Muslim parent refuses to send children to school after teacher showed Prophet Mohammed image in assembly

Hunter's Bar Junior School in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, where a
Hunter's Bar Junior School in Sheffield, where a Muslim parent is refusing to send his children after a teacher mistakenly showed an image of the Prophet Mohammed in an assembly. (Google Maps)

A Muslim parent is refusing to send his children to school after a teacher mistakenly showed an image of the Prophet Mohammed during assembly.

Staff have since apologised for the incident, which happened at Hunter's Bar Junior School in Sheffield last week, saying the teacher was left "mortified" by the "genuine mistake".

But Atif Mohammed has rejected the apology and demanded that the school's deputy head, who he believes was responsible for accidentally displaying the image, step down.

Religious leaders are now calling for calm after the incident, which comes just over a month after hundreds of angry protesters descended on Batley Grammar School following a similar situation. 

In March, a teacher was suspended from the West Yorkshire school after showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, sparking protests outside the school and prompting housing secretary Robert Jenrick to say that reports the teacher was forced into hiding were "very disturbing"

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In the incident at Hunter's Bar Junior School, an image of the Prophet Mohammed was reportedly shown during an assembly on Friday (30 April) in a presentation celebrating the achievements of the children during the holy month of Ramadan.

Islam forbids all kinds of pictorial depiction of Mohammed or any other prophets as they are thought to encourage the worship of idols.

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Atif Mohammed said his children will not attend school until the matter "is resolved" and said other parents will do the same.

He said: "I believe awareness needs to be out there for that to happen, otherwise it is going to get brushed under the table again."

Protesters give a statement to members of the media outside Batley Grammar School in Batley, West Yorkshire, where a teacher has been suspended for reportedly showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils during a religious studies lesson. Picture date: Friday March 26, 2021.
Religious leaders have called for calm after the incident in Sheffield, which comes just weeks after protests outside Batley Grammar School. (PA)

But religious leaders have called for calm and asked parents to accept the apology made by the school, which has launched an investigation into the incident.

In a statement, the Federation of Mosques, said: "The school has been in touch with parents and with community leaders and sincerely apologised and accepted the mistake they made during their Ramadan celebrations.

"Today they have announced an independent inquiry as well. They are asking for help to rectify the mistake.

"Therefore it is our duty to guide them to the right direction and enlighten them with Islamic teachings. We see no benefit in external elements getting involved in our city and raising issues.

"Therefore we ask you to accept the apology and let them complete the inquiry."

In a statement issued on Wednesday, headteacher Michael Watson said: "Last Friday during a celebration assembly marking the holy month of Ramadan a mistake was made that resulted in a picture of the Prophet Mohammed being shown.

"We are aware and understand fully how offensive this is to our Muslim community and I offer my heartfelt apologies for the upset caused.

"I have been meeting and working with the children, parents and staff affected alongside other members of the Muslim community to do what we can to put this right and will continue to do so.

"We will conduct a formal investigation in accordance with the Sheffield Local Authority process into how and why the incident occurred and establish findings and actionable recommendations.

“I want to reassure our Muslim community that we are doing all we can to find a fair and just way forward that rebuilds trust and faith in our school, so you can be confident that our pupils, families and staff understand, support and celebrate our diverse community that we are so proud of.

"Once again we want to acknowledge the deep hurt and upset this has caused some of our community and offer our sincere and humble apologies."

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