A spelling mistake has landed a 10-year-old Muslim boy in the UK in trouble. The boy, whose has not been identified, was questioned by the police in north west England for mistakenly writing that he lives in a “terrorist house” instead of “terraced house” during an English lesson in school.
It emerged that was a spelling error as he meant to write terraced house, in reference to an architectural style in England of rows of identical homes with shared side walls. The boy was interviewed by Lancashire Police at his home in Accrington, Lancashire, the following day and the family laptop was examined.
“This was reported to the police but was dealt with by a joint visit by a PC from the division and social services, not by anyone from Prevent. There were not thought to be any areas for concern and no further action was required by any agency,” a Lancashire Police statement said.
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The UK government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent strategy and the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act places a statutory duty on schools and colleges to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Teachers have been legally obliged to report any suspected extremist behaviour to police since July.
The boy’s family have said that they were left shocked by the incident, which took place on December 7, and want both the school and police to apologise, BBC reported. “You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child. If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling. They shouldn’t be putting a child through this. He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination,” the boy’s cousin has said.
Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest umbrella group for Islamic associations, said he was aware of dozens of similar cases taking place in schools around the country. “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.