8-year-old boy questioned in UK over ‘Islamic State t-shirt’

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LONDON: An eight-year-old boy in the United Kingdom was questioned by authorities after teachers mistook his t-shirt for “Islamic State propaganda”. The unnamed boy wore a t-shirt with the words “I want to be like Abu Bakr al-Siddique”. Worried staff at the East London school mistook al-Siddique – a key early Muslim leader in the first years after the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) – for Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The pupil was referred to social services under the government’s anti-terror ‘Prevent’ strategy, where teachers report suspicious activity suggesting radicalisation. It is reported the youngster is so traumatised by his encounter with social services that he is reluctant to go back to school. The mother of the eight-year-old said social services had marked down the incident as a ‘caution’ against her son – despite there being no evidence he had been radicalised. Yasmine Ahmed, director of Rights Watch UK, said: “It is time for the government to acknowledge that the Prevent strategy is infringing the human rights of children across the UK.” She further added, “It is completely unacceptable that the government is collecting, retaining and potentially sharing information on children in the United Kingdom without their consent and with no apparent regulation and oversight, particularly in instances where these children are not even accused or suspected of engaging in unlawful activity. The incident was one of several highlighted in a report by human rights charity, Rights Watch UK, as evidence of Muslim pupils being made to feel unwelcome at school due to the Prevent strategy.–AFP

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