In the heavily Muslim populated area of Birmingham, UK, an estimated 600 Muslim children have been withdrawn from a school in protest against lessons about homosexuality and gender equality. Even better, some of the Muslim parents said they would rather leave the UK than allow their children to continue attending Parkfield Community School. And some have done just that and are returning to Pakistan. At Parkfield, 98% of the 750 pupils are from an Islamic background.
Daily Mail The pupils, ages 4 – 11, who represent about 80% of the school’s enrollment, are being kept home from Parkfield Community School in Birmingham to protest the school’s ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which teaches children about LGBT lifestyles. (Unlike Muslim schools, they don’t teach the children that homosexuals should be thrown off roofs)
The Alum Community Rock Forum told Birmingham Live the pupils were pulled out of the classroom, because the school was ‘undermining parental rights and aggressively promoting homosexuality’.
‘Dialogue, petitioning and protests by parents have been repeated and arrogantly ignored,’ the forum said. ‘Our children, our choice – work with parents not against them.’ Friday’s action comes after weekly demonstrations against the school’s programme, including one that was attended by 300 parents and children last month.
Parents’ anger is aimed at the school’s assistant head Andrew Moffat, who is behind the No Outsiders lessons. He created the scheme to teach children about the Equality Act and British values.
Pupils at the school – rated outstanding by Ofsted – have five of these lessons a year, covering areas outlined in the Act: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The programme was first piloted at the school in 2014 and is now also taught at dozens of other schools in the country. Mr Moffat, who is in a civil partnership, was made an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017. He is currently shortlisted for a ‘world’s best teacher’ award.
Mariam Ahmed, whose four-year-old daughter attends the school, organised a petition against the No Outsiders project. She said: ‘What they are teaching is not right, they are too young. There are nine parts of the Act and they only seem to be focusing on one, homosexuality, and that is wrong. They need to have an ethos which reflects the area.
One father at the school, whose six-year-old daughter attends the school, said his wife wanted to leave the country rather than let her daughter attend the lessons. The man, who did not want to be named, said: ‘My daughter has been asking questions my wife did not know how to answer.
‘She is too young for this. A family who live near me have already returned to Pakistan because of it.’ Some of the parents said Islam did not accept homosexuality, while others said they were not against it, but accused the teacher of promoting ‘personal beliefs’.
Mr Moffat said he tried to meet parents, but stopped when they became ‘personal and aggressive’. He has described receiving threats from parents online. He told the BBC: ‘I have felt very threatened … it’s been a challenging couple of weeks.