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MP Jess Phillips clashes with protester over Birmingham school’s LGBT lessons | UK News



An MP and a protester have clashed in the street over a Birmingham primary school that teaches LGBT issues to children.

Some parents stopped their children going from the Muslim-majority Anderton Park school today in protest, with claims that 600 stayed home. The school said the number was closer to 240 pupils.

Protesters say the lessons are intolerant of Islamic beliefs and are “indoctrinating” children by teaching them about same-sex relationships and gender identity.

The man accused Ms Phillips of  being 'intolerant toward us'
Shakeel Afsar accused Ms Phillips of being ‘intolerant toward us’

The school has said the protesters are spreading “lies and misinformation” and that most are not parents.

MP Jess Phillips told a man outside the school: “You are harming the Muslim community… you are whipping up hatred of the Muslim community.”

“I don’t agree with the protests,” she added.

“I don’t agree you can pick and choose the equality you can and can’t have. Our equality laws protect us all.”

And she told the protester: “I fear you are damaging the reputation of the Muslim community.”

Ms Phillips is not the MP for the area but said she was asked to visit by the headteacher and wanted an “exclusion area” to protect children from the protests.

Culture clash: Conflict in the classroom

The protester, Shakeel Afsar, asked the Birmingham Yardley MP: “How come you haven’t been here and supported 300 parents who’ve been protesting here for the last four weeks?”

:: The parents who say their kids are being ‘indoctrinated’ by UK schools

He said 600 children had not turned up for school – but Ms Phillips poured scorn on that claim.

Mr Afsar, who has a niece and nephew at Anderton Park, said: “Our MPs have become that intolerant toward us that rather than coming out and trying to resolve this matter they’re becoming confrontational with parents… exclusion zones to parents who are concerned about their children, really?”

Protests are being held outside school gates over the teaching of gay relationships at a school with predominantly Muslim pupils.
Protests have been held outside the school gates

The largest protest so far was on Friday when people chanted, held signs with slogans such as “my child my choice”, and called for the headteacher to quit.

Today, there was no official protest and LGBT rainbow flags were put up on railings to support the school.

Protest leaders have said the action could spread to other areas of the country and that the Birmingham demonstrations were a “pilot project” for wider opposition.

Head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson told Sky News it was “so disappointing” that some parents had kept their children at home.

The head teacher says some parents blocked pavements at the school on Monday
The head teacher says some parents blocked pavements at the school on Monday

She said some parents were being intimidated at the school gates, adding: “There were a group of parents in various different positions around the school blocking the pavement.

“So my deputy head went out and asked them to move to allow parents to bring in their children, and they were harassing people.”

Ms Hewitt-Clarkson said she supported the idea of an exclusion zone because staff, children and most parents were “fed up”.

She said the department for education is partly to blame for the situation, for allowing parents to feel they should be allowed to choose the books and lessons their children are given.

Education secretary Damian Hinds told Sky News: “Religion itself is a protected characteristic under the equalities legislation. it is important in school that in school children are growing up knowing about modern Britain, knowing about the country in which they are going to become adults.”

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