Less than a week on from the school Protests outside a High school in Batley over a picture of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) shown by a Teacher in a Religious education class, what exactly can we learn from this event?

The cartoon shown was published by Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French Magazine, back in 2006, who firmly believed that freedom of speech and the freedom to offend are one and the same thing.

They unapologetically published defaming cartoons of the Prophet of Islam as an act of defiance, almost at the altar of worship to the sacredness of Freedoms. This led to mass protests across Europe at the time by Muslims, including successive rallies in the UK, demonstrating the damage that had been done to the feelings and sentiments of Muslims.

Afterall, one of the pictures showed a bomb on the turban of the caricature of Prophet Muhammad, published in the timeline of the West’s War on Terror and ‘radical’ Islam.

These events hit a raw nerve for every Muslim, regardless of labels of moderate and extremist that governments across Europe had tried to camp Muslims in to justify their War on terror narratives.

It is difficult to believe that a Religious education teacher was unaware of these realities and sensitivities. How exactly is displaying a bomb on the head of a religious figure related to any teaching in an RE lesson? Isn’t RE about teaching facts? Is it not about learning the origins of religions, what the beliefs are and learning to respect one another? How can a teacher advocate tolerance and promote diverse communities whilst in the same breath undermine a minority faith?

It is of no doubt, over the last two decades specifically, that mainstream media and successive governments, have routinely demonised Islam and Muslims for financial and Political capital. In the process, it is the British populace which has been polarised and radicalised, often blaming and finger pointing at Muslims for different issues, from grooming young girls, spreading Covid-19 locally, not doing enough to integrate, to being too sensitive over free speech.

Professionals like teachers are not immune from being affected by the regularity of such propaganda, the sophistication of which would have even made Goebbel’s, Hitler’s main media Man, jaws drop.

It is this bias and civilisational superiority complex that can be taken, unconsciously and sometimes consciously  into workplaces, making people feel that is their divine duty to re-culture Muslims back in line with Western ideals; a post-colonial mindset which firmly believes that the package of freedoms and democracy offered by the West are the only ideals worthy of pursuing in life.

Could this have been the ‘conveyor belt’ journey to being radicalised for this teacher? Did he abuse his position of teaching to exercise his own opinion on innocent children? Should this teacher be referred to the Channel or Prevent program for his actions?

So, less than fifty protesters outside the Batley school asking legitimate questions, media commentators denouncing the protest as going too far and the education secretary lambasting it as ‘completely unacceptable’ is an attack on freedom itself? How feeble are Freedoms?