MEND statement on the displaying of images of the Prophet Mohammad ﷺ at Batley Grammar School
Thursday March 25 2021
On Monday 22 March 2021, during a year 9 Religious Studies class, the topic of ‘Blasphemy’ was taught by a teacher at Batley Grammar School.
Parents have stated that the RS teacher displayed a caricature of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ illustrated by French publication, Charlie Hebdo. The caricature entails an extremely offensive cartoon of Prophet Mohammad with a turban bomb and kalima written on it.
The parents further allege the teacher said, “some of you will be offended by what I am about to show… but it is my right to freedom of expression as per British values,” and that he went on to have a class discussion about the Charlie Hebdo attacks and who was to blame, the cartoonist or the attacker.
Parents at the school, concerned Muslim institutes and mosques contacted MEND and the Islamophobia Response Unit for guidance on how to rectify the situation. In response to the parents, initial action the school have agreed to includes:
- the removal of the resource from the RS materials,
- suspension of that lesson content from the scheme of work, and
- a formal review of the RS curriculum to ensure no other resource or statement is inappropriate
The IRU is assisting some concerned parents on this matter to achieve further positive and more satisfactory outcomes including:
- Action to be taken against the teacher concerned;
- A curriculum and staff training review to ensure this does not occur again;
- Commitment to engage with parents and the wider community;
- The School to share findings of the investigation to concerned parents, local community and concerned individuals; and
- A full and unreserved apology to students, parents and concerned individuals.