The National - News

Apology demand after reaction to boy’s ‘terrorist’ slip

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LONDON // The family of a 10-year-old Muslim boy has demanded an apology after he was questioned by British police for mistakenly writing that he lived in a “terrorist” house instead of a “terraced” house during an English class.

Police interviewe­d the boy at his home in Lancashire, northwest England, on December 7 and examined the family computer following his error, according to the BBC.

Since July, teachers have been legally obliged to report suspicious behaviour by pupils.

“You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child,” the boy’s cousin said.

“If the teacher had any con- cerns, it should have been about his spelling. He’s now scared of writing, using his imaginatio­n.”

“Terrace” is a British term for a house that shares its side walls with others.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Britain’s largest umbrella group for Islamic associatio­ns, blamed the government’s Prevent programme, aimed at countering radicalisa­tion. “There are huge concerns that individual­s going about their daily life are being seen through the lens of security and are being seen as potential terrorists rather than students,” he said.

“This is a natural consequenc­e of the extension of the Prevent Duty to schools.”

Lancashire police said the issue was dealt with “by a joint visit by a police constable from the division and social services” and that no one from the Prevent counter-extremism scheme was involved.

“There were not thought to be any areas for concern and no further action was required by any agency,” they said.

Police interviewe­d the boy at his home in Lancashire

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