Imam who protested Charlie Hebdo cartoons spreads anti-vax propaganda

Imam who protested over Charlie Hebdo cartoons outside grammar school spreads anti-vax propaganda – and condemns Strictly Come Dancing

  • Mohammed Amin Pandor was among protesters at  Batley Grammar School
  •  The 62-year-old belongs to the ultra-conservative Deobandi branch of Islam
  • He has opposed gay marriages and has even condemned Strictly Come Dancing

A Muslim preacher who told protesters outside Batley Grammar School of his ‘disgust’ over the Prophet Mohammed cartoon controversy has spread anti-vaccine propaganda and shared a vile smear against the UK’s Chief Rabbi, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Mohammed Amin Pandor, who announced the suspension of a teacher to protesters outside the Yorkshire school last week, has opposed gay marriages and even condemned Strictly Come Dancing.

The 62-year-old, who belongs to the ultra-conservative Deobandi branch of Islam, has courted controversy for a number of years and recently shared a fatwa, or ruling, on Facebook and Twitter stating that ‘the uncertainty about the ingredients’ in Covid-19 vaccines meant they should not be promoted.

Mohammed Amin Pandor, has opposed gay marriages and condemned Strictly Come Dancing

The fatwa declared that God had given a ‘definite remedy for safety from every form of harm and disease’ and urged followers to recite a prayer three times.

In 2017, Mr Pandor went on social media to post a false story from a website linked to an Iranian disinformation campaign that accused Ephraim Mirvis, the UK’s Chief Rabbi, of saying it would be permissible to take sex slaves.

 He has also signed letters opposing gay marriage and comments by Mak Chishty, a Muslim former Metropolitan Police commander, who wrote a newspaper article headlined ‘We must reclaim Islam from extremists’.

The imam, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, has also used a religious slur when talking about Ahmadi Muslims, a persecuted Islamic sect in Pakistan. And speaking on BBC radio in 2016, he even told an interviewer that his religious beliefs meant Strictly Come Dancing was ‘not acceptable’.

Mr Pandor, a mechanical engineer by training and former Department of Health worker, last week told protesters outside the school: ‘What happened here, we are disgusted. What has happened is totally unacceptable and we have made sure they are aware. The teacher has been suspended. They can’t just sack him, they need to do their due process. We’ve asked for an investigation, an investigation to be independent. We are going to work with the school to make sure things like this don’t happen.’

Protesters have been outside Batley Grammar School over the Prophet Mohammed cartoon

Responding to questions from this newspaper, Mr Pandor wrote on Twitter yesterday of his ‘sincere apologies to the Rabbie [sic]’ for sharing the false slaves story.

He also tweeted that his view on Covid-19 vaccines was backed by a statement declaring ‘eligible at-risk individuals in Muslim communities’ should take the Pfizer vaccine.

RE Teacher ‘defended his right to freedom of speech’

The suspended teacher is reported to have ‘defended his right to freedom of speech’ in a heated telephone call with the father of a Muslim pupil.

He is also disclosed as saying ‘British values allowed him to present a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad to his class of year nine students as part of their course work’. 

He allegedly showed students a caricature widely reported as taken from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and telephoned the irate father after he had called the school and left a message to speak with him. 

Meanwhile, a school governor is backing calls for the teacher to be re-instated, and is said to feel that the teacher is being ‘unfairly blamed’.

Protestors gathered outside the school near Bradford, West Yorkshire, for a second day on Friday, with Headteacher Gary Kibble keeping 980 children at home.   

It follows Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick saying the protests were ‘not right’, adding that suggestions the teacher was in hiding are ‘very disturbing’. 

Robert Jenrick (pictured, file photo) said protests taking place outside the school were ‘not right’, adding that suggestions the teacher was in hiding are ‘very disturbing’

 The Muslim parent demanded to speak to the teacher after his year 9 son returned from school and reported the matter to him. 

When the teacher returned the call he told the father that he had warned his pupils that some would find it offensive, but his aim was to pose a question to his class.

He believed he was ‘right’ to show the cartoon which has offended Muslims across the world.

He wanted to discuss whether the cartoonist was to blame or the terrorists who had committed murder over it in France after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo had published it. 

The angry father said the teacher did not appear apologetic when told that showing the cartoon to his son was offensive and instead was ‘arrogant’. The teacher asked the father to voice his concerns to another staff member.

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