The deputy leader of Slough Council has been targeted by Muslim protestors for offering refuge to the Batley Grammar School teacher at the centre of a blasphemy row.
The Religious Studies teacher was forced into police protection last month for alleged use of cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammad, sparking outrage from the local Muslim community.
Sabia Akram, a Labour councillor, whilst not condoning the educator’s “disrespectful” actions, offered her support to him in a now-deleted Facebook post, which was seized upon by Muslim extremists who as aiding and abetting a blasphemist.
“To the teacher, if you need to leave Batley which I wouldn’t blame you! Come to Slough. We’ll welcome you and your family,” she wrote before eventually deleting her Facebook page.
She revealed she was “shocked and saddened” to see the teacher be forced into hiding and urged protestors in Batley to condemn those threatening violence against him and his family.
The councillor also revealed she and her family have received death threats since the supportive post.
Around 50 protestors gathered outside her office on Friday with placards of Cllr Akram’s face crossed out and the caption: “No to Islamophobia. Sabia Akram, Shame On You.”
A petition was also launched which has received 1,300 signatures, describing the deputy council leader as “evil” and called on her to quit.
The petitioner said: “Anyone who disrespects our Prophet has no position in our lives,” adding “I don’t wish to see this evil person as my leader.”
Visual depictions of Muhammad are prohibited according to certain traditions of Islam despite there being no ruling against it in the Koran, but Islamic blasphemy laws have not yet been added to the UK statute books.
Cllr Akram apologised for “any hurt” she had caused the local Muslim community before deleting her social media pages, adding that she did not mean to cause “great offence” to anyone, nor undermine the Prophet Muhammad.