Parents call Durham Police after seeing Muslims praying next to primary school

Police were called to a car park after parents became “worried” at a group of Muslims praying near a primary school in Durham.

Staff at East Stanley School called Durham Police after concerned parents told teachers of a group of Muslim men “on their knees praying” in a car park near the school, at the end of the school day on Monday.

A Police Constable attended the school, but the men had already moved on.

It is thought they were travelling and had stopped to pray prior to sunset, in accordance with Islamic practice.

Some people have criticised the response of the school, the police and the parents.

The school said it had followed standard practice, while the police said they attended because of a potential obstruction in a public car park.

When asked about the incident, the school, which is led by head teacher Joanne Williams, issued the following statement: “It is standard practice, in cases where parents raise concerns about any unknown people near to the school, to ask police to check it out.

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“In this instance officers investigated and there was nothing untoward.”

A Durham Police spokeswoman said in a statement: “We received a report yesterday (Monday) afternoon shortly after 3pm that a group of men were on their knees praying, potentially creating an obstruction in a public car park opposite East Stanley School.

“When an officer attended the men had moved on. We believe they were travelling and had stopped to pray prior to sunset in accordance with their beliefs.”

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