From our You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Department, conveniently located down the hall from our You’ll Want to Read This Sitting Down Department. “Parents’ outrage as Catholic school children told ‘dress as a Muslim for mosque trip – or you will be branded a truant’,” from the Daily Mail, May 12 (thanks to Tziona):
A Catholic schoolgirl has been branded a ‘truant’ by her teachers after she refused to dress as a Muslim for a school field trip to a mosque.
Staff had ordered 14-year-old Amy Owen and her classmates to dress in headscarf, wear trousers or leggings and keep her arms covered for the compulsory visit to the mosque after it was arranged to promote ‘community cohesion.’
Parents at the 1,100 pupil Ellesmere Port Catholic High School in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire were also told they were each required to make a Â£3 contribution towards the trip for all Year Nine students.
But when Amy refused to dress in Muslim attire for the visit to Al Rahma Mosque in Toxteth, Liverpool, staff warned her about rules and said refusal would mean non attendance which would then be marked down as an ‘unauthorised absence.’
In a stern letter to her family with words in block capitals and underlined, the school’s headmaster Peter Lee said the visit was ‘as compulsory as a geography field trip.’
He added: ‘There are two reasons for these visits. One is that the scheme of work in religious studies REQUIRES children to have knowledge and understanding of other world religions.
The one-way street of multiculturalist “tolerance”:
‘The second is that the school is REQUIRED to promote tolerance respect and understanding. This is known as community cohesion. A failure to do this could result in an unwelcome inspection judgement. None of us would relish that.
‘Whilst I may not require you to pay for this I must require your child to participate.’
It is believed up to ten other families from Amy’s Year 9 classes also refused to dress as Muslims and were marked down in the truanting register.
But Amy’s mother Michelle Davies, 34, a home help said: ‘It’s like they’re putting a gun to your head – either you go to a mosque, or you’re marked down as an unauthorised absence on your record – that’s it no two ways about it. […]
‘I also fail to see how a three-hour trip to a mosque is of any educational value to a Catholic when she can learn about the Muslim faith in the classroom.
‘I can guarantee that if there were ten Muslim girls coming to our school it would adhere to what they wanted, because that’s their faith, their religion, their dress code.’
The school claimed it had arranged the trip in accordance with diktats sent down by Oftsted and the Roman Catholic diocese and said it to abide by a ‘strict dress code.’
Mrs Davies who has two other children said: ‘No sooner had I objected to the dress code, I got a phone call from her head of year saying I don’t see what the problem is, it teaches them respect. I said to her, is that not my job and your job as a school?…