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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 18:24 GMT
Parents halt school mosque trip
A number of pupils dropped out of the trip
Parents have forced a school trip to a mosque to be abandoned because they did not want their children exposed to a religion that was not their own.

A class of 10-year-olds at Atwood Primary, Croydon, south London, were due to tour Croydon Mosque as part of their religious education lessons.

But a number of parents withdrew their support saying their children were too young to learn about other faiths.

The school said as a result the trip was no longer financially viable.

Head teacher Alex Clark said some parents did not want their children to experience a religion that was not their own, others thought the pupils were too young and some preferred them to spend time on other subjects.

It is important that children have a range of knowledge about cultures and religions to develop understanding and respect for each other
Head teacher Alex Clark

He added: "We very much regret having to cancel one of our Year 5 class's educational trips to the Croydon Mosque.

"It is important that children have a range of knowledge about cultures and religions to develop understanding and respect for each other."

Mr Clark said: "The withdrawal of a significant minority of pupils unfortunately made continuation of the visit unviable. This was done wholly on financial grounds."

Leaders of Croydon Mosque were featured speaking out against the radicalisation of young Muslims on BBC's Newsnight programme on 14 November.

Media attention

Shuaib Yusaf, a spokesman for the Croydon Mosque & Islamic Centre, said it has hosted a number of school trips in the past.

He went on: "It is therefore regretful that one school has cancelled a prearranged visit in light of the media attention currently focussed upon the mosque.

"Amongst the reasons cited to the mosque is that some parents do not wish their children to visit a mosque at the centre of "radical" activities.

"Croydon Mosque & Islamic Centre is an old established mosque that provides a range of community based services to 18,000 Muslims in the London Borough of Croydon amongst others, and is not engaged in any 'radical' activities.

"This is acknowledged by all concerned and the mosque is liaising with schools and the local education authorities to recommence school visits."



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