Group tells parents that attending meeting in support of proposed Islamic Free School is ‘more serious than death’

12 April, 2013

A private school with connections to a proposed Muslim Free School in Halifax has written to parents warning them that attending an upcoming consultation meeting is ‘more serious than death.’ The British Humanist Association (BHA) has questioned the appropriateness of the group being involved in running a school.

The Sunniyy School is a private school in Halifax that is run by a group with connections to the Northern Lights Primary Free School, a Free School proposal backed by the Government to open from September. Sunniyy School sent a letter to homes in support of Northern Lights Primary Free School, that read: ‘If it was said to us “If you do not attend this meeting your child will die” I am certain we would all make sure that we attend the meeting. What I am about to address (in Islam) is even more serious than death and that is for us and our children to be safe on the Day of Judgement. There have been several incidents recently where children in various settings have been forced to do things against Islam.’

Following on from the letter, the town’s MP, Linda Riordan, has said that she will ask Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to launch an enquiry.

BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘It doesn’t seem to us that this is an appropriate thing for a group involved in a proposed Free School to be saying. Parents should not be threatened into supporting a proposed “faith” school by being told that their religion says that to do otherwise would be worse than death. We would question whether the Sunniyy School should be involved in running the Northern Lights School (or indeed whether it is providing an adequate education in its own school).

‘At any rate, we don’t think that the state should fund religious schools because we think it’s better that children grow up knowing those from different backgrounds, educated in an environment that is inclusive of all, regardless of religion or belief.’


For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7324 3072.

Read the recent Yorkshire Post article, ‘MP demands action over shocking contents of Islamic letter on Halifax schooling’:

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools:

View the BHA’s table of types of school with a religious character:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.