Four students were suspended from a school in Wakefield, Yorkshire after being accused of damaging a copy of the Koran.
Images of the book published in a BBC report appear to show slight warping of the front page – which is made of paper – with a second image showing slight markings on the bottom right corner of an inner page.
The headteacher of Kettlethorpe High School where the alleged incident took place, Tudor Griffiths, released a statement in which he stated that he wanted to “reassure all our community that the holy book remains fully intact and that our initial enquiries indicate there was no malicious intent by those involved”.
After the incident a meeting was called by Independent councillor for Wakefield East, Akef Akbar, in order to find out more about what had happened to the book after he said he heard it had been ‘kicked around’, an allegation which the school denies.
The school said it met with local Muslim community leaders, local councillors and police to “share all the information we currently know, the action taken and the immediate steps we have taken to reinforce the values and behaviour we expect from every member of this school community to ensure that all religions are respected”.
This is Mr Griffiths, head of @khs_STEAM (Kettlethorpe High School) in Wakefield. https://t.co/t2pw8zCdju He thinks that it’s totally ok to SUSPEND 4 BOYS, for MINOR DAMAGE to a Quran. A prime example of a woke apologist. Would the same action be taken if a bible was damaged? pic.twitter.com/rBC0l89NsB
— Andy Plumb (@AndyPlumb4) February 28, 2023
A spokesperson from Humanists UK said that the story was “horrendous” and that the school had “acted in rash haste, under pressure” when it suspended the four children.
The spokesperson pointed to the fact that there is no blasphemy law in the UK saying that “schools should not allow themselves to be pressured into excessive disciplinary action by religious groups”.
It has been alleged that the boys at the centre of the incident have been receiving death threats.
Since the incident a video has emerged online of the mother of one of the boys involved apologising among a panel of Muslim men and referring to her son, who she says is autistic, as a “very silly boy”.
The woman, who does not appear to be Muslim herself, appeared at a local Mosque wearing a head covering saying that her son was “completely disrespectful” of the Koran and that the boy didn’t understand “how sacred your holy book is”.
She continued saying that the boy was suffering from heightened anxiety because of what had happened and that he was ‘barely eating’.
The mother of an autistic 14 year old boy who was involved in the desecration of the Holy Quran at Kettlethorpe High School in Wakefield tells Muslims at Jamia Masjid Swafia that her son is a "very silly boy" without "malicious intent" who is genuinely remorseful. pic.twitter.com/xZGueI4Ctj
— 5Pillars (@5Pillarsuk) February 26, 2023
Local police are reported to have said that “Initial enquiries have confirmed minor damage was caused to the text and officers are continuing to work closely with the school”.