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School apologises for refusing Muslim students to pray indoors

31st Dec 2021

Harun Nasrullah

A school in Greater Manchester was forced to issue an apology after a video capturing Muslim boys praying outside in extremely cold temperatures went viral and sparked outrage.

The footage of eight boys at Oldham Academy North praying on the pavement, while a school staff watches on, provoked online backlash after it was claimed a female teacher had “kicked them out of the classroom”.

Oldham Academy North, primarily attended by Muslims, initially claimed students were unable to pray inside due to flooding, which forced the closure of 15 classrooms. However, a former student told The Oldham Times the boys had secured an empty classroom during their lunch break on November 26, but a member of staff “told them to leave”.

The pupils were then left with no other option but to pray in the cold because the school had not offered a viable prayer room. Another report shared by Asian Image appears to corroborate this account, where a pupil claiming to be involved in the incident said an ‘angry’ teacher told the group they were not allowed to pray in the room they were in.

The student explained: “We were praying Jummah [Friday] and a teacher came in and told us we weren’t allowed to pray in that room and she slammed the door and seemed angry. We have had a prayer room for a long time. Teachers would allow us to go there for our prayers.”

Muslim leaders in the community have since promised to work more closely with the school to prevent any similar incidents from occurring in the future. “When we were made aware of the issues raised at the Oldham Academy North, we acted quickly to speak with the school to understand what had happened.” said Oldham Council Leader, Arooj Shah, who spoke with the school leaders.

She added “Oldham is a proud and diverse borough and I know that the Oldham Academy North sees this as a strength for the school. We will continue conversations with the school around this matter to investigate the situation properly.”

Oldham Mosques Council also pledged to work with the schools. Its Development Officer, Mufti Helal Mahmood, said the partnership will “ensure incidents like this can be avoided in the future”.
An academy spokesperson said in a later statement: “We would like to offer a sincere apology. We are proud of our diversity and have never, and would never, stop students from praying or ask them to pray outside.”

“While we have always sought to provide appropriate prayer facilities at the academy, we are working with Oldham Interfaith Forum and Oldham Council to address the concern this issue has caused.”

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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