Protests after Muslim councillor says she would ‘welcome’ Batley teacher to Slough

Sabia Akram

The deputy leader of Slough Council, Sabia Akram, has said she would be happy to welcome the Yorkshire teacher who showed pupils blasphemous images of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 

Akram, a Labour councillor, posted a now deleted message on Facebook in the wake of the furore last month to say she was “shocked and saddened” that the teacher was forced to go into hiding.

She added: “To the teacher, if you need to leave Batley which I wouldn’t blame you! Come to Slough. We’ll welcome you and your family.”

Akram also called for Muslim leaders not to condone those sending death threats to the teacher and the protesters outside the school’s gates.

Before deleting the posts, Cllr Akram apologised for “any hurt” caused and said she did not mean to cause “great offence” to anyone, nor to undermine the Prophet and his esteem.

However, the posts triggered a wave of anger, with some Muslims claiming Ms Akram was disrespecting the Prophet.

Protest in Slough on Friday

A now closed petition with more than 1,300 signatures demanded her resignation.

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The petition said: “Councillor S this week decided to put her political views across regarding the incident at The Batley Grammar school where the teacher… decided to show students cartoon images of our Prophet (pbuh)…

“Anyone who disrespects our Prophet (pbuh) has no position in our lives but Councillor S has used her political position by welcoming him to Slough and offering to share her accommodation.

“As Councillor S is our Deputy Leader I’m totally against what she has stated. I’m a Labour member and don’t wish to see this evil person as my leader and ask for her immediate resignation.”

On Friday, protesters picketed the offices of Slough Borough Council for a third week. About 50 demonstrators brandished placards declaring “Sabia Akram Out,” “Sabia Akram: Shame On You” and “Stop Islamophobia.”

One protester said: We will always have a zero tolerance position for anybody who insults any of the prophets

Slough Borough Council has declined to comment on the protests against Ms Akram.

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