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Parents against LGBT lessons in school ‘being pushed into corner’ | UK News

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A man accused of inflaming tensions over relationships classes at a primary school in Birmingham has told Sky News his “people are being pushed into a corner”.

Shakeel Afsar is one of a number of people who do not want children to be taught about same-sex partnerships at Anderton Park Primary School.

It is estimated the 300-strong protest at the school gates will grow to 500 when term recommences next week.



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A gay mother says four isn’t too young for lessons about same-sex relationships

Mr Afsar told his supporters on social media that he would challenge Sky News to walk the streets with him to test public views. I accepted his offer on condition I chose who we spoke to.

He says he has been asked by members of the local Muslim community to represent them. He does not have a child at the school but his sister has two there.

Shakeel Afsar says his 'people are being pushed into a corner'
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Shakeel Afsar says his ‘people are being pushed into a corner’

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who has been brought in as a mediator, says misinformation is being spread by people with no children at the school, who he describes as “other agents”.

He also blames them for talks breaking down, and says there is “nothing in the curriculum that is LGBT-specific. There is nothing about gay sex”.

He added that staff at Anderton Park Primary School are at risk and breaking down in tears.

But Mr Afsar said Mr Afzal had “lost touch with Asian communities”.

He added: “I have been accused of being an outside agent. Well then, unfortunately Mr Nazir Afzal has lost touch with Asian communities, because our nieces and nephews are regarded as good as our children.”







‘There is nothing about gay sex – it’s a lie’

Asked whether he was inflaming tensions and thwarting mediation, he said it was “nonsense, absolute nonsense”, adding: “I stood up because my people are being pushed into a corner.”

There is clearly a lot of community support for Mr Afsar’s campaign – something we witnessed as people stopped their cars to greet him.

One man said the subject of gay relationships should not be raised in the classroom until children reach puberty.

But as we continued our walkabout in the Moseley area of Birmingham, we were approached by a gay mother who had seen an earlier report on Sky News.

Katy Bennett told us she lives around the corner from the school, is “gay from a two-mum family”, and has a five-year-old son.

She said: “The thing I have trouble with is people saying it is not appropriate for four/five year olds to know gay people exist.

“My son is fully aware that many different types of people exist. And the issue I have is that no human right, no protected characteristic, should be promoted over another.”

Mr Afsar replied: “I know my community. We do not discriminate against anyone. However you choose to bring up your children is your choice and the parents should be allowed that choice.

“We respect you for who you are and we believe you should be given as much rights as everyone else.”

He invited Ms Bennett to join him at the school gates to understand his and his fellow protesters’ positions.

But she declined, saying she felt “a bit frightened going near the school to be honest”.

Earlier this month, schools minister Nick Gibb MP defended plans to teach compulsory relationships education to primary school pupils from next year, following protests by some parents worried about their children being told about same-sex relationships.

Writing on the Sky News website, he said: “We want all children to leave school prepared to take their place in a welcoming, successful and diverse country, to understand the world they are growing up in, to be able to form healthy relationships and to respect difference.

“We have consulted widely on this new policy, refusing to shy away from strong opinions on all sides – engaging in constructive dialogue to find a way forward.

“We support headteachers to make the right decisions for their pupils.

“That is why we have given headteachers discretion over their curriculum, including how and when to teach what’s expected about LGBT relationships.”

He added: “Teachers and headteachers should not be intimidated or threatened for doing their jobs.

“There is no reason why teaching children about the society that we live in and the different types of loving, healthy relationships that exist cannot be done in a way that respects everyone’s views.”

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