Sunday, 25 April 2021
Batley Muslim outrage spreads to Slough: Protesters gather outside Slough Council offices demanding deputy leader to resign

From the Slough Observer

PROTESTERS are set to gather for the third time at the Slough Borough Council building demanding the resignation of the deputy leader.

Campaigners will again make their voices heard (Friday) for councillor Sabia Akram (Lab: Elliman) to stand down as the second-in-command of the leadership over controversial social media posts she made a few weeks back.

In her now deleted Facebook page, Cllr Akram said she was “shocked and saddened” to see the Batley Grammar School teacher and his family to go into hiding after receiving death threats over showing a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed in a religious studies class. 

On her Facebook post, she wrote: “To the teacher, if you need to leave Batley which I wouldn’t blame you! Come to Slough. We’ll welcome you and your family.”

This sparked anger as some saw this as defending and being sympathetic to the “blasphemous” teacher’s actions of showing a Charlie Hebdo cartoon drawing of the Prophet. . .  leading to a now-closed petition calling for her to resign her leadership role. Over 1,300 people signed it.

The petitioner said: “Anyone who disrespects our Prophet (pbuh) has no position in our lives,” adding “I don’t wish to see this evil person as my leader”

For the past few weeks, protesters have been gathering outside the Slough Borough Council building on Fridays demanding Cllr Akram to stand down as deputy leader for welcoming the controversial teacher to Slough. Friday, April 23 was their third protest.

Cllr Akram revealed to all Slough councillors in an email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she and her family have received death threats and harassment since the post. 

The deputy leader later apologised for “any hurt” her previous posts caused and did not mean to cause “great offence” to anyone nor to undermine the Prophet and his esteem. See how penitent she has to show herself to be in the FB post left - yet these are not enough to protect her from protests and death threats. While not defending the teacher’s “disrespectful” actions, Cllr Akram, who is Muslim, said he should be forgiven for his mistake, not threatened to be killed.

She also called for Muslim leaders not to condone those who are sending threats to the teacher and those protesting outside the school gates, disrupting pupils learning.

Councillors from both Labour and Conservative offered their support to Cllr Akram, condemning the attacks on her as ‘malice’ and ‘not justified’.

Posted on 04/25/2021 4:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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