Outrage as London school pupils given far-right 'Islamophobic' articlein English lesson


A London school has sparked outrage after a “disturbing and Islamophobic” article by a member of a far-right group was handed out to Year 8 children in an English lesson.
The piece, called Ten Reasons Why Britain Should Not Accept Syrian Refugees and written by Liberty GB member George Whale, was given to pupils as part of a lesson on bias at Oaks Park High School in Ilford.
Headteacher Steve Wilks has defended the material, saying it had been chosen as an example of something the pupils could “easily argue against”.
But pupils’ parents and family members reacted with fury after being told of the lesson involving pupils as young as 12.
islamlesson2.jpg
Claims: The article made reference to Syrian refugees and Muslim terrorists (Syed Ahmad)
The family of one child said she was left “ashamed to be a Muslim” after coming home with the article and was scared of returning to school the following day.
The 13-year-old girl's mother told the Standard she was “shocked and horrified” when the article was brought home. 
She said: "The question I would ask was if a pupil was to say something homophobic, or xenophobic, or anti-Semitic, the school would have to take action over it. 
“In this case, students were sent home with far-right and Islamophobic material, and told that their children could be terrorists too. What action is the school planning on taking over this?” 
She went on: “Was there no other material that could be used to teach this to 12-year-olds? Will they also be critiquing ISIS material? Our children should be safe at school." 
The girl’s cousin Syed Ahmad, 22, said: “She actually felt ashamed of being a Muslim afterwards. 
“When I went to the house to talk to them she was hiding in her room. She was actually scared of going to school the next day.”
He went on: “I asked her what was the lesson about. She didn't say propaganda, she didn’t say media bias, she said it was about why we shouldn't let Syrians come into the UK.
“I think this is just a very poor choice of article to give to children as young as 12. I think it's a very poor choice given the current tide of Islamophobia.”
Vaseem Ahmed, chairman of the Muslim Engagement and Development anti-Islamophobia group, called for “lessons to be learned” from the parents’ response.
He said: “It’s just a very disturbing way of doing it. Why would you expose young kids to that extreme stuff?”
Mr Ahmed also questioned why a far-right group had been chosen, saying: “It just seems like, to some, Muslims have become fair game. It’s not malicious intent from whoever did it but there was a lack of thought in it.”
However, since images were published on Facebook this week, some students have rushed to the school’s defence.
One wrote: “As a student at this school, I'd like to make it clear that yes, our lessons were planned around this article. But it was made adamantly clear how derogatory the views of the article were by our teachers.”
The school’s headteacher said in a statement: “The aim of this lesson was to teach pupils an understanding of bias by giving an example of a view that they could easily argue against.
“The teachers and students read the piece together and at each stage explored the content of the article and the opinions contained within. 
“The views contained within the article were not endorsed or supported by the teacher, but rather quoted as part of the lesson.
“This was an exercise to empower pupils to separate truth from lies in articles when doing their own reading, and the assessment objective was to write a letter to the author of the piece arguing their views.
“The class were given a printed copy of the article to refer to and to use for homework, and were not directed to find this or any other articles by the same author online.”
Source http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/outrage-as-london-school-pupils-given-farright-islamophobic-article-in-english-lesson-a3279456.html

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