A Muslim student in Australia has been left traumatized after a teacher forced her to watch an offensive cartoon of Prophet Muhammad PBUH at school. The incident prompted the parents of students to send protests to the school.
The student’s father explained that his daughter left traumatized after a teacher played a video containing an “explicit and blasphemous” cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad during a media studies class at Mount Ridley College in North Melbourne, Australia on October 14.
The teacher, who is believed to have understood that the video was sensitive, warned at the start of the class that potentially “confronting” content would be displayed and notified students that they were free to leave the class if they wished but the teacher has completely ignored the discomfort that the Muslim student conveyed to the video and continued to play it. The student’s father urged the state government to investigate the latest provocations to Australia’s Muslim community.
A spokeswoman for Victoria’s education department said a review of the incident was ongoing. The department will decide on the best advice that should be given to schools regarding similar sensitive issues.
The spokesperson stressed that full support will be provided to the affected students.
The video shown is reportedly one of a series of examples used in class about “hybridized media” and its impact on social media, which is material that was not part of the required curriculum teaching in Victorian government schools.
According to a report by the Herald Sun, the offensive cartoon shown was the same cartoon that appeared on the front page of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015 sparked massive Muslim protests around the world at the time.
The student’s father wrote on his Facebook page that the incident had left his daughter and family with a painful psychological trauma. He demanded an official apology and demanded the school reprimand the teacher concerned.
The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) said members of the Muslim community in Melbourne were deeply disappointed by the incident.
The council also admitted to having held dialogues with the education department and the school, who promised not to use the materials anymore. The Council hopes that the materials taught in schools do not seriously offend members of different communities and take into account the multi-religious and multi-cultural diversity in Australia.
To date, the school has refused to comment publicly on the incident and has requested that any statements be made directly from the Department of Education.