Cornwall

Parents withdraw Lostwithiel School children from mosque visit

Exeter mosque Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption The visit to the mosque in Exeter is part of the pupil's Religious Education lesson

Some parents have withdrawn their children from a planned school visit to a mosque following "safety concerns".

Lostwithiel School, in Cornwall, plans to take 91 children to the mosque in Exeter as part of their Religious Education (RE) lesson.

Cornwall Council said "a small number of parents" had raised concerns after fundamentalist groups, such as IS, affiliated themselves with Islam.

The Muslim Council of Britain said it was "disappointing".

Speaking outside the school gates, one mother who did not give her name, said: "With the way that things are at the moment in this country with the attacks that have happened through no warning, I just felt that it was the wrong time to be sending children to a mosque."

Kat Smith, chair of governors at the school, said some parents had expressed concern but the "vast majority" had returned their consent slips and the trip would go ahead.

'Right to withdraw'

The Muslim Council of Britain said: "We hope this incident is atypical and not reflective of a growing sentiment against Muslims in this country."

Cornwall Council said: "Parents have the right to withdraw from RE in whole or in part and provide alternative work for their children to further their knowledge and understanding of their own beliefs and values.

"However it is not possible for children to take part in RE as a whole but opt out of learning about one specific religion, as this would contravene the Equality Act of 2010."

Lostwithiel School follows the Cornwall Agreed Syllabus for RE.

As part of that curriculum they study Christianity in greater detail, as well as finding out about Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam through school trips, visits from outside speakers and class teaching.

Exeter's mosque has declined to comment.

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