Children had been shown the image of Mohammed during a religious studies class, prompting protests and calls for the teachers to be sacked
A group of parents of children at Batley Grammar School have called for calm after a teacher of the school had shown students a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, which is seen as offensive within the Islamic faith.
The image had been shown to children by a teacher during a religious studies class as part of a discussion about blasphemy on the 22nd of March.
It prompted protests outside of the school located in West Yorkshire, and an apology from the school, as well as the suspension of the teacher who was involved.
This comes after people are now permitted to be meeting in groups of up to six people, or as two households, and outdoor team sports are also allowed to restart in a major easing of the lockdown restrictions in England.
On Sunday evening, Yunus Lunat, a spokesperson for the Batley Parents And Community Partnership,had said that the teacher had failed to realise how the image was “loaded with Islamophobic tropes”.
He added: “We believe that in a democratic society everyone holds a right to opinion and expression, however, we as parents and citizens also believe that with these rights come responsibility.
“We as parents and citizens stand resolute that our children should be able to attend school without having their faith – which is protected in law – or their culture ridiculed, insulted or vilified.”
Police officers had been called to the school on both Thursday and Friday, as the protesters had called for the teacher involved to lose their job. There have been no arrests made.
Mr Lunat had expressed his fears last week that the incident would be “hijacked” by people who are anti-Muslim, a concern of which was echoed by Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Tracy Brabin, who had accused some of “fanning the flames” in ways that would “only provoke hate and division”.
On Sunday evening, Mr Lunat said: “Unfortunately, unhelpful comments and biased media reporting that seek to hijack the issue have undermined the essential relationship between local communities and local public institutions.
“We are fully invested in dialogue and legitimate engagement.”
This comes after the University of Oxford has said that the existing COVID-19 vaccines may protect against the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus as the P1 strain could potentially be less resistant to antibodies than was first thought.
He continued by saying:
“Any and all such threats against the school and staff involved undermine our efforts and are completely contrary to our values as concerned parents, citizens and Muslims.
“We therefore call for calm in order to allow for fruitful dialogue and space for a transparent investigation to be undertaken.”
He said that school children should be allowed to “engage with challenging ideas such as blasphemy without their teachers having to resort to using Islamophobic material” which “only serves to marginalise Muslim communities and spread Islamophobic sentiment”.
Parents have been grateful for the cooperation from the school so far, he said, adding that the “initial progress” had been made, with the school removing the caricature of Mohammed from within its teaching material and also announcing a new review of the schools religious studies curriculum.