Batley teacher suspended after showing students cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed

Tom Flanagan, is a member of the YCL in Stirlingshire

A teacher in Batley was suspended last week after showing pupils an “inappropriate” cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed in class. 

The suspension was following a day where dozens of angry local Muslims gathered outside Batley Grammar School in protest at the teachers actions, complaining they are blasphemy and therefore offensive to Muslim children and their parents. Parts of the Qu’ran are taken to mean that the image of Allah or Muhammed cannot be created by human hand, in the same way many Protestant denominations of Christianity do not allow for “graven images.”

Not only has the teacher been suspended for his “blasphemy”, but the headteacher of Batley Grammar school Gary Kibble issued a grovelling apology to parents.

“We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all the communities represented in our school,” he said.

The question we on the left should be asking is this; where are the teaching unions on this? 

Neither Unison, The NEU, or former Coronation Street actress now Labour MP Tracy Babin have condemned this treatment of the teacher, in fact Babin has wholeheartedly endorsed the headteachers apology. 

Of course it goes without saying that as Communists we stand against all forms of discrimination, but in 2021 it should be unacceptable for a person to lose their job because of “blasphemy.” Where do we draw the line? Many religions believe homosexuality to be sinful.

If it is discovered that a teacher is LGBT, and a baying mob descends upon the school demanding their suspension, must the teacher now be suspended? Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their religion but there is a reason that religious doctrine has been separated from law making in many countries, especially those ran by communists.

While some on the left have taken in the past, to defending the barbarism of religious extremists in the name of “intersectionalism”, we must acknowledge the material reality that this man has lost his livelihood at a time of economic hardship for many simply because some of the children in his class’ parents believe him to have blasphemed, and demand better from those who exist to defend him, in the work place and in Parliament. 

Tom Flanagan

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