A school has come under fire after dozens of Muslim children were pictured praying in a car park.
The pupils had no choice and had to go outside during the holy month of Ramadan as the school could not accommodate some of their lunchtime prayers.
Loxford School in Ilford, East London, has more than 2,000 pupils and a large Muslim student body. It currently only allows Muslims to pray inside on Fridays for their Juma prayers, but does not provide a room for their lunchtime prayers from Monday to Thursday.
The Head teacher Ms Anita Johnson has been criticised after a photo of children praying in a car park emerged on social media. However, the school maintains it does not direct pupils to pray outside. Nearly 14,000 people have signed a petition calling on Ms Johnson to review the school’s ‘unacceptable’ policy.
Alimul Al-raze, the chairman of the Loxford Muslim Society, says he’s seen pupils coming to his nearby masjid to pray at lunch.
‘They’re quite rushed and in a stress as they have to come all the way to the masjid which is about five, ten minutes away and then they have to go back,” said Al-raze.
In a statement, Loxford School said it does allow pupils to pray in the local masjid and will now consider new ‘arrangements’ from Monday to Thursday.
A school spokesperson said: ‘Loxford School has facilitated prayers in school since the current Head teacher took up her post in 2007.’
‘These prayers are supported by a large contingency of staff.’
The spokesperson said facilities are provided in the school building on Fridays and ‘part of our review will consider arrangement Monday to Thursday.’
They added: ‘Students have never been directed to pray outside. As an open and diverse school we take matters of welfare extremely seriously.’
Darul Ihsan Media Desk