White middle-class people ‘pointing fingers’ at parents protesting LGBT+ lessons is not way forward, diversity campaigner says

‘The community is still bruised from Trojan horse and people need to be sensitive’

Protests over LGBT lessons in Birmingham

A “white middle-class collective” pointing fingers at a community protesting against LGBT+ lessons is not the way forward, a Muslim member of a diversity campaign group has said.

Saima Razzaq, from LGBT+ group Supporting Education of Equality and Diversity in Schools (Seeds), said the Muslim community is still bruised following the “Trojan horse” scandal.

Her comments come after some Muslim parents in Birmingham have protested against classes teaching diversity, including about LGBT+ families, outside two primary schools.

This week Sir Michael Wilshaw, former head of the schools’ watchdog, called for Parkfield Community School to reinstate its No Outsiders programme on LGBT+ rights following protests.

Sir Michael, who led Ofsted during the Trojan horse scandal, said people with conservative views had to accept that “they are living in this country, in a pluralistic society with liberal values”.

The Birmingham schools that have faced protests are in the heart of a devout area where inquiries were held into the alleged Islamist Trojan horse plot by Muslim governors to take over schools.

Ms Razzaq, who is an openly gay Muslim, said Sir Michael’s comments were unhelpful at a time when protesters are fighting back amid a rise in Islamophobia as well as anger about the past.

She added: “Pointing our fingers from a white middle-class collective is not going to go down well after Trojan horse. We need to work with Muslim allies and try and get their voices out there.

“The protesters are not all the parents and they are not reflective of the community as a whole.”

Members of the Seeds group recently met with Parkfield School parents who have issues with the No Outsiders programme – and some are concerned the scheme has been linked to reducing radicalisation.

Ms Razzaq added: “This community are still bruised from Trojan horse and it is a very deprived area. People need to be sensitive to these issues.”

Parents were left worried after seeing a school presentation on No Outsiders which sold it under the government’s controversial Prevent strategy – which aims to reduce radicalisation among young people.

Since July 2015, nurseries, schools and universities are required to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism under the Prevent duty.

Birmingham teacher Andrew Moffat shortlisted for Global Teacher Prize

Last week, Andrew Moffat, assistant head at Parkfield, argued that programmes like No Outsiders can prevent future terror attacks and steer people away from radical ideologies.

He added that it can help stop atrocities against minority groups, such as the mosque terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A spokesperson for Parkfield Community School told BBC News earlier this month that the powerpoint was written four years ago in line with Prevent duty at that time.

“No Outsiders is all about tolerance, accepting difference and respect, which are all key aspects of community cohesion and our fundamental British values,” a statement from the school said.

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