- St Stephen's in Newham, East London, was sent thousands of abusive emails
- Head, Neena Lall, branded a 'paedophile' who 'deserved what she had coming'
- The chairman of the governors resigned on Friday and reversed the ban after 'speaking to the school community'
Police have been called in after a top-rated primary school was 'intimidated' into dropping a ban on Muslim girls wearing hijabs.
St Stephen's in Newham, East London, was bombarded with thousands of emails – many allegedly abusive or threatening violence against staff – after it ruled that girls aged under eight should not wear headscarves.
In the face of the protests, the chairman of the governors, Arif Qawi, announced his resignation on Friday and the school said it had reversed its ban after 'speaking to the school community'.
St Stephen's primary school in Newham had said it was banning hijabs for girls aged under eight but U-turned after a barrage of threats
However, insiders said staff had been bullied by an 'orchestrated' campaign of up to 500 emails a day from across the country, with some messages falsely branding head teacher Neena Lall, 50, a 'paedophile' who 'deserved what she had coming'.
Critics said the school had failed to consult parents properly.
The ban was imposed before Christmas to help five- and six-year-olds integrate better after staff noticed they were often reluctant to join in playground games because their headscarves were cumbersome.
The campaign against the ban gathered momentum last week after locals began a petition opposing it, and Islamic activists and Left-wing Newham councillors criticised the decision.
The school's headteacher, Neena Lall (pictured), who had supported the change in a bid to make pupils feel more integrated, was branded a 'paedophile'
According to well-placed sources, Mr Qawi, 54, felt he had to step down because staff were becoming frightened to come into school.
He told colleagues in an email: 'I wish the school continued success and am truly sorry that my actions have caused any harm to the reputation of the fantastic school.'
A note posted on the school's website on Friday read: 'Having spoken to our school community we have… decided to reverse our position with immediate effect.'
Sources blamed Islamic activists MEND, who have faced accusations of extremism, for encouraging the email campaign.
Dr Usama Hasan, an imam and Islamic expert at the Quilliam think- tank, said: 'There is no religious requirement for under-eights to wear the headscarf.
It is valid to raise health and safety, which is an Islamic requirement, as is encouraging children to play.
'But there's nothing wrong with parents dressing their daughters like them. Consultation is encouraged in Islam, so the school should consult widely.'
But Mr Qawi's resignation was welcomed by the Muslim Council of Britain, which said the 'appalling' ban was discriminatory as it did not target the dress of pupils of other faiths.
St Stephen's last year topped the Sunday Times's Parent Power league tables after impressive academic results.