Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stevenage teacher asked to remove 'Islam' hoodie by pub

Sweatshirt with name Islam on reverse Image copyright Nurul Islam
Image caption Teacher Nural Islam's surname appears on the reverse of his official school sweatshirt

A teacher was asked to remove his hoodie because it had the word "Islam" on the back - which is his surname - and was upsetting pub customers.

Nurul Islam, 32, was wearing his school sweatshirt, which all have surnames on, outside the Coach and Horses in Newgate Street, near Hertford, on Friday.

A member of staff said it was upsetting people after the Nice attack, he said.

A police hate crime officer is investigating what happened. The pub would not comment.

The technology teacher was waiting for a group of pupils from The Thomas Alleyne Academy, in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, who were on a Duke of Edinburgh assignment.

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The pub was the agreed meeting point.

Image copyright Nurul Islam
Image caption The school's official Duke of Edinburgh hoodies all have names on the back

"A staff member came outside and asked if I could I take off my jumper because it was making some customers feel uncomfortable 'after what happened last night'," Mr Islam said.

"I didn't know quite what to say, and at first I didn't link what he'd said with the lorry attack in France, but when it sank in I was shocked."

'Islamophobia and bigotry'

He went back to his car, leaving another teacher to wait for the pupils.

"I was being discriminated against because of my surname so I was left really upset after the incident.

"We all have surnames on the backs of our hoodies, which is the responsible thing to do."

Mr Islam added: "I'm not a practising Muslim but I am a Muslim.

"It makes me feel terrible that my name is the cause of such contention when all it means is peace.

"If I had the word 'peace' on there, would he still have asked me to leave?"

Miqdaad Versi, the assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain said: "It's shocking and very worrying to see this growth in Islamophobia and bigotry.

"We need to really move beyond this, and the problem that we're facing is this type of attitude seems to be getting more prevalent in society and more socially acceptable."

Hertfordshire Police said: "A specialist hate crime officer is investigating to establish whether offences have been committed."

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