Mosque leaders in Stoke-on-Trent today claimed parents are “ill-informed” in pulling their children out of visits to places of worship.
They spoke exclusively to StaffsLive after it emerged parents are withdrawing pupils from visiting mosques on school trips with concerns about their ‘political agenda’.
Parents refusing to allow their children on the visits are being issued with guidance from Staffordshire County Council’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) committee.
Rana Tufail, director of Stoke-on-Trent City Central Mosque, said: “I’m not very happy because parents are perhaps ill-informed.
“We are a peaceful community, we want to live in peace.
“Nobody in this world can live in isolation and we don’t want to isolate anybody else.
“We have been welcoming people from schools, colleges, universities, all places; we have not found any problems but if some parents feel that it is not good or safe for their children I think they have a different way of looking at things.
“We are peaceful people, we welcome visitors and are open to questions.”
Abdul Gafoor, headteacher of Parks Avenue High school in Shelton and head of Makki Majid Mosque, said: “What the council is doing is great, a very good scheme and long overdue.
“Our mosques hasn’t received visits in a while.
“We used to have two, three schools every year. We have seen a decline.”
SACRE have produced a document to help schools in ‘pre-empting parental objections’ after they received reports that some schools are experiencing negativity from parents when planning trips to places of worship.
The document includes a letter to parents emphasising the benefits of helping pupils understand various cultures and beliefs.
Listen to our exclusive interviews with mosque leaders, below: