Lincolnshire

Reverend Robert West banned over Muslims 'worship devil' remark

Reverend Robert West in Dagenham in April 2010 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Reverend Robert West, seen here campaigning for the BNP in 2010, said he made the comments in the context of lessons about the Crusades

A teacher who told pupils that "Muslims worship the devil" has been banned from the profession indefinitely.

Reverend Robert West, who stood as a British National Party (BNP) candidate, made the comments during history lessons at a girls' school in Grantham.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) took action after pupils complained.

Mr West, 59, said he made the comments in the context of a lesson about the Crusades in November 2013.

The teacher has no connection to the Church of England. In 2006, he set up his own church, based in a house in Holbeach, to preach "traditional bible beliefs".

'History of religion'

The NCTL panel upheld claims he had made inappropriate comments to students while working as a supply teacher at Walton Girls High School, Grantham, on 8 November.

The panel said it was satisfied Mr West's conduct fell short of expected standards, and found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

These included saying he was "allergic to Mohammedans".

When asked by a year 12 pupil whether there was anything wrong with being a Muslim he said "yes, because we are fighting them".

During another lesson on 14 November, he said "any non-Christian god is demonic" and "Muslims worship the devil".

'No freedom of speech'

In an email to the school principal he wrote: "It is about time that you put the teacher back in charge ... I am not going to programme my students with utter trash about Mohammedanism - a religion whose textbook, the Koran, has been burnt for atrocities against humanity."

Mr West told the BBC he did make the comments but was trying to show pupils differing points of view and the comments did not represent his own views.

The ruling means he is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children's home in England.

He may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside, but not until 12 May 2018.

A spokesperson for the school said its internal complaints process was followed promptly when the concerns were raised about Mr West.

BNP spokesman Simon Darby said: "It is disappointing," adding "we would have liked him not to have had any sanctions at all".

"If you step out of line and criticise liberal multi-culturalism then you lose your job, so we don't have freedom of speech," he said.

Mr West stood in the Boston and Skegness constituency for the general election and received the least number of votes.

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