Legal action from teacher sacked for challenging racism

A teacher who claims he was sacked for challenging his pupils’ racist and antisemitic views is due to have his case heard at an employment tribunal next week.

Nicholas Kafouris, a Christian, said some pupils at the predominantly Muslim Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets, east London, had made antisemitic remarks and praised Islamic extremists during classes.

Greek-born Mr Kafouris said remarks were regularly made in late 2006 and that pupils as young as nine had glorified the September 11 suicide bombers.

He said: “A few children were saying ‘we hate the Jews, they are our enemies’. I asked one boy why he said that and he said ‘they are killing Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq’. I told him there was no Jewish army in those countries.

“The worst thing was doing a lesson about Jonah and the whale. The same boy asked if Jonah was Jewish and I said he was. He said he hated Jonah and again I told him not to say that. Two days later, I got a letter accusing me of misconduct.

“We live on a small planet and we have to live with each other in peace. The school needed to address the issue.”

Tower Hamlets Council said the school had followed correct procedures. The tribunal begins on Monday.

Last updated: 6:32pm, February 4 2010