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British teacher forced to apologise for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons to students, police officials read the statement to Muslim protestors

Imam Mohammed Amin Pandor, the director of the 'Peace Institute', and a few others gathered outside the school to condemn the use of the images as "totally unacceptable" and demanded that the teacher involved has been suspended.

The headteacher of a school in the United Kingdom was forced to apologise to Muslims for showing satirical cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad to students. The teacher has also been suspended pending a formal investigation.

According to the reports, Gary Kibble, the head of Batley Grammar School, apologised to parents for showing the cartoons taken from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a religious studies lesson this week. Following that, a massive protest was organised outside the school on Thursday morning, calling for the teacher’s resignation.

Imam Mohammed Amin Pandor, the director of the ‘Peace Institute’, and a few others gathered outside the school to condemn the use of the images as “totally unacceptable” and demanded that the teacher involved has been suspended.

The school authorities issued a formal apology to the members of the Muslim community and assured them that they would initiate an investigation into the issue. The protests were reportedly organised by giving calls on social media, asking parents to assemble outside school to demand teacher’s suspension or resignation for showing the cartoons.

“Upon investigation, it was clear that the resource used in the lesson was completely inappropriate and had the capacity to cause great offence to members of our school community for which we would like to offer a sincere and full apology,” Kibble said, promising a further investigation.

The videos of protests that have gone viral on social media showed about 30 to 40 people protesting outside the school while police stood at the entrances of the school. In a video, the police officials were seen reading the statement issued by Gary Kibble.

Schoolteacher suspended after protests over Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Meanwhile, the school authorities have suspended the teacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in his class.

In an updated statement, the school said, “The school unequivocally apologises for using a totally inappropriate resource in a recent religious studies lesson. The member of staff has also given their most sincere apologies.”

“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,” the statement said.

Department of Education condemns protests

Following the arbitrary suspension, the Department for Education has condemned the protests and threats, saying such protests are “completely unacceptable”. The spokesperson also said the protests were “in violation of coronavirus restrictions”.

“Schools are free to include a full range of issues, ideas and materials in their curriculum, including where they are challenging or controversial, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance. They must balance this with the need to promote respect and tolerance between people of different faiths and beliefs, including in deciding which materials to use in the classroom,” the spokesperson added.

The protests outside a school in the United Kingdom comes at the backdrop of increasing cases of threats and intimidation being carried out by the members of Muslim communities against the idea of free speech. Also, the protests also remind of the horrific killing of French teacher Samuel Patty, who was beheaded by an Islamic terrorist for showing caricatures of Prophet to his students.

The killing of French teacher Samuel Patty

In October last year, a high-school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an Islamic terrorist in the French capital Paris for allegedly shown caricatures of the Prophet of Islam to his students. A Muslim youth stabbed a 47-year-old teacher in his throat while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

The attacks occurred at the suburb of Conflans-Saint-Honorine, northwest of Paris, on Friday. The terrorist was identified as an 18-year-old Muslim youth, allegedly belonging to Chechnya, Russia. Shockingly, the attacker had also taken to social media to post the images of the victim’s severed head, which was later removed by the authorities. 

The barbaric attack on Samuel Paty was a grim reminder of how Islamists have often used Prophet Mohammed cartoons as an excuse to carry out attacks across the globe. The cartoons of Prophet Mohammed have been used by Islamic terrorists as a justification to carry out several attacks especially in Europe. 

In 2015, Islamic terrorist had attacked offices of Charlie Hebdo after the satirical newspaper had published cartoons that depicted Muhammad, which is strictly prohibited in Islam.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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