Batley grammar

Batley Grammar and the triumph of the mob

Here’s the depressing truth about the Batley Grammar controversy: the mob has won. Angry protesters who gathered at the school gates to demand teachers be forbidden from displaying images of Muhammad have pretty much got their way. Following an external inquiry into what happened at Batley Grammar, the trust which runs the school has said such images should never be used again. This affair kicked off in March, when a teacher was suspended for showing his pupils a cartoon of Muhammad during a Religious Studies discussion about blasphemy. In an attempt to resolve this surreal situation, in which a teacher in a supposedly modern secular democracy was effectively being punished for blasphemy,

In praise of the Batley binmen

If you need someone to support your right to freedom of speech, forget the teaching unions. Don’t look to the commentariat. And don’t even bother with the Labour party, many of whose younger, angrier members will often be found in the ranks of cancel-culture mobs calling for someone or other to be erased from polite society for having blasphemed against a trendy new orthodoxy. No, it’s the binmen you want to turn to. It’s the nation’s fine refuse collectors who will back you up when your liberty to speak is being pummelled. Consider the case of the Batley Grammar schoolteacher who was suspended for showing his pupils an image of

Batley Grammar and the dilemma for trainee teachers

Should a teacher show a picture of the prophet Mohammed in the classroom? In the wake of the ugly scenes recently at Batley Grammar school when one teacher did just that, there are few questions more relevant to the work of a teacher right now. But when one trainee student at Manchester Metropolitan university contacted his course leader to ask whether they would support someone who did show such an image in class, the response was not the one he expected. The university’s reaction was telling: it did not initially respond to the trainee’s email request for advice. Instead it contacted him a month later saying he must attend a

Why will nobody publish my religious cartoons?

I am having very little success in getting my collection of cartoons of great religious founders published. Perhaps it is because I am not known as a draughtsman and publications are notoriously conservative in hiring new talent. It is all very dispiriting. My drawings are, I think, puckish and yet respectful. For example, there is one of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, the man somehow regarded as divine by Rastafarians. He is depicted in a game of ten-pin bowling with Benito Mussolini, the controversial former leader of Italy. Both men seem to be enjoying themselves — Benito is holding a pint of lager while Selassie is biting into an almond

Douglas Murray

Want to see your friends? Call it a protest

I wonder exactly when we agreed that it is more of a priority to gather with strangers than to meet loved ones? You might chart a number of moments, but the presumption seems to have become fixed. You might say that it started before the pandemic with the idea that truanting from school is worthy, even admirable, so long as it is done in opposition to climate change. Indeed as we learned this week, if you leave school for long enough then you may eventually have a statue erected to you in an English town known for its cathedral and school but not for its university. If you were an

The Batley Grammar school row is the perfect jihadist recruitment tool

As controversy continues to rage after pupils were shown an image of the prophet Muhammad by a teacher at Batley Grammar School, the primary beneficiaries will be violent extremists, both jihadist and far right. As a former jihadi extremist who once used similar circumstances to spew hate and spread dissension worldwide, I should know. But, here’s the truth: I couldn’t have cared less about the portrayal of the cartoon, and neither did those preachers I once worked with. In the wake of 9/11, I ran Revolution Muslim, which was described as a ‘relay station for Al Qaeda’s broader message’. Then, in April 2010, when the writers of South Park announced the show’s 201st episode would portray

Batley Grammar’s shameful capitulation

The capitulation of Batley Grammar School has been a truly dispiriting sight. In response to protests by angry Muslims it has suspended a teacher for the supposed offence of showing a caricature of Muhammad to his pupils. This is an extraordinary act of moral cowardice. Batley Grammar has buckled to religious extremists, cravenly begging for forgiveness for something that ought to be perfectly acceptable in an institution of learning — encouraging young people to engage with and discuss controversial issues. Everything about the Batley Grammar controversy stinks. It began when a teacher at the prestigious West Yorkshire school, as part of a religious education class, showed his pupils an image