A Muslim education foundation has apologized after it was accused of branding members of the LGBTQ+ community as “bad”.
The Abu Bakr Trust, which runs three schools in the Staffordshire town of Walsall, allegedly made homophobic posts on November 6 last year.
The trust is said to have posted on its Facebook page telling followers to pray “for protection from evil deeds and from LGBTQ”.
It was also allegedly written: “My Lord, save me and my family from what they are doing.”
According to research by the Henry Jackson Society, someone with ties to the trust also allegedly shared a Facebook video of a Taliban cleric claiming to be “very smart.”
The Charity Commission officially raised concerns and a formal investigation was launched.
The trust has since apologized for the posts, saying they were made by a volunteer without the authorization of staff or trustees, but subsequently “accepted full responsibility” for what it described as an “oversight”.
Ironically, the girls’ trust school, which is independent but receives government subsidies, was praised in March for being tolerant of same-sex couples.
An Ofsted report at the time stated: “Students have a good understanding of core British values.
“They talk expertly about democracy, how laws are made and how that applies to everyday school life. Pupils have a detailed knowledge of other religions.
“They speak with conviction about the similarities and differences between Islam and other religions. Pupils talk about the different types of relationships and families that exist in their local community.
“This includes single-parent families, same-sex couples and children in care.”
Meanwhile, Abu Bakr Boys School on Queen Mary Street was rated “inadequate” overall after an inspection last June – but was praised for encouraging pupils to “understand and respect differences”.
Charlotte Littlewood, who conducted research for the Henry Jackson Society, said: “This is a very worrying time for the LGBT community.
“We seem to be making great strides in some areas, but in this particular area, we’re just not making the same progress. I worry about the impact this will have on our youth if they are taught intolerance.
“We are raising children in a multicultural society where the priority is for us to be a cohesive society based on tolerance. Some schools don’t teach this – these schools will not prepare children for a successful life in the UK.
“Parents should think carefully about the environments they put their children in if they want the UK to be a safe and tolerant place for all.”
Abu Bakr Trust’s full statement:
Abu Bakr Trust Charity has been operating for 18 years without any major problems. The charity has always strictly pursued its goals, i.e. providing quality education through schools (for children) and services for the faithful in mosques (for everyone).
All current trustees were appointed last year due to the ill health and age of the longtime trustees. Since then, the new trustees have been handling all aspects of managing the work of the charity.
Previous trustees have delegated some activities to volunteers as the charity has limited staff resources. Social Media Responsibility was not created by a charity, instead community volunteers took the initiative to set up a Facebook page in 2011.
When the trustees found out about this, they were told that it was only used to post monthly prayer schedules and upcoming events etc. From its history, it can be confirmed that this platform has minimal activity.
However, after the pandemic, during lockdown periods when physical presence was limited, platforms such as social media were used as a means of communication more than before, but administration/control remained in the hands of volunteers. It appears that previously login details were widely shared among volunteers, allowing them to post without staff and trustee approval.
“The entries in question were made by a volunteer with login details, but no staff or trustees approved them. We immediately removed posts and changed login details and have now taken control of our social media policy and will only post essential information as before.
“We assume full responsibility for oversight in connection with the change of trustees. We apologize for any upset or offense this has caused and are already working with advisers and the Charity Commission to put in place effective policies and controls.”
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