching