Those protesting Muslim parents are in the right

Jul 19, 2019 by

by Tim Black, spiked:

It is the LGBT education programme that is the real authoritarian force.

It started in January at Parkfield Community School in Saltley, Birmingham. Mainly Muslim parents began staging weekly protests against ‘No Outsiders’, an educational programme designed by Parkfield’s very own MBE headmaster Andrew Moffatt to teach the Equalities Act to children aged four to 11. According to Moffat, speaking on the BBC One current-affairs show Panorama, the programme’s purpose is to teach that ‘you can be who you want to be; you can be yourself’. The protesting parents, however, see things in more explicitly moral terms – they think the programme teaches children how they ought to live, whether as lesbian, gay or bisexual, or as males, females or something fluid in between.

At other schools, religious parents – mainly but not only Muslim – also began to take issue with so-called LGBT teaching. What began at Parkfield spread across the UK. But Parkfield remains at the centre of what has been turned into and presented as a face-off between faithful, zealous parents and secular, tolerant authorities.

From the authorities’ standpoint – that is, the standpoint of schools, the Department for Education, and right-thinking educationalists and activists – the problem lies solely with the parents. At the very least they have misunderstood what the school is trying to do, as Labour councillor Tristan Chatfield put it. At worst, they constitute ‘a mob, chanting and shouting and engaging in intimidating and threatening behaviour’, to quote Sara Khan, a human-rights activist and, since January, the government’s lead commissioner for countering extremism. ‘I think we have to recognise that and call it out for what it is’, she told Panorama. ‘[What] we’re seeing in Birmingham can only be described as extremism. It’s whipping up tension, it’s whipping up fear, it’s whipping up hysteria’, she said.

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