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Almost 60,000 Sign Petition Supporting Teacher Who Allegedly Showed Prophet Muhammad Cartoon

by : Saman Javed on : 29 Mar 2021 10:11
Almost 60,000 Sign Petition Supporting Teacher Who Allegedly Showed Prophet Muhammad CartoonPA

Almost 60,000 people have signed a petition in support of a teacher who allegedly showed students a caricature of Prophet Muhammad.

A religious studies teacher at Batley Grammar school in West Yorkshire has been suspended from his role pending an investigation after he is said to have showed his pupils a cartoon mocking the Muslim prophet.

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In the days that followed, protestors including religious teachers, students and their parents gathered outside of the school demanding disciplinary action.

In Islam, depictions of the prophet are considered deeply offensive. Protestors described the incident as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘Islamapahobic’.

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A petition, started by students at the school, claims the teacher was trying to educate students about racism and blasphemy.

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‘He warned the students before showing the images and he had the intent to educate them. He does not deserve such large repercussions. He is not racist and did not support the Islamophobic cartoons in any manner,’ the petitioners said.

So far, it has received 59,815 signatures.

The petition organisers have asked the public to consider the ‘teacher’s family’ and ‘financial stability’, adding that he ‘has already apologised and has been suspended’.

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‘Against all odds, students wish to make a statement and reinstate him back as a teacher in Batley Grammar School due to his pure intentions,’ the petition said.

Dr Shazad Amin, the deputy chair of Muslim Engagement and Development, an NGO that tackles Islamophobia in the media, told BBC News he saw ‘no problem’ with teachers discussing blasphemy but that the particular cartoon shown to pupils was ‘deeply offensive’ and ‘furthered stereotypes and anti-Islamic tropes’.

Amin said parents had ‘a right to feel hurt and a right to feel angry’ but asked them to allow the school to investigate the matter.

A mother of a child at the school who was at the protest last week said she had attended to show that ‘Islamophobia won’t be tolerated’.

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The woman, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Do not disrespect our prophet, that’s the message. We need to respect all religions, including Islam. To me, this act seems malicious. We know the whole world is sensitive about this topic, look at what has happened in France. A religious studies teacher must be aware of these issues.’

According to BBC News, the school’s headteacher, Gary Kibble, said the teacher has apologised ‘unequivocally’.

‘We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all the communities represented in our school,’ Kibble said.

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