Oldham Academy North in the United Kingdom has apologized after a video of a group of students forced to pray outside their school went viral on social media.
The video shows a group of about eight young schoolboys praying Jummah prayers on the concrete in the cold and rainy weather.
Oldham Academy North, a prestigious school near Manchester, was held accountable for the alleged misconduct after a student said a teacher refused to allow them to pray in a classroom.
“We were praying Jummah and a teacher came in and told us we aren’t allowed to pray in that room and the teacher slammed the door and seemed angry,” the student said. The student also continued to say that they are usually allowed to pray their prayers and even have a dedicated room.
Jummah prayers are the obligatory midday prayers held in a congregation on Fridays. They are compulsory for boys and men to read together and consist of a sermon before the prayer.
A representative from Oldham Academy North stated that the reason behind this situation had been due to the flooding of 15 classrooms.
The school also issued a “wholehearted apology” on Twitter.
The apology read: “Earlier this week, photos on social media began to circulate of students at The Oldham Academy North praying outside.
“We would like to offer a sincere apology. We are proud of our diversity and have never, and would never, stop students from praying or asking them to pray outside.
“While we have always sought to provide appropriate prayer facilities at the academy, we are working with Oldham Interfaith Forum and Oldham Council to address the concern this issue has caused.
“At the Oldham Academy North, we consider our diversity our greatest strength. We will always do everything in our power to ensure our students, staff, and our communities are given the very best opportunities in life.”
Muslim leaders within the community are looking at working closely with Oldham Academy North to stop a similar incident like this from happening again.
Arooj Shah, Oldham Council Leader, stated, “When we were made aware of the issues raised at the Oldham Academy North, we acted quickly to speak with the school to understand what happened. Having spoken with the school leaders, I am glad they have apologized to those who were affected and will be writing to parents to explain.”
“Oldham is a proud and diverse borough, and I know that the Oldham Academy North sees this as a strength for the school. We will continue conversations with the school around this matter to investigate the situation properly,” she added.
In the UK, and around the world, the increase in Islamophobia has helped ignorant people push their agenda’s in stopping Muslims from completing their daily acts of worship.
Under the UK legislation, and under the guidelines of the Department for Education, all school children are permitted to go about their daily acts of worship at public schools.
In this particular case, it seems as though one ignorant and angry teacher’s actions have finally brought up the fact that there are still Muslim students that are not being given an equal and rightful opportunity to worship their Lord.
However, the quick response from the school, and the promises from Muslim community leaders, give us hope for the future of our young Muslim boys and girls.