Pray outside, British school tells Muslim students

London, Dec 3 (IANS) Muslim parents were considering taking legal action against a school which, they claim, forced their children to pray outside in rain and freezing temperatures.

Dozens of Muslim youngsters claim they have been left soaking wet and cold after Mirfield Free Grammar School and Sixth Form in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, refused to give them permission to offer their daily prayers indoors, a report published in Daily Mail said.

Pictures appear to show the children praying on grass verges and even the concrete playground, and the pupils claim they were being punished for praying, some having been given “final warnings”.

The families said the “degrading” issue was ongoing since October 2014, when the use of a school hall for prayers was withdrawn. Legal action was “a last resort”, they said.

The school claims the hall was never used as a prayer room for the pupils.

Solicitor Yunus Lunat, from Leeds law firm Ison Harrison, said he has taken up the case on behalf of “a number of families” and that the situation should not have reached this stage.

“The parents and students are keen to stress that they wish to act within the law and are anxious to avoid any negative ramifications or reporting,” the daily quoted Lunat as saying.

“The families have tried to solve this amicably with the school for over a year now. They have come to me as a last resort.”

Lunat claims some of the children were being disciplined for carrying out their obligatory prayers and a few have been given “final warnings”.

The school’s executive principal Lorraine Barker said: “We are a broadly Christian academy and have never had a prayer room.”

“Before students join the sixth form, we make them aware of the facilities we have on site and we are clear that we have no prayer room,” Barker said.

“Sixth form students are welcome to go off site in order to pray and we have made arrangements in the local community for this to happen,” she added.

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