Elham Asaad Buaras
Parents who withdraw their children from a RE trip to a mosque over fears they would witness “guns and violence” have been asked to reconsider the decision by governors from Lostwithiel School.
The governors correspondence – ahead of the trip due on May 7 – comes as Muslims in Cornwall revealed they are becoming targets of Islamophobic abuse due to concerns over the ISIS.
According to media reports 10 parents refused permission for their children to take part in the trip. The visit trip, which is part of the curriculum, will include Exeter Cathedral, followed by a tour of the mosque, where pupils will “observe a congregational prayer and be able to ask questions.”
One parent told the school they had “grave concerns” about the safety of children due to news coverage of ISIS.
Education Secretary of the Cornwall Islamic Community Centre, Mostofa Abdul Rahman, said that local Muslims had noticed a change in attitudes towards their faith in recent months.
Mosques in Cornwall have been defaced with graffiti and community members have become concerned about the amount of misinformation about Islam circulating among local people.
“There are definitely some changes. The police come to the mosque quite often and ask people if they’ve suffered because of this,” said Mr Rahman. “From what people hear in the news, that’s what they’re expecting [Muslims] to think. This will bring their children into thinking that way too. There will be a big problem later on.”
Rahman welcomed teachers’ efforts to help pupils understand the religion.
“The parents have to really learn a bit more about Islam themselves, from the right sources, before they make a decision. I have been trying all my life to clear this nonsense up.”
In a statement Chair of the governors at Lostwithiel school, Kat Smith, said: “The visit to the mosque will provide an insight for pupils into the nature of British Islam, help them understand how Islam is presented in the media and that groups like Isis are not a true reflection of the Islam followed by the vast majority of Muslims in Britain