England

Hartlepool mosque trip cancelled amid parents' safety fears

Bilal Atkinson
Image caption Bilal Atkinson called on parents to come and see the mosque for themselves

A school trip to a mosque has been cancelled as some parents feared it might become a target for backlash in the wake of recent UK terror attacks.

However, other parents have said halting the planned visit was "shocking" and "disrespectful".

Tow Law Millennium Primary School in County Durham had been due to go to the Nasir Mosque in Hartlepool next week.

The school said it had "no concern" itself but required parental consent for the trip and hoped to reschedule.

'Nothing against religion'

Headteacher Lisa Jackson said: "A number of pupils were withdrawn by parents who approached the school to say their children would not be attending and, in light of that, as a small school, we needed to see if we had enough pupils still going."

Bilal Atkinson, the regional president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK which runs the mosque, asked for people not to "tar us with the same brush".

"I say to these parents come and see for yourself - you come with the school and have a look," he said.

"Other parents have, so why can't you?"

Image caption Pupils from Tow Law Millennium Primary School were due to visit the mosque on a school trip

Some parents said they did not want their children going to the mosque because they felt it might be "targeted".

Their decision was "nothing against religion", they said.

But others said cancelling the trip was "absolutely shocking" and said it showed "total disrespect to the community in Hartlepool that have invited the school to go there".