The Birmingham primary school teacher at the centre of an ongoing row about the teaching of LGBT rights says he’s received threats from angry parents.
Andrew Moffat, an assistant head at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock, has been targeted by a number of parents who are unhappy that their children are being taught about same-sex couples and gender identity.
Mr Moffat, who is openly gay, was the creator of the No Outsiders programme via which the school’s youngsters are learning about LGBT rights and homophobia. The school is 98% Muslim and parents feel that Mr Moffat is "promoting... personal beliefs and convictions about universal acceptability of homosexuality as being normal and morally correct".
In an interview with Birmingham Live, one parent, Fatima Shah, said: “Children are being told it's okay to be gay, yet 98% of children at this school are Muslim. It's a Muslim community.”
She went on: “The school knew the local community and parents have a different set of family values and morals, and were opposed to an LGBT agenda that says being gay is okay. Our community ethos was not respected. We feel betrayed by the school.”
Responding to the protests, the school said it was "disappointed" but had no plans to change its teaching.
The controversy has already seen Councillor Mohammed Idrees, the Labour member for Alum Rock, being formally reported to Birmingham City Council's Standards Committee for endorsing 'homophobic views'. Councillor Idrees said that children at the school were 'too young' to be taught about homosexuality, but has since apologised for his remark.
In a statement, he said: "I overstepped the mark in my efforts to state the views of some of the parents, but I fully support Birmingham City Council's policies in relation to LGBT issues. I got it wrong and have already apologised to the leader of the council and to the chief whip this morning (Monday, January 28).
"No Outsiders is a programme that has clearly upset some parents - with some threatening to take their children out of school. That is clearly something we all want to avoid, and I want to work with both the school and the parents to help us reach a better understanding.
"I have never had a problem with the LGBT community, and I am proud that Birmingham is an inclusive and tolerant city, and there is no place here for homophobia or any other form of discrimination.
"The best way to reach an understanding on this issue is to talk, and I'm determined to work with both the school and the parents on this.”
The formal complaint about Councillor Idrees was made to the council’s Standards Committee by Councillor Gareth Moore (Cons, Erdington), who is openly gay.
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