Words: Will Stroude
Shocking new footage shows the extent of the anti-gay bigotry being aimed at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham and its assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat over the school's recent discussion of LGBT acceptance.
The school has been thrust into the national spotlight in recent weeks after hundreds of parents began protesting against age-appropriate discussion of LGBT people as part of the Muslim-majority school's 'No Outsiders' diversity programme.
A video posted on Twitter on Thursday (7 March) shows a group of adults and children assembled outside the school in front of a banner mounted to the back of a van reading 'Our Children, Our Choice - Stop! 'No Outsiders'.
The footage published by Salman Anwar shows a man leading the crowd in a chant of 'Shame' at Mr Moffat, who is gay and helped set up the diversity programme in 2014 to teach children about issues like race, disability, gender and same-sex families.
Seen a lot about the Parkfield school and LGBT education but not seen it up close like this before. This is *terrifying*. pic.twitter.com/m4qvoKBdEa— Salman Anwar (@_SalmanAnwar) March 7, 2019
The unidentified man tells the protestors: "We need to make one thing very clear: this programme is not just about telling people that other families and other types of lifestyles exist; it's actually agtressively promoting them, giving it a positivie spin and telling people it's okay for you to be Muslim and gay'."
After chants of 'Shame' are directed at Mr Moffat, he goes on: "Mr Moffat - I did not want to make this personal - but Mr Moffat has decided upon his own self to reinterpret our religious scriptures.
"I don't know where he gets his religious eduction from and when he became 'Mufti Moffat', but our religious beliefs are not here to be changed. We don't send our children to school to be indoctrinated.
A 'mufti' is a Muslim legal expert who gives rulings on religious matters.
The man continues: "This is an aggressive indoctrination going on which we are speaking against. If there was no aggressive promotion then you would not have had all these parents come out onto the streets.
The 'No Outsiders' programme was started in 2014 by Parkfield's assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat
"This programme is very toxic. Not only are we aiming to have it abolished in this school, but we're going to have it abolished in every school in Birmingham, every school in the country."
Labour MP Jess Phillips, who represents the nearby constituency of Birmingham Yardley, said the footage had left her "heartbroken."
I know it's late but I feel heartbroken by the video circulating, which I will not repost from outside a Birmingham school. Truly heartbroken it is so damaging for both LGBTQI community but also harms the Muslim community and does not represent our city at all.— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) March 8, 2019
"I know it's late but I feel heartbroken by the video circulating, which I will not repost from outside a Birmingham school," she tweeted on Thursday (7 March).
"Truly heartbroken it is so damaging for both LGBTQI community but also harms the Muslim community and does not represent our city at all.
Earlier this week, Parkfield Community School announced that the 'No Outsiders' lessons had stopped until after Easter, but insisted this was always part of their planned timetable.
In a statement, the school said the programme would continue after Easter, but following a consultation with parents about how to implement the topics.
Despite the furore, Mr Moffat, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for his services to equality and diversity in education, has been nominated for the $1million Global Teacher Prize for his work improving the chances of students in his community.