Around 200 Muslim parents held a protest this morning with their children at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham against the school’s promotion of homosexuality.
The parents at the overwhelmingly Muslim majority school are calling for the “No Outsiders” programme – which promotes homosexuality to children as young as 4 – to be scrapped.
They say that the No Outsiders programme, which was devised by gay assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat, expects children to affirm, verbally and in writing, that “being gay is OK.”
The Parkfield Parents’ Community Group said the school had not consulted parents about the programme and that its attitude is “clearly an imposition of belief, which undermines the faith, beliefs and values espoused by the parents and community that the school serves.”
In a statement they added: “The school is promoting Mr Moffat’s personal beliefs and convictions about the universal acceptability of homosexuality as being normal and morally correct…
“This is where the parents draw a line, between accepting that some people will have a different lifestyle and belief system to them, to being asked to affirm that this lifestyle/belief system is something which they should positively agree with and that it should be promoted as an option for their children.
“We don’t ask non-Muslims to affirm that Islam is the truth, similarly, we do not want people who practice homosexuality to tell our children to affirm that their beliefs and lifestyle choices are correct. This is proselytising.”
The parents also argue that the school is breaking the Equality Act.
They said: “Just as sexual orientation is a protected characteristic (in the act), RELIGION IS ALSO A PROTECTED CHARACTERISTIC. People whose religious convictions are that practising homosexuality is morally wrong and sinful should not be forced to affirm that it is not. They should simply be asked to be accepting of that ‘person’ not his/her ‘actions'”
One mother from the group said: “My 10 year old daughter came home one day and asked ‘mum is it true if I want to be a boy it’s OK? Mr Moffat said that it is fine because you may be a boy trapped in a girls body.’
“Mr Moffat said to the whole class ‘It is OK to be gay in all religions’ and explained that ‘he was gay and a Christian, and that they could be gay or lesbian and be Muslim.’
“We find it astonishing that Mr Moffat in his zealous quest to convert children to his personal beliefs and practices, has resorted to interpreting and distorting Islamic teachings to mislead Muslim children. This is completely unacceptable to us as parents and a betrayal of trust that we placed in the school…
Meanwhile, the BBC is reporting that Andrew Moffat said he has received threats from parents, including “nasty emails” and threats, including one which warned he “wouldn’t last long.”
“I’ve had some nasty emails, I’ve had some comments on messenger,” said Mr Moffat, who was made an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017.
“I have felt very threatened… it’s been a challenging couple of weeks. However, what keeps me going is the support from the school which is absolutely brilliant, the DfE, Ofsted, the city council. There are lots of people recognising that this work is important and that’s what you have to hold on to.”
In a statement released after the latest protest, the school said it was “disappointed” but had no plans to change its teaching.