Essex

Thurrock parents take children out of Islam RE classes

Thurrock Council Image copyright Google
Image caption SACRE representatives will meet Thurrock Council officials to discuss their concerns about Islamophobia

A growing number of parents are taking their children out of religious education lessons in protest at the teaching of Islam, officials have said.

Members of a local education body believe "integration issues" in Thurrock, Essex, are fuelling the rise.

Thurrock Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) is due to meet Thurrock Council bosses to ask for the "nature and extent" of withdrawals to be investigated.

The council has been asked for comment.

In a report published online, SACRE said that most hate crimes recorded in Thurrock were against Muslims, and reducing the number was seen as "a priority".

It read: "SACRE is aware that some schools in Thurrock have experienced these tensions directly. For example, parents have objected to the teaching of Islam and withdrawn children from lessons and visits to places of worship.

"The outcome for those children, who arguably are those that most need to be taught about Islam, are no longer being taught about it."

'Inaccurate views'

The report added: "It is not clear whether or not this is a widespread issue in Thurrock, but it is clear that SACRE needs to investigate.

"Schools have a statutory duty to promote community cohesion."

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said that in today's "increasingly diverse" society, it is "more crucial than ever to learn about each other's faith and cultures".

He added: "As hostility towards Muslim communities remains widespread and more young people are brought up with inaccurate views about Muslims, we believe visits to mosques are an important way to help resolve misunderstandings."

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