Pupils in Essex are being prevented from visiting mosques and attending religious education classes on Islam by parents, a report published by a local government body has revealed.
The report has made recommendations on how religious education (RE) lessons in Thurrock could be improved by “community integration, locally, regionally and nationally”.
The paper, authored by a body that advises on RE in schools, has found that parents “have objected to the teaching of Islam and withdrawn children from lessons and visits to places of worship.”
It states: “The outcome for those children, who arguably are those that most need to be taught about Islam, are no longer being taught about it.”
The Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) report for Thurrock, a former UKIP stronghold, also added: “It is not clear whether or not this is a widespread issue in Thurrock, but it is clear that SACRE needs to investigate.”
A separate report by the Thurrock community safety partnership strategic assessment has found that the highest number of hate crime offences in the area have been against Muslims.
The national census report of 2011 showed that Muslims make up only 2.01% of the population of the local authority area.
Thurrock also registered the fourth-highest Brexit vote in the EU referendum, with 72.3% voting to leave the European bloc.
Last January, all 17 UKIP councillors in Thurrock resigned from the party and formed a new group, “Thurrock Independents”, with 10 members of the group remaining as sitting councillors.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) warned in 2018 that parents were hindering the right to withdraw their children from RE classes due to their anti-Islam prejudices and urged the government to intervene.