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British teacher threatened with death for showing Muhammad cartoons in class


He has been suspended by the school administration and is under police protection after being identified on social media

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Banner against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in Moscow, last year.REUTERS
  • Islamist attack Samuel Paty, the professor beheaded in France for teaching Muhammad cartoons in class

A British teacher has received death threats for showing caricatures of Muhammad from the magazine Charlie Hebdo. The teacher has been suspended by the management of the Batley Grammar School, which had to partially close its facilities on Friday before the protests than fifty Muslims.

The Secretary of Education, Gavin Williamson, nevertheless came out in defense of the teacher, who is under police protection after being identified on social media. “It is unacceptable to intimidate or threaten teachers,” Williamson said. “We we promote the dialogue between parents and teachers when issues like this come up. ”

“Schools must be free to include a wide spectrum of ideas and materials in their curriculum, including some that may be controversial,” added the Secretary of Education. “In any case, a balance must be found in the need to promote tolerance and respect between people who profess different religions. ”

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In October 2020, a French high school teacher, Samuel Paty, was assassinated and beheaded days after showing a cartoon of Muhammad in class. In 2015, twelve people were killed in the terrorist attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The British professor incident has had a high impact in the town of Batley, near Bradford, one of the British cities with the highest proportion of Islamic population. The local magnet, Mohamed Amin Pandor, was among the first to request the suspension of the teacher after showing the caricature of Muhammad to his students: “What has happened is totally unacceptable, and so we let the management know. ”

The local NGO Purpose of Life called for protests at the school and divulged on social networks the identity of the teacher. “The community is deeply hurt,” its founder, Mohamed Sajad Hussain, told The Times, condemning “the sadistic conduct” of the teacher. “Even liberal democracies must have a limit for freedom of expression; we cannot use it to offend. “

The headmaster of the school apologizes

The Muslim Association of Great Britain has also joined the protests with a statement condemning “the rise of the Islamophobic rhetoric and the use of images of the Prophet Muhammad that are offensive to Muslims. “The association asked the school to investigate the facts and ‘take appropriate measures.’

The school’s principal, Gary Kibble, has asked “unequivocally sorry for the use of a totally inappropriate material “ in religious education class. However, several parents have made common cause with a petition written by dozens of students who have demanded the reinstatement of the “fantastic” teacher, a former amateur rugby player who had recently confessed his intention to devote his life to teaching.

The Secretary of Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, for his part condemned the protests at the school this Friday: “We should not allow teachers to feel intimidated.”. Labor MP for Batley, Tracy Brabin, also accused the protesters of “stirring the flames and provoking hatred and division.”

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