Muslim Parents Banned from Protesting LGBT Lessons Outside School

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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
JOE MARKHAM

Birmingham City Council has won a High Court order to ban protests about LGBT relationship lessons in and around Anderton Park Primary School.

As children return to school after the half-term break, parents and other protesters face arrest if they appear on or in the proximity of the school grounds to protest about the teaching of LGBT relationships to their children.

In recent weeks the predominately Muslim parents have been seen carrying signs that read “Adam and Eve Not Adam and Steve” and “Say No to Sexualisation of children”.

The protestors argue the content is not age-appropriate for their children and teaching them about gay relationships would confuse them.

Under the terms of the new High Court order, the protestors can be arrested if they breach the following conditions:

“Organise, engage in, or encourage others to engage in any protests against the teaching of equalities at the school within an exclusion zone

Print and hand out leaflets, organise protest events or encourage others to do so

Use social media to make offensive or abusive comments about any members of staff at the school around equalities teaching.”

A council spokesperson said of introducing the order, “We did so only after careful consideration and in the light of increasing fears for the safety and wellbeing of the staff, children and parents of the school when they come back from their half-term break.

“This is particularly so after the serious escalation of the protests in the week before half-term – including the attendance of very large numbers of people who have no children at the school, many of whom are not from the city,” they added.

It is reported that many of the activists do not even have children at the school, with some coming in from neighbouring areas.

They claim that up to 600 children were withdrawn from lessons by their parents in response to the LGBT relationship curriculum — which would be a majority of the children enrolled there.

Headmistress Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson claimed she was reduced to tears by abuse from the protesting parents, saying their demonstrations were very becoming “very loud” and “very aggressive”.

Earlier this month, LGBT counter-protesters also began attending the school.

One woman said she was called a “vandal” for hanging rainbow banners around the school gates and a mobile phone recording allegedly of one of the Muslim protestors appeared to show them warn that “people want to come to our area and cause anarchy. I have to hold all the lads back because everyone is becoming very volatile”.

The LGBT activists also claim they were pelted with eggs by the anti-LGBT protestors.

Honor Bridgman, one of the LGBT activists, said they had “stood by and observed these protests for weeks. We felt we wanted to do something, in a loving way. We have consciously not organized counter-protests as we feel that would make matters worse.”

Shakeel Afsar, who reportedly leads the protests — despite not having children at the school himself — said that they would appeal against the exclusion zone decision, stating that “this is not the end but a beginning”.

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