Birmingham primary school protests permanently banned

A high court judge has ruled for the permanent ban of anti-LGBT protests in front of Birmingham primary school that began after about 300 people gathered at the school gates in May. Activists protesting against LGBT equality lessons are said to have, “grossly misinterpreted” what is being taught to primary school children. The school, located in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, has become the target of a long campaign to end LGBT equality messages from being taught in the classroom. The protests had a negative impact on the students, residents, and staff, with over 21 teachers being treated for stress. Most protestors are of Muslim faith and have carried banners stating: “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” These activists claim that the teachings contradict the Islamic faith and are not, “age-appropriate.” Local authorities maintained that the court’s action was not seeking to curtail the protestors’ right to free speech but wanted to contain their anti-social behavior. In the October hearing of the court, residents had said that they were feeling alarmed due to the increasingly intimidating protests. School children had to be kept inside with locked windows to avoid the “intolerable” noise from them. Lead protestor Shakeel Afsar, his sister Rosina, and Amir Ahmed, all contested the need for a legal injunction. Justice Warby directed that the three named defendants are liable to 80% of the costs, which the court heard is yet to be calculated. The judge reasoned that the award was not in full as part of the council’s claim for an injunction on the making of abusive social media posts against teachers, had been unsuccessful. Mr. Afsar has said that he was, “bitterly disappointed” by the court’s decision. Meanwhile, headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson has told the BBC that her staff would be, “over the moon.”

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Monique Santoso

April 2021
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