‘I fear I will be murdered’, says teacher who showed Mohammed cartoons

·3 min read
Batley Grammar School protests
Batley Grammar School protests

The teacher who prompted protests after showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed fears that he and his family will be murdered, his father has said.

The religious studies teacher remains in hiding after receiving death threats and has told his family “it’s all over” and he will never be able to return to his job or his home.

Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire sent pupils home last week and issued an apology after the parents of Muslim children gathered at the gates to protest. The RS teacher was described as a “terrorist” in a letter from one community leader.

His family has now accused the school’s head teacher, Gary Kibble, of “throwing him under a bus” by failing to fight his corner while he lives as a fugitive.

The teacher’s father said: “My son keeps breaking down crying and says that it's all over for him. He is worried that he and his family are all going to be killed.

“He knows that he's not going to be able to return to work or live in Batley. It's just going to be too dangerous for him and his family.”

The teacher, who lives with his partner and children, fears he will suffer the same fate as Samuel Paty, a teacher who was beheaded in Paris last year after showing his pupils a cartoon of Mohammed during a lesson on freedom of expression.

His father told MailOnline: “Look what happened to the teacher in France who was killed for doing the same thing. Eventually they will get my son and he knows this. His whole world has been turned upside down. He's devastated and crushed.

“When he starts speaking, he just breaks down and cries. He's become an emotional wreck.

“He feels that everything is broken and to be honest, it's hard to console him at the moment because that is the truth.”

The teacher was suspended by Batley Grammar School, and the school apologised to parents for the “inappropriate” use of the cartoons, taken from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, whose staff were attacked by terrorists in 2015.

His father said a CCTV camera had been set up to monitor his son's home after neighbours reported gangs of young men arriving at the property.

The father said: “Even if he gets his job back, how can he possibly return to Batley Grammar School? It will be far too risky. And how will he be able to walk around the town with his kids, doing normal things knowing that he could be killed?

“Sadly, his life here in Batley is over.”

The teacher's mother has also gone into hiding, the father said, explaining: “My wife is petrified that we'll also be targeted and has become a bag of nerves since all this happened. She's unable to stay in our home. This whole incident has had a devastating impact on us, and we are all scared about the situation we find ourselves in.

“The school and my son have issued a full apology, and both have said that they won't allow the same thing to happen again. That should be the end of the matter and my son should be allowed to get on with his life."

A petition in support of the teacher keeping his job has been signed by 64,000 people.

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