Two British schoolboys were given detention after refusing to kneel down and ‘pray to Allah’ during a religious education lesson.
Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped.
They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent – which included wearing Muslim headgear – was a breach of their human rights.
One parent, Sharon Luinen, said: “This isn’t right, it’s taking things too far.
“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.”
Another parent Karen Williams said: “I am absolutely furious my daughter was made to take part in it and I don’t find it acceptable.
“I haven’t got a problem with them teaching my child other religions and a small amount of information doesn’t do any harm.
“But not only did they have to pray, the teacher had gone into the class and made them watch a short film and then said ‘we are now going out to pray to Allah’.
“Then two boys got detention and all the other children missed their refreshment break because of the teacher.
“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 pupils in the class 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.”
Parents said that their children were made to bend down on their knees on prayer mats which the RE teacher had got out of her cupboard and they were also told to wear Islamic headgear during the lesson on Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy headmaster Keith Plant said: “It’s difficult to know at the moment whether this was part of the curriculum or not. I am not an RE teacher, I am an English teacher.
“At the moment it is our enterprise week and many of our members of staff are away.
“The particular member of staff you need to speak to isn’t around. 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.”
A statement from Cheshire County Council on behalf of the school read: “The headteacher David Black contacted this authority immediately complaints were received.
“Enquiries are being made into the circumstances as a matter of urgency and all parents will be informed accordingly.
“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.”
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