Antonia Merola, Crewe (UK) Chronicle, July 9, 2008
A high school has suspended a teacher following claims that pupils were punished for not praying to Allah.
Education bosses have launched an investigation following complaints from parents after two Year Seven Alsager High School pupils were given detention for refusing to take part in a practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped, which included them wearing Muslim headgear.
The inquiries will involve parental complaints about “methods” of education on the Islamic faith and also ongoing inquiries centred around other practice issues.
Cheshire County Council said the suspension is not in itself a disciplinary measure.
Meanwhile, concerned parents are calling on the education authority to investigate how religion is taught in schools.
Parent Sharon Luinen said: “At the moment I am happy with the way the school have dealt with the issue and don’t want this to look as if I have a problem with the school because I am very happy with it.
“I am all for children learning about multicultural societies as they do need to know about the different faiths, but my gripe is they shouldn’t have to take part in something they don’t believe in or want to do. To say they were disrespecting Allah because they didn’t want to take part is a bit much.
“These children are the youngest in the school and are not going to question the authority of their teachers.
“It would be just as horrifying if a Muslim child was told to say Christian prayers.”
County children’s services director Joan Feenan, said: “Educating children in the beliefs of different faiths is part of the national curriculum in secular schools and I’m sure that the great majority of our parents welcome any efforts to further mutual understanding.
“Having said that this authority also accepts without question that such teaching should be carried out with awareness, sensitivity and sound common sense.”
[Editor’s Note: An account of the original incident in which a teacher punished schoolboys for not praying to Allah can be read here.]