– Muslims consider depictions of prophet to be religiously forbidden, deeply offensive
– School issues ‘unreserved and sincere apology for the distress this episode has caused’
– All Saints Academy in Bedfordshire apologises for ‘totally inappropriate’ image shown in class
A Church of England school has suspended one of its teachers after they showed a picture of Osama bin Laden as the Prophet Muhammad during an RE lesson.
All Saints Academy in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, apologised and said it recognised the “deep hurt and distress” caused to the Muslim community by the image, calling it “totally inappropriate”.
The image had reportedly been shown during a presentation in a Year 10 class last week at the school, and a concerned pupil later raised the alarm.
School bosses said in a statement that they had suspended the teacher concerned while an investigation was ongoing.
Response to incident on Friday 25 February (1/3) pic.twitter.com/Fw1q3lLvD5
— All Saints Academy Dunstable (@asadunstable) February 27, 2022
A school spokesperson said: “Not only was it offensive to attempt to portray an image of the Prophet Muhammad, but the image that was used was that of Osama bin Laden, a terrorist leader, which further added to the deep insult.
“The academy reiterates its unreserved and sincere apology for the distress this episode has caused.”
Alongside an ongoing investigation into the teacher’s conduct, the school said it was carrying out a “wider review” to determine how “this individual came to act in such an inappropriate and upsetting way”.
The statement added: “Having now established very useful links with members of the Muslim community in Luton, we would hope to work together to gain a better understanding of religious and cultural matters that impact on all our lives and will help us to be better educators.”
The offensive depiction had caused outrage online after first being reported on by Five Pillars UK, a Muslim News website.
This presentation slide from a Year 10 R.E. class depicting Osama bin Laden (founder of Al Qaeda) as the Prophet Muhammad (the revered and beloved Prophet of Islam) was allegedly from your school.
Please confirm at your earliest convenience. pic.twitter.com/9teQKWP7Ur
— 5Pillars (@5Pillarsuk) February 25, 2022
One person asked: “Can you explain how this malicious, offensive material came into the classroom?”
Another said: “Absolutely despicable. It’s hard to see this as anything other than malicious!”
It would be recalled that in 2021, a school in West Yorkshire was forced to close for several days after being hit with protests when one of its teachers showed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in class.
The cartoon, taken from the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France, was said to have been shown during an RE class in Batley Grammar School in March 2021.
In Islamic tradition, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), or any of the other prophets of Islam, should not be pictured in any way.
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