Objection over religion

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A councillor in Grays has backed calls for an investigation into community cohesion over parents pulling their children out of religious education classes.

Cllr Martin Kerin, who represents Grays Riverside, has backed calls for an investigation into community cohesion, following a report from Thurrock Council’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) which was presented and discussed at a meeting last Wednesday night.

The report included anecdotal evidence of some parents objecting to the teaching of Islam – leading to the withdrawal of their children from lessons and visits to places of worship.

In a report published online, SACRE said that most hate crimes recorded in Thurrock were against Muslims, and reducing the number was seen as “a priority

It read: “SACRE is aware that some schools in Thurrock have experienced these tensions directly. For example, parents have objected to the teaching of Islam and withdrawn children from lessons and visits to places of worship.

“The outcome for those children, who arguably are those that most need to be taught about Islam, are no longer being taught about it.”

Responding to this, Cllr Kerin has said: “This report makes for worrying reading. At a time when the need for a greater understanding of our diverse community is needed, we are seeing a reluctance, by some, to support schools in the delivery of a diverse religious eduction.”

“Thurrock is a vibrant place, with many different faiths practised, and many different lifestyles lived. We all agree that our children are the future. Therefore, they should be taught about these different faiths and lifestyles as part of a broad and inclusive education.”

“I look forward to the outcome of SACRE’s investigation.”

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