Pupils taken out of Islam lessons

Parents in Swindon want their children pulled from religious education classes that teach them about Islam, town headteachers have warned.

According to the annual report of the Standing Advisory Council On Religious Education – the thinktank of religious leaders, teachers, councillors and community members that meets four times a year to devise the religious education agenda in Swindon’s schools – headteachers are looking for advice after being approached by parents who don’t want their children to learn about Islam.

While the report says the parents concerned are a small minority, town Islamic leader Mansoor Khan has warned that fears about his religion must be addressed.

Mr Khan, the general secretary of Thamesdown Islamic Association, blamed the boycotts on fears created by the actions of extremists in the July 7 bombings and September 11 attacks in New York. “That’s bearing on people’s minds but that’s nothing to do with Islam,” Mr Khan said.

This is Wiltshire, 22 December 2006