A senior official in the British National Party was invited to address a classroom on whether the hijab should be banned, The Times has learnt.
Simon Darby, the BNP’s deputy leader, was phoned by 14-year-old students in Rochdale, Lancashire. The pupils, supervised by a teacher, asked him questions over the phone about the French ban on the hijab. The BNP’s policy is to ban Islamic dress in schools.
Andy Rymer, the head of Matthew Moss High School, told The Times that the students were doing a project on news reporting and had suggested contacting the BNP. He said: “We ask kids to be critically curious. This was something they were interested in and wanted to check out. They did so in a supported way with an intelligent teacher.”
Some Asian parents at the school, in the Castleton area of the town, spoke of their concern at allowing the BNP a voice in the classroom. Jamil Khan, whose daughter wears a headscarf to school, said: “I do not feel comfortable with the presence of the BNP in the classroom. They are extremists, full stop. They can only paint the picture one way.”
On his blog, Mr Darby said: “It was reassuring to think that even in 2010 politically correct Britain there are still teachers who insist on the old adage that if you don’t have access to all the information, you will never come up with the right answer.”