‘I’ve been called a racist and a bigot’: Stepfather explains why he complained when school asked his girl, 12, to write a letter for homework about becoming a Muslim
- Mark McLachlan’s stepdaughter was asked to ‘write about converting to Islam’
- The 43-year-old stopped her worrying what she would find during her research
- He says ‘UK might turn into Islamic state’ & doesn’t want her to have false ideas
- Since posting it online he has been inundated with abuse and is ‘terrified’
A stepfather who slammed his 12-year-old’s school for making her write a letter about ‘converting to Islam’ has been called a ‘racist bigot’ and is terrified of violent repercussions.
Mark McLachlan, 43, complained to Kepier School in Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland when he found the homework task in his stepdaughter’s planner.
He refused to let her finish the ‘letter to my family about converting to Islam’, claiming it was ‘brainwashing’ her about the religion and did not see what it would achieve.
But since posting about it on social media he says he has received a lot of abuse.
He told MailOnline: ‘My wife and I are terrified of the repercussions.
‘Any time anybody says anything negative about Islam they are torn to shreds.
‘I’ve been called a racist and a bigot, but I’m just terrified for my children and for the way this country is going.
‘In 50 years time I can see Britain becoming an Islamic state and my children and grandchildren are still going to be alive – I don’t want them wearing a niqab.’
Mr McLachlan, who has been with the 12-year-old’s mother for five years, said he was particularly outraged by the task because he thinks she is being given a ‘false representation of Islam’.
Mark McLachlan, 43, found the homework task (pictured) in his stepdaughter’s planner and refused to let her finish it
He added: ‘She was told to google ‘Why should I convert to Islam’, but if she had researched both sides and googled ‘Why shouldn’t I convert to Islam’ she wouldn’t have been able to sleep.
‘I’ve done it and the stuff that comes up is horrific.
‘My stepdaughter is coming home talking about the Prophet Muhammad and halal meat saying Islam is the religion of peace.
‘But if she watched the news and knew about all the atrocities Islam has caused all over the world, she would know it isn’t the religion of peace at all.’
The stepfather, who also has a daughter, stressed he has ‘nothing but respect’ for the deputy head of Kepier School, who was ‘completely understanding of his concerns.
He told MailOnline the teacher has agreed to hold a meeting to review the task and address his concerns.
Nicola Cooper, the school’s principal, said: ‘At Kepier we feel it is very important to introduce our learners to all faiths and cultures and we do this throughout the academic year.
‘For example, next week we will be celebrating all faiths during National Inter Faith Week.
‘We welcomed Mr McLachlan into school earlier this week and were happy to explain to him how we explore all faiths and cultures.
‘Our Culture and Wellbeing programme of study is in line with the National Curriculum and we believe it provides the basis for a broad, balanced and engaging introduction to the areas typically taught in RE and PSHCE.’
Mr McLachlan replied: ‘I know as part of the national curriculum they have to learn about all religions.
‘I just don’t see why they should ask a child to write a letter addressed to their family about converting to another religion. I really just don’t see what the letter will gain.
‘If they want children to learn about Islam, then go teach them all about it and its history.
‘What I don’t want is a school asking my stepdaughter to look into reasons for converting to another religion.
‘Like every parent, it is our decision on how we raise them and once they are old enough to make decision, then it is there choice.’
Mr McLachlan visited the school to raise his concerns and was told that this was part of the curriculum and was shown example exam questions for Islam, Christianity and Hinduism.
The homework came to light when Mr McLachlan was looking through the youngster’s school planner and saw the teacher has written the task to be handed in on November 8.
He added: ‘When I saw this assignment in the planner, written by the teacher, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
‘I told her she will not be completing it and she is more worried about getting detention.
‘We send our kids to school to get a good education and use what they have learnt to have a good career.
‘I have no problem with them learning about religions but I feel they should not be asking 12-year-olds writing to their parents about why they are converting.
‘I just found the task wholly inappropriate.’
Mr McLachlan took a picture of the assignment and posted it online, where it has been shared hundreds of times.
One user commented: ‘Would they go to a Muslim school and ask them to write a letter to their parents about converting to Catholic? I doubt it!
‘Children should not be made to write letters about converting to any religion for any reason.’
Another user said: ‘Isn’t part of RE to research, investigate and teach about all religions?
‘I feel like this homework is just an exercise about converting to another religion. That’s been blown way out of proportion.’
Mr McLachlan, who lives in Houghton-le-Spring, insisted he only complained because he is ‘worried about the children of Britain’.
He said: ‘I’m just worried about mine, yours and anyone else’s children.
‘They’ve eradicated anyone and anything that isn’t Muslim in the Middle East, but they’re taking over this country as well.
‘I want my children to have an objective view of all religions.
‘Education is about learning things not about brainwashing.’