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Mosques call for calm after Prophet Muhammad image shown at Sheffield school assembly

From the Sheffield Star

Sheffield mosques have called for calm after a teacher mistakenly showed an image of Prophet Muhammad during a school assembly last week.

Federation of Mosques in Sheffield asked parents and the community to accept the apology made by Hunter's Bar Junior School in Sharrow, which has subsequently launched a formal investigation into the incident.

In a statement, they 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 in light 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.”

During the assembly on Friday, an image of Prophet Muhammad was mistakenly shown to celebrate the achievements of the children and to celebrate events and people who are valued at the school.

However, when the assembly slides were being compiled, an image of Prophet Muhammad was added. So, presumably, not one of the cartoons, or anything critical of Islam. One of the Persian minatures produced in the 14th century for contemporary devotions maybe?

The school then released a letter of apology to the parents on Tuesday, saying that it was a “genuine mistake and the person involved is mortified."

But a parent, Atif Mohammed said the apology was not enough, until the deputy head who was responsible for the assembly steps down from her position. He said: "I'm not letting my kids to school until this matter is resolved. I believe awareness needs to be out there for that to happen, otherwise it is going to get brushed under the table again."

He said other parents have decided to strike and have stopped sending their children, starting Tuesday.

Some Muslim mothers and fathers said that while it was unacceptable to show such an image, it wasn't done in bad faith and didn't mock the prophet.

Mohammed Ali, 48, a single father-of-two said he was upset after seeing a police car drive past the school, reportedly to 'check if there was unrest'. But he said that he - and a group of 30 parents - have written to the school to show support. 'I was sympathetic to what they were saying and I could tell it was an honest mistake.

Another unnamed Muslim parent said that most families were happy with the school and accepted the apology. They said: 'Most parents will not take their children out of school. This is a good school and they have made apologies.'

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Head Teacher 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 Muhammad 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. . . celebrate our diverse community that we are so proud of. . . acknowledge the deep hurt and upset  . . . offer our sincere and humble apologies.” Stand up you grovelling dhimmi and stop prostrating yourself. 

Mr Mohammed, who has led the criticism, has sought the advice from the Madina Mosque situated just a mile away from the school, with talks of a protest brewing with a group of furious parents. 

'I believe everyone can make mistakes, but it is ludicrous that the deputy could first think it was the Prophet's birthday (this year it is expected in October) and then show a picture of him. 'I'm so disappointed by the school. They are meant to educate and they've shown such blatant ignorance.

'There will be meetings in the mosque. We will be taking it further there as they work closely with people in education in Sheffield. We are considering protesting. We will sit down with the mosque. It's about what is right and what is wrong.'

Mr Mohammed said when he confronted head teacher Michael Watson on whether the member of staff would be sacked or suspended he was told to 'wait five working days'.  'It's ridiculous . . . they are trying to brush it under the carpet.'


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