Pupils in Thurrock removed from lessons on Islam
10 January 2019, 08:20 | Updated: 10 January 2019, 08:36
Some children in Thurrock have been pulled out of lessons about Islam because their parents object to it.
In a report, Thurrock SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) said it is "aware of tensions".
It states: "For example, parents have objected to the teaching of Islam and withdrawn children from lessons and visits to places of worship. The outcome is those children, who arguably are those that most need to be taught about Islam, are no longer being taught about it.
"It is not clear whether or not this is a widespread issue in Thurrock, but it is clear that SACRE needs to investigate. Schools have a statutory duty to promote community cohesion."
Imam Habib Ahmad from the Colchester Islamic Cultural Association told Heart it's important for children to learn about all religions.
"It makes it possible for people to appreciate the diversity that they have," he said, "without having to worry about it being a problem, without having to fear it, without having to be scared of it.
"When people learn about these things - people learn about all different religions - then it becomes a lot more difficult for them to hate that religion."
Statistics suggest the highest number of religious hate crimes in Thurrock have been against Muslim victims.