Mosques call for calm after Prophet Muhammad image shown at Sheffield school assembly

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Sheffield mosques have called for calm after a teacher mistakenly showed an image of Prophet Muhammad during a school assembly last week.

Federation of Mosques in Sheffield asked parents and the community to accept the apology made by Hunter's Bar Junior School in Sharrow, which has subsequently launched a formal investigation into the incident.

In a statement, they said: “The school has been in touch with parents and with community leaders and sincerely apologised and accepted the mistake they made during their Ramadan celebrations.

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"Today they have announced an independent inquiry as well. They are asking for help to rectify the mistake.

Hunters Bar Junior SchoolHunters Bar Junior School
Hunters Bar Junior School

"Therefore it is our duty to guide them to the right direction and in light them with Islamic teachings. We see no benefit in external elements getting involved in our city and raising issues.

"Therefore we ask you to accept the apology and let them complete the inquiry.”

During the assembly on Friday, an image of Prophet Muhammad was mistakenly shown to celebrate the achievements of the children and to celebrate events and people who are valued at the school.

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However, when the assembly slides were being compiled, an image of Prophet Muhammad was added.

The school then released a letter of apology to the parents on Tuesday, saying that it was a “genuine mistake and the person involved is mortified."

But a parent, Atif Mohammed said the apology was not enough, until the deputy head who was responsible for the assembly steps down from her position.

He said: "I'm not letting my kids to school until this matter is resolved. I believe awareness needs to be out there for that to happen, otherwise it is going to get brushed under the table again."

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He said other parents have decided to strike and have stopped sending their children, starting Tuesday.

Islam forbids all kinds of pictorial depiction of Muhammad or any other prophets as they are thought to encourage the worship of idols and they are seen as an insult to the religion.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Head Teacher Michael Watson said: “Last Friday during a celebration assembly marking the holy month of Ramadan a mistake was made that resulted in a picture of the Prophet Muhammad being shown.

“We are aware and understand fully how offensive this is to our Muslim community and I offer my heartfelt apologies for the upset caused. I have been meeting and working with the children, parents and staff affected alongside other members of the Muslim community to do what we can to put this right and will continue to do so.

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“We will conduct a formal investigation in accordance with the Sheffield Local Authority process into how and why the incident occurred and establish findings and actionable recommendations.

“I want to reassure our Muslim community that we are doing all we can to find a fair and just way forward that rebuilds trust and faith in our school, so you can be confident that our pupils, families and staff understand, support and celebrate our diverse community that we are so proud of.

“Once again we want to acknowledge the deep hurt and upset this has caused some of our community and offer our sincere and humble apologies.”