- Parents and far-right campaigners held a protest outside a primary school
- Protest was in response to a lesson on Islam by a visitor from Newcastle
- Headteacher defended move and said it was important for children to learn tolerance and respect
- Incident comes weeks after parents called police as Muslim men were praying outside same school in County Durham
Parents and far-right campaigners have protested outside a primary school over a lesson on Islam.
The protest was held just weeks after staff at East Stanley Primary School in Stanley, County Durham, called the police when a group of Muslim men were spotted praying in a nearby car park.
It is understood the incident was in response to a lesson on Islam which included a talk by a visitor from the Islamic Diversity Centre in Newcastle.
The protest took place at lunchtime yesterday and involved around four parents and far-right campaigners.
Parents and far-right campaigners have protested outside a primary school over a lesson on Islam
One flag held by the protesters had the words North East EDL Angels on the front while another protester had Activist Against Child Groomers on the back of their hoodie. Many others wore masks, pictured
One flag held by the protesters had the words North East EDL Angels on the front while another protester had Activist Against Child Groomers on the back of his hoodie.
Several of those involved covered up their faces during the protest.
One parent said: 'The school are forcing our children to learn about Islam against the wishes of the parents and someone from Newcastle Islamic Centre is coming in to preach.'
Joanne Williams, headteacher at East Stanley Primary School, said: 'As a school we feel it is important that in our modern secular society children are given a wide range of opportunities to learn about, interact with and learn tolerance and respect for other cultures, religions and communities.
The protest was held just weeks after staff at East Stanley Primary School in Stanley, County Durham, called the police when a group of Muslim men were spotted praying in a nearby car park
'We let parents know that this visit was taking place as well as organising a session for families, and we are pleased that we have seen support from the majority of our mums and dads.'
In December, police were called to the school after concerned parents told teachers that Muslims were praying in a car park near the same primary school.
The group have been branded racist and 'small minded' by critics after spotting the men on their knees praying on Chester Road at the end of the school day.
Staff called Durham Police and a Police Constable attended the school on Monday November 14, but the men had already moved on.
Inspector Kelly Martin, of Stanley Police, said the protest passed off peacefully without incident and no arrests were made.
She said: 'After the incident in December the school wanted to do some work with the Muslim community so people could be educated and that is why we were involved, supporting the school in facilitating that and not to police any protest, I want to be very clear about that.
'Our staff would have been there anyway. It was about community cohesion.
'While people are entitled to there opinions and to register there objections within the law, our objective is to bring the community together to understand each other and be tolerant of other views and not alienate or isolate people.'
The protest took place at lunchtime yesterday and involved around four parents and far-right campaigners