Anderton Park Primary School continues to be at the centre of a controversial and now national debate about its teaching of equalities, specifically relating to the LGBT community. Many parents remain opposed to it, with protests led by Shakeel Afsar who doesn’t have any children at the school. Despite Ofsted confirming that the content of the No Outsiders curriculum is not only appropriate, but age-appropriate, and despite the law being clear that equality must be promoted, and Nazir Afzal’s attempts at mediation failing, the matter appears far from being resolved.
We have seen recently how Conservative MPs Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom both agreed that it is the parents right to withdraw children from lessons they deemed age-inappropriate. Local Labour MP Roger Godsiff also didn’t help matters by claiming “Parents should have been invited to give their comments and make suggestions as to the “age-appropriateness” and now more recently claiming the parents are right to protest. Furthermore, Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe made matters worse for the LGBT community with her remarks on Sky News when she stated: “The fact that we now think that it’s quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn’t mean that science may yet produce an answer.” But this is only the start, because whilst it is accepted that both the Muslim and LGBT community are considered minorities vulnerable to hate and prejudice, Katie Hopkins who has made a career out of demonizing vulnerable communities such as migrants and refugees, has now waded into the debate.
Katie Hopkins, gained popularity for her appearance on The Apprentice in 2007 when she famously rejected an offer of employment by withdrawing from the penultimate task. Since then, she has written columns for The Sun and The Daily Mail. In addition, she also hosted a weekend show on the Global radio station LBC.
However Hopkins is not free from controversy. She is considered to be anti-Islam, declaring that Islam disgusts her and that her view is perfectly rational. Furthermore, she has called for a burqa ban and labels Islam homophobic. This anti-Islam theme appears to continue as she has continuously attacked the London Mayor Sadiq Khan referring him to “Muslim mayor of Londonistan.” This seems beyond dog-whistling, but rather overt and obviously anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric. But what has drawn Shakeel Afsar, a Muslim, to join in alliance with Katie? The answer is quite simple. The enemy of my enemy is my friend!
Afsar, the self declared property developer is desperate for exposure. He has realised that no one of great importance is either listening to him or taking him seriously. He is a charlaton using both the parents and children to push his regressive conservative Muslim agenda onto a secular school, because it happens to have a large proportion of Muslim students. Council officials have condemned the protests, injunctions have been secured successfully against the protests, yet Afsar et al are positioning themselves as the victims of diminished parents rights.
Let’s be clear here, what Afsar has done by joining in allegiance with Hopkins is not something that will promote his cause, but damage it. It is an own goal. Instead of building bridges with the LGBT+ community he doesn’t wish Muslim children to be engaged with, he would prefer for these very same children to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Queen of anti-Islam, Hopkins. What madness drove him there?
It is absolutely concerning that, if parents continue to have Afsar championing their cause, then the message they are sending their children is one of tolerance of hate, rather than tolerance of acceptance. There is nothing positive about Katie Hopkins, to be involved in a community that follows a faith that she is vehemently against, when she tweets “We need a final solution” in reference to immigrants.
The solution has to be to get rid of these two, they have no real business being involved, especially as matters still haven’t progressed. It would be wise for the parents to take part in the lessons and get to understand the curriculum, what is being taught, how it is being taught and why it is being taught. If you remove your child from school, then you remove the opportunity for them to learn, to access an education. Is this really the approach parents want to continue with? Do parents really want their children to learn about tolerance from the queen of intolerance, or do they want their children to continue to attend school in a safe and secure environment.
It’s time for education, parents need to feel reassured that what is being taught maybe against their religious morals, but it doesn’t replace them. It simply helps prepare their children for modern life in Britain. Remember, it’s not about the school and it’s not about the parents. It is always and must always be about the children.