Two seventh-grade boys were given detention and their classmates forced to miss their scheduled refreshment break when the pair refused to kneel and pray to Allah during a religious studies class.
Outraged parents called the punishment of the boys for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration at Alsager High School near Stoke-on-Trent, UK, of how Muslims’ worship Allah a breach of their human rights.
“This isn’t right, it’s taking things too far,” parent Sharon Luinen told the London Daily Mail.
“I understand that they have to learn about other religions. I can live with that, but it is taking it a step too far to be punished because they wouldn’t join in Muslim prayer. Making them pray to Allah, who isn’t who they worship, is wrong and what got me is that they were told they were being disrespectful.
“I don’t want this to look as if I have a problem with the school because I am generally very happy with it.”
Last month, WND reported Principal Robin Lowe was reassigned after staging a mandatory lesson in Islamic religious beliefs for nearly 900 students at her Houston-area school.
The controversy erupted at Friendswood Junior High when students were diverted from a scheduled physical education class and taken to a special assembly.
In the 40-minute session, representatives of the Houston office of the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization critics link to terrorist groups, presented a lesson in the religious beliefs and requirements of Islam.
The CAIR representatives instructed students that Adam, Noah and Jesus are prophets; announced “there is one god, his name is Allah”; taught the five pillars of Islam; told students how to pray five times a day; and gave instruction on Islamic religious requirements for dress.
The assembly had not been authorized by the district, officials confirmed.
In May, officials at a Minnesota charter school, housed in the same building as a mosque, attacked a television news crew investigating whether the publicly funded institution had complied with a state order to stop accommodating Islamic prayers and religious programs.
The investigation followed revelations by a substitute teacher who observed children being forced to participate in Islamic prayers.
In the Alsager School incident, the religion teacher, who was not named, made the class wear Muslim headgear and watch a short film. Afterward, she took prayer mats from her cupboard and said, “we are now going out to pray to Allah,” parents claimed.
“I am absolutely furious my daughter was made to take part in it and I don’t find it acceptable,” said parent Karen Williams.
“Not only was it forced upon them, my daughter was told off for not doing it right. They’d never done it before and they were supposed to do it in another language.”
“My child has been forced to pray to Allah in a school lesson,” the grandfather of one of the students said.
“It’s absolutely disgusting, there’s no other way of putting it. My daughter and a lot of other mothers are furious about their children being made to kneel on the floor and pray to Islam. If they didn’t do it they were given detention.
“I am not racist, I’ve been friendly with an Indian for 30 years. I’ve also been to a Muslim wedding where it was explained to me that alcohol would not be served and I respected that. But if Muslims were asked to go to church on Sunday and take Holy Communion there would be war.”
Keith Plant, Alsager’s deputy headmaster, said with summer break, many of the staff was unavailable and he could not comment fully.
“I think that it is a shame that so many parents have got in touch with the press before coming to me. I have spoken to the teacher and she has articulately given me her version of events, but that is all I can give you at the moment.”
Cheshire County Council issued a statement telling parents “inquiries are being made into the circumstances as a matter of urgency.
“Educating children in the beliefs of different faith is part of the diversity curriculum on the basis that knowledge is essential to understanding. We accept that such teaching is to be conducted with some sense of sensitivity.”
Revelation of the incident follows this week’s pronouncement by the UK’s top judge, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, that Islamic sharia law should be used in the UK.
In a speech to an East London mosque, Phillips said, “Those entering into a contractual agreement can agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.’
“Those who are in dispute are free to subject it to mediation or to agree that it shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator. There is no reason why principles of sharia law or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of dispute resolution.”
Phillips signaled approval of sharia principles as long as punishments – and divorce rulings – complied with the law of the land.
In February, WND reported Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, chief of the 70-million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion, advocated the establishment of Islamic law in Britain.