A TEACHER who sparked a furious protest after he showed his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed is now under police protection, it’s reported.
The 29-year-old religious studies teacher is understood to be in hiding after he was named online last night by local charity Purpose of Life, which accused him of “sadistic behaviour”.
A religious studies teacher who showed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed was forced into hiding with his family after protests, it’s reportedCredit: SWNS
Protests have continued outside the school this morningCredit: SWNS
While just a few men were standing outside earlier today, numbers have quickly swollenCredit: PA
The teacher – a keen amateur rugby league player described by a neighbour as a “good, burly Yorkshire lad” – trained to teach in 2016.
He is understood to have four young children with his partner.
The neighbour said: “He likes his rugby and always had a smile for us.”
It comes after dozens of protesters gathered at the gates of Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire on Thursday morning.
Another protest is under way today, and the school is closed for a second day as cops man the gates.
This morning, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said he was ‘disturbed’ to hear that the teacher has been forced into hiding.
“It’s very disturbing,” he said.
“That’s not a road we want to go down in this country, so I’d strongly urge people who are concerned about this issue not to do that.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has called the “threats and intimidation” aimed at the teacher “completely unacceptable” – and said schools must be allowed to expose pupils to “challenging or controversial” issues.
Three years after the cartoon was published, 12 people were murdered during an armed attack at the magazine’s offices.
‘WE ARE FREE TO FOLLOW ANY RELIGION – OR NONE’
Mr Williamson said: “It is never acceptable to threaten or intimidate teachers.
“We encourage dialogue between parents and schools when issues emerge.
“However, the nature of protest we have seen, including issuing threats and in violation of coronavirus restrictions are completely unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”
“Schools are free to include a full range of issues, ideas and materials in their curriculum, including where they are challenging or controversial, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance.
“They must balance this with the need to promote respect and tolerance between people of different faiths and beliefs, including in deciding which materials to use in the classroom.”
Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor, also spoke out against the protests.
He said: “In this country we are free to peacefully follow, preach or query any religion or none.
“These are hard-won freedoms that must be upheld by all public institutions.
Dozens of protesters gathered at the gates of Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire yesterdayCredit: SWNS
Protests continued this morning, in spite of a social media post which claimed children are ‘scared’Credit: PA
Last night, the 29-year-old teacher and his family weren’t at their homeCredit: SWNS
Groups of men gathered outside again this morningCredit: Getty
“Reports of intimidation in Batley set a deeply unsettling and potentially dangerous precedent.”
It comes after teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded last October by an Islamist terrorist in France after showing his pupils a cartoon of the prophet.
In a letter to parents, Batley headmaster Gary Kibble, offered a “sincere and full apology” adding the picture shown was “completely inappropriate”.
But the apology did not deter dozens of parents gathering outside the school yesterday and today to demand that the teacher be sacked.
School bosses held a meeting with a local Imam before suspending the teacher.
A senior police source said the teacher was receiving police protection in the wake of his suspension, the Telegraph reports.
And the paper said that last night, the teacher, his partner and their young children were not at their home. The family are thought to have been moved to a safe location.
Police protection officers are understood to have rushed the family into hidingCredit: PA
The head of the school has apologised to the communityCredit: PA
But despite that, tensions are high as politicians including Gavin Williamson wade inCredit: SWNS
The Education Secretary called the situation ‘unacceptable’Credit: PA
The source said there had been a “series of meetings” inside West Yorkshire Police over the policing of the demonstration and how to handle the fall out including keeping the teacher safe.
“Officers have been especially assigned to him,” said the source.
“This is obviously very sensitive.
“Local Muslims are up in arms and the teacher has not apologised.
Who named the teacher?
The teacher was named in a statement by charity Purpose of Life
The organisation has worked with Batley Grammar School.
In a statement, Purpose of Life has said it “took great pleasure in working with Batley Grammar School helping the local children and we hope we can continue this beautiful relationship”.
But founder and chief executive Mohammed Sajad Hussain said this partnership can’t continue.
In the statement on Twitter, Mr Hussain said the actions of the teacher were tantamount to “terrorism to Islam”.
This morning, Mr Hussain admitted to MailOnline that he shared the teacher’s name.
He said: “His name was already while available in Internet posts and it was going around.
“I didn’t make public his name first. It was not our intention to cause any danger to him. In fact, we asked for only peaceful protest.”
However, he said the teacher’s resignation “should be forthcoming immediately” as he had “insulted two billion Muslims”.
“We cannot stand for that. We have to make our voices heard on it,” he said.
“There is obviously significant risk around the individual now.
Protests would continue today
But a post that circulated on social media overnight urged parents not to attend, YorkshireLive reports.
The post reads: “The teacher was incorrect. Accepted.
“Allow the correct channels and organisations to deal with this without causing further discomfort in our community.
“The children are scared whilst you consider turning up for a protest.”
Meanwhile, a Muslim organisation dedicated to peace has issued a statement about its “grave concerns”.
Chiefs at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said: “It is complete unacceptable that such offensive material was used in the school and that is deeply distressing.
“We acknowledge the fact the school has since apologised for the incident and is taking steps to ensure that such issues do not arise in the future.”
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