The schoolgirl at the centre of a prayer row at one of Britain’s best-known state schools was once suspended for threatening to stab a fellow pupil, it has emerged.
The Muslim student and her mother have lodged a legal challenge against Michaela Community School in Wembley, northwest London, claiming that a policy banning prayer rituals is discriminatory and breaches her human rights.
The school says allowing prayers risks “undermining inclusion and social cohesion between pupils”. There are around 700 pupils, about half of whom are Muslim.
Katharine Birbalsingh banned prayer rituals of all religions but the school has been accused of Islamophobia
The policy was introduced by the school’s high-profile head teacher, Katharine Birbalsingh, a former government social mobility tsar, after a pupil began using her blazer as a prayer mat to pray in the school playground during lunch break