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School cancels Muslim speaker after teacher organising presentation receives threats

November 18
13:44 2017

A school has reportedly cancelled a planned speech about Islam after a teacher organising the talk received threats.

A teacher at Northeastern Middle School in Bristol, Connecticut, had invited a local Muslim woman to speak about her faith and sent a note to parents informing them of the event.

The letter, which was posted online, introduced the speaker as a New York City native who resided in Connecticut and had founded an organisation devoted to “empowerment of Muslim women”.

“This presentation will enrich our curriculum on world history,” the letter said.

But the speech was cancelled after the teacher received threats, NBC Connecticut reported.

“There were some security concerns due to threats being made at the school toward the teacher who was organizing the event,“ Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sass told the outlet.

In a statement to NBC, Bristol Public Schools superintendent Susan Kalt Moreau said despite the cancellation “there was an outpouring of support for bringing a speaker in to support our curriculum which includes religions of the world”.

Ms Moreau added that she hoped to bring together a panel discussion featuring representatives of different faiths.

The chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Connecticut branch said in a statement that he had a “positive discussion” with Ms Moreau but chastised Bristol Public Schools having “seemingly bow[ed] to public pressure in this manner”.

“Cancelling speakers outright emboldens individuals and organisations in Bristol who are Islamophobic and Anti-Semitic,” Farhan Menon said. “It does a disservice to Bristol’s students and to the community as a whole who need to learn about America’s pluralism and diversity.”

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