School apologises after Muslim students ‘made to pray outside in the cold' as teacher ‘kicked them out of classroom'

A SCHOOL has apologised after a group of Muslim students were reportedly made to pray outside in the cold after a teacher “kicked them out” of a classroom.

Footage of the male Muslim pupils at Oldham Academy North praying outside has sparked outrage from the local community.

School apologises after Muslim students ‘made to pray outside in the cold’ as teacher ‘kicked them out of classroom’

The footage showed about eight male Muslim pupils at Oldham Academy North praying outside Credit: Twitter / @5Pillarsuk

School apologises after Muslim students ‘made to pray outside in the cold’ as teacher ‘kicked them out of classroom’

The footage prompted widespread anger online, with viewers slamming the scenes as 'distressing' Credit: Twitter / @5Pillarsuk

In the video, around eight boys can be seen kneeling with their heads bowed on the pavement, while a member of school staff wearing a hi-vis jacket appears to watch over them.

After finishing their prayer, the boys, wearing their blazers and school shoes, quickly stand up and start picking up their school bags.

The footage prompted widespread anger online, with furious viewers slamming the scenes as “distressing” and “disgusting”.

The school in Greater Manchester has since explained the students were unable to pray inside because of severe flooding which affected 15 classrooms. 

They have issued a “wholehearted apology” and confirmed an investigation has been launched.

One former student told The Oldham Times the boys were praying during their lunch break in a classroom when a member of staff “told them to leave”.

It was claimed the students were left with no other option but to conduct their prayers outside in the cold because the school had not offered them a prayer room.

According to Asian Image, a pupil claiming to be involved in the incident said an “angry” teacher told the group they were not allowed to pray in the room they were in.

The student said: “We were praying Jummah and a teacher came in and told us we aren’t allowed to pray in that room and she slammed the door and seemed angry. 

“We have had a prayer room for a long time, teachers would allow us to go there for our prayers.” 

Oldham Council leader, Arooj Shah, said: “When we were made aware of the issues raised at the Oldham Academy North, we acted quickly to speak with the school to understand what had happened.

“Having spoken with the school leaders I am glad they have apologised to those who were affected and will be writing to parents to explain.

“Oldham is a proud and diverse borough and I know that the Oldham Academy North sees this as a strength for the school.

“We will continue conversations with the school around this matter to investigate the situation properly.”

'WHOLEHEARTED APOLOGY'

Oldham Mosques council development officer, Mufti Helal Mahmood, said they will be “working closely with Oldham Academy North to ensure incidents like this can be avoided in the future”.

According to Manchester Evening News, the school said in a statement: “Earlier this week photos on social media began to circulate of students at the Oldham Academy North praying outside.

“The Oldham Academy North, Oldham Interfaith Forum and Oldham Council would like to address the understandable concern this has caused.

“Firstly, the academy would like to offer a wholehearted apology.

“The school is proud of its diversity and would never stop students from praying or ask them to pray outside.

“This situation arose due to a lack of space in the school, caused by a flood which created a huge amount of damage and made 15 rooms unusable.

“A room has since been found for students to pray in, and we understand they are happy with the space.

“The academy is writing to parents today to fully explain what has happened, and are happy to meet with any members of the community who are concerned.”

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