Dunstable school apologises after teacher uses Bin Laden image as Muslim prophet Muhammad
A school has apologised after a religious studies teacher used a picture of the terrorist Osama bin Laden to represent the prophet Muhammad in a lesson.
The teacher at All Saints Academy in Dunstable has now been suspended and the principal has ordered an investigation into their conduct, along with a wider review of the culture at the school.
For most Muslims it is considered offensive for the prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, to be pictured in any way.
The school, which describes itself on its website as having a Christian ethos, said that the issue was first raised by a "concerned pupil".
It added the teacher had used a "totally inappropriate resource" in depicting the prophet as bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
In a statement, it said: "All Saints Academy recognises the deep hurt and distress that has been caused to the Muslim community, and many other people of faith, by the totally inappropriate images that were used as part of a recent RS lesson.
"Not only was it offensive to attempt to portray an image of the prophet Muhammad, but the image that was used was that of Osama Bin Laden, a terrorist leader, which further added to the deep insult."
The school reiterated its "unreserved and sincere apology for the distress this episode has caused".
The teacher has been suspended by the school until an investigation can be completed, but the school said it would not identify the staff member.
It has also commissioned an independent expert to examine the circumstances "to determine how this individual came to act in such an inappropriate and upsetting way".
The statement added: "Finally, having now established very useful links with members of the Muslim community in Luton, we would hope to work together to gain a better understanding of religious and cultural matters that impact on all our lives and will help us to be better educators."
All Saints Academy, based in Houghton Road, is a secondary school and sixth form of more than 700 pupils, and was rated as "requires improvement" in its latest Ofsted report.