Muslim schoolboy in London forced to stop praying by teacher who saw it as ‘act of defiance’

LONDON: A Muslim schoolboy in London who was physically stopped by a teacher from praying was told it was an “act of defiance.”

Thaher Tarawneh, 12, had been forced to pray outside because his school’s prayer room was closed.

He and his friends were praying in the playground of the recently opened Ark Soane Academy when they were interrupted and aggressively told to “stop at once.”

Tarawneh continued to pray while his friends fled the scene. At that point, a member of staff allegedly grabbed him around the waist and removed his blazer from the floor, which he was using as a prayer mat.

He was then sent home for the afternoon and forced to sign a statement that he said was not a true reflection of events.

His father told MyLondon: “We try to educate our children to have certain beliefs, and it should not be up to any member of staff to try to challenge them.

“It is my understanding that the other children ran away because they were terrified of this staff member shouting.”

He added: “Thaher knows to not stop his prayer unless there is something urgent. So for this member of staff to interrupt that and then proceed to manhandle my son, it’s not acceptable.”

Tarawneh’s parents asked to see CCTV footage of the incident, but say their request was denied upon arrival at the school.

They have filed a formal complaint with the school and with Ealing Council. The school has confirmed a formal investigation is underway.

Tarawneh’s parents are considering removing him from the school, saying he may be “being discriminated against because of his religion.”

Matthew Neuberger, principal of Ark Soane Academy, said: “We investigated the incident when it was brought to our attention, including reviewing all available evidence and interviewing all involved.

“A formal complaint has now been made, and normal procedures will be followed to ensure this is dealt with fairly and appropriately.

“Our school prides itself on the support we provide to students of all faiths and none, and we are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone.”

Source: Arab News

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