CAIRO – A spelling mistake has forced a 10-year-old Muslim student to face police questioning after teachers reported his to authorities after he mistakenly wrote about ‘terrorist house’ instead of ‘terraced house’ in class, The Guardian reported on Wednesday, January 20.
“You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child,” a cousin of the boy, who has not been named to protect his identity, told the BBC.
“If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling.”
The boy, who lives in Accrington in Lancashire, wrote in his primary school English class that he lived in a “terrorist house” instead of a “terraced house”.
The headmaster reported the kid to the police, in accordance with the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, which states that teachers are obliged to alert the authorities to any suspected terrorist behavior.
As a result of the report, the boy was questioned by police on December 7. Authorities also examined a laptop found at his family home.
The family now demands an apology from police and the school.
“They shouldn’t be putting a child through this,” the cousin said.
“He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination.”
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”.
While the school refused to comment on the issue, which is currently under investigation, Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest umbrella group for Islamic associations, said similar cases take place all over 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.