A school in Batley, West Yorkshire, apologised to parents after a teacher showed blasphemous photographs of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to students.
The “resource” used in a Religious Studies lesson was “completely inappropriate” and caused great offence to members of the school community, according to Batley Grammar School, which has a large Muslim population.
The school, which caters for pupils aged 5-16, says it has launched an investigation, removed the resource from lessons and is now reviewing the Religious Studies curriculum.
A protest by some parents who wanted the teacher to be sacked took place outside the school.
In Islam, respecting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is the most fundamental aspect which includes not showing or creating pictures of him.
The following statement was issued by the Batley Grammar School:
Dr Musharraf Hussain OBE, DL, of the Trust Building Forum, Karimia Institute Nottingham, praises Batley Grammar School and the Muslim community for their efforts to work together and rebuild trust: “Willingness to talk and willingness to listen is essential to repair hurt and misunderstandings in our society.
“The spokesperson for the parents Mr Yunus Lunat said to me: “It’s crucial everyone behaves responsibly- that includes the press. The positive relationship between the school, its pupils, parents and wider community must be preserved”.
“Whilst applauding the school’s admission of error we also commend the wisdom of the Muslim community leaders for whom they love and the honour of the beloved Prophet is the foundation of their faith. We must of course acknowledge that Muslims were hurt by the RE teacher’s behaviour and lost a lot of trust in the school – but we must also celebrate that by sharing their feelings with the school, the concerned parents began to see things differently and realised that the teacher’s intention was not what we first imagined. As British citizens, we urge the school and the Muslim community to continue this path of dealing with the issue quickly and effectively.
“This requires bold and wise leadership on both sides. You can’t put rebuilding trust on autopilot, it’s a manual process, a hands-on activity, we must champion, guard, and nurture it, and ensure both parties can feel that their own vulnerability and needs are being respected. The dynamics of trust are delicate in any relationship. Trust is mutual, it’s an ongoing conversation between two groups.
“Most importantly, we should not allow anyone to hijack this issue so they can spread hatred and ‘them’ and ‘us’ schism in our community. We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by those who would seek to use this to divide us – and stand firm in our celebration of the open communication and commitment to progress which has, and is continuing, to take place.
“As we have seen in Batley, trust can be earned, it can be lost – but it can be regained.”