BEDFORDSHIRE – A Nursery school tried to refer a four-year-old Muslim boy to an anti-terror program after daycare staff suspected a drawing he made for a man holding a knife as a ‘cooker bomb’ rather than cutting cucumber.
“My son does not say ‘cucumber’, he says ‘cu-cum-bom’,” the boy’s mother told BBC’s Asian network.
The case dates back to last January when the mother was asked during a meeting with the staff of the daycare center in Bedfordshire to sign a referral form for Channel, an anti-terror initiative.
The request followed concerns by the boy’s teachers who misunderstood a drawing for the boy’s dad cutting cucumbers, as he was not able to pronounce the word clearly.
“I knew that picture straight away because he had brought it home and told me it was his dad cutting cucumbers,” the mother told Luton on Sunday.
“The manager said, ‘oh well to us he said it’s a cooker bomb’, and I said, ‘where did that come from?'”
She added: “Afterwards I went home and spoke to my husband and he straight away got it.
“He said, ‘obviously they’ve got it wrong because when he wants to say cucumber he says cooker bomb’.
The mother said she tried to explain this to staff at another meeting and was told they would ‘make a note of it’.
Later, the staff reported him to a panel of police and social services. The panel decided that there was no need to take further action.
Prevent, part of the government’s overall counter-terrorism strategy, Contest, is meant to help police and security agencies identify individuals and groups at risk of radicalization.
Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims have taken full brunt of anti-terror laws since the 7/7 attacks in 2005.
They have repeatedly complained of maltreatment by police for no apparent reason other than being Muslim.
In January 2015, a counter-terrorism measure proposed by the government forced nursery school staff and registered childminders to report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists.
The directive is contained in a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in a bid to bolster its Prevent anti-terrorism plan.
Critics said the idea was “unworkable” and “heavy-handed”, and accused the Government of treating teachers and carers as “spies”.