Council withdraws coursework describing Palestinians as “terrorists” after outcry


Representatives from Palestinian community in Scotland are demanding a full investigation into the coursework

A SCOTTISH council is withdrawing a controversial piece of coursework from schools that describes Palestinians as ‘terrorists’ after receiving complaints.

North Lanarkshire council had been inundated with complaints after a pupil’s sister posted a picture of the assignment on Facebook (click here to read more).

The paper is titled “Case Study: Separatists” and states that “Palestinians feel they have the RIGHT to use terrorism against Israelis”.

The homework material asked pupils to give two reasons for this and to “describe two examples of Palestinian terrorist activities”.

In the accompanying information alongside the homework, pupils were informed that “Palestinians have turned to terrorist methods for over 30 years”.

But following complaints and calls for immediate withdrawal of the coursework, a spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council’s learning and leisure services has confirmed the materials will no longer be used.

He said: “The homework material used was taken from a teaching pack which is now obsolete. We are contacting all schools to ensure this particular material is no longer used.

“The description of Palestinian people is entirely inappropriate and apologise unreservedly for the offence caused.

“The topic is explored by pupils as part of the social studies programme: ‘People, past events and societies’ and this includes conflict situations around the world. This topic aims to gives pupils a greater understanding of the nature of different conflicts and their regional, global and historical significance and does not pass any judgement on the subject.”

However, a representative for the Palestinian community in Scotland said the move was not enough.

Issam Hijawi, chair of the Association of Palestinians Communities in Scotland (APCS) told CommonSpace that the organisation wants the opportunity to rectify the misinformation that has already been put out.

“Withdrawing the materials is not enough. We are demanding a full investigation over who actually produced the materials and decided they should be circulatd,” Hijawi said.

“North Lanarkshire council should tell us which schools have been involved in the teaching of this offensive and inaccurate material .

“The damage has been done and as members of the Palestinian community in Scotland we want access to every classroom that has taught this so we can rectify this misinformation.”

The offensive coursework came to light after Aliyah Shafiq posted a copy of it on Facebook and wrote: “How is my little sister being made to answer questions like this for her homework? This is completely unacceptable and has to be complained about to North Lanarkshire Council.”

The original image has been shared thousands of times on social media.