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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Protest sparks over 'offensive' Prophet Mohammed cartoons at UK school

The cartoons were deemed offensive by Muslims [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 March, 2021

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A teacher at a school in the UK has been suspended for showing 'offensive' cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
A state high school in northern England apologised on Thursday and suspended a teacher as a chanting crowd denounced the use of an image of the Prophet Mohammed in class.

The incident at Batley Grammar school in West Yorkshire saw a teacher show offensive cartoons first published in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The outlet's Paris office was attacked in 2015 by Islamic extremists, leaving 12 people dead.

"The school unequivocally apologises for using a totally inappropriate image in a recent religious studies lesson," school principal Gary Kibble said in a televised statement.

"The member of staff has also related their most sincere apologies," he said.

"It's important for children to learn about faiths and beliefs. This must be done in a respectful, sensitive way." 

Around two dozen protestors gathered outside the school gates to demand resignations following the class, which reportedly took place on Monday.

The founder of a local charity called Purpose Of Life, Mohammad Sajad Hussain, said he was "deeply hurt" by the "insulting caricatures of our beloved Prophet Mohammed".

He said the charity was unwilling to continue its work with the school until the teacher was "permanently removed".

However, the National Secular Society called the protest an "attempt to impose an Islamic blasphemy taboo on a school".

There was no immediate comment from the British government.

The incident comes months after a teacher in France was killed by a radical Chechen teenager for showing cartoons of the the offensive cartoons to students during a lesson on free speech.

At the time, French President Emmanuel Macron defended the cartoons and called Islam as a "religion in crisis worldwide", leading to global protests and calls for boycotting French goods.

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