A video purportedly showing non-Muslim students in an Australian school being taught how to pray in a mosque is viral on social media with users alleging that the ‘furious parents’ are accusing the school of brainwashing and ‘Islamizing’ their children in the name of pleasing a migrant community.
Twitter handle @MeghUpdates tweeted the video with the same claim. (Archive)
Australia: Parents go furious as a video of children in Australia being taught how to pray in a mosque goes viral.
Furious parents accuse the school of brainwashing and Islamizing their children in the name of pleasing a migrant community. pic.twitter.com/VuNZUZsort
— Megh Updates 🚨™ (@MeghUpdates) March 9, 2023
Supreme Court lawyer and political commentator Shashank Shekhar Jha also tweeted the video and claimed that Australian students were forced to ‘do Namaz’ without permission from their parents. (Archive)
Australia: Schools going students are made to do Namaz without permission from their parents.
CC: @Australia @AlboMP
— Shashank Shekhar Jha (@shashank_ssj) March 9, 2023
Twitter Blue subscriber Minni Razdan tweeted the video and claimed that one of the students’ parents asked, “Would Muslim parents want their children to visit a Church and pray to Christ?”. (Archive)
Meanwhile in Australia ….👇
Parents are upset that the schools are brainwashing and Izlamizing their children
“Would muzlim parents want their children to visit a Church and pray to Christ?”, asked one parent.
Not just in US, this is happening all over the… https://t.co/HxMFTCWhnC pic.twitter.com/BN8M6xmfdi
— Minni Razdan (@mini_razdan10) March 9, 2023
Journalist Rakesh Krishnan Simha also tweeted the video with the same claim and said the school was ‘infected by secularism’. (Archive)
Infected by secularism, a school in Australia held a session on how to pray in a mosque. Parents accused the school of brainwashing and Islamizing their children. “Would Muslim parents want their children to visit a church and pray to Christ?” asked one parent. pic.twitter.com/HFnDxn753x
— Rakesh Krishnan Simha (@ByRakeshSimha) March 9, 2023
Twitter user @Klaus_Arminius also tweeted the video with the same claim. Their tweet garnered almost 2300 likes and over 600 retweets. (Archive)
Video of children in Australia being taught how to pray in a mosque is going viral
Furiously parents accuse the school of brainwashing and Islamizing their children
“Would muslim parents want thier children to visit a Church and pray to Christ?”, asked one parent pic.twitter.com/TGPfQ9yTTx
— Klaus Arminius (@Klaus_Arminius) March 8, 2023
The video is also viral on Facebook with the same claim.
We noticed several users pointing out that the clip was actually from a Special Broadcasting Service series called ‘The Swap’. The show is about 12 students and their families from different religious backgrounds who participate in an experiment where they explore each other’s cultures. We also noticed a logo of SBS at the end of the viral video.
Taking a cue from this, we performed a keyword search on Google. Only one episode of the series has been released so far. According to its synopsis, six students from Australia’s largest Islamic school swap places with six students from Catholic colleges and a secular state high school to bridge cross-cultural divides. In the first episode of the series, Ali Kadri, the CEO of the Islamic College of Brisbane (ICB), tries to break down the insularity between different communities, and help his students prepare for the wider world. Kadri can be seen giving a byte in the viral video wherein he says that his students have to learn how not to be rude or abrupt while trying to educate others in their respective values.
According to an article about the show published on SBS’ official website, the three-part documentary series follows what happens when 12 students and families from very different cultures, religions and backgrounds are thrown into each other’s worlds. The article describes Kadri as the ‘architect’ behind the show. “Taking part are six Muslim families, four Catholic families and two atheist families. Over one school term, Kadri accompanies the students on an emotional rollercoaster as they experience the anxiety, excitement and wonder of spending time at each other’s schools and with each other’s families and communities”.
It is evident that the families of the students were as involved in the experiment as the students themselves.
The viral video was shared on the official Facebook page of SBS Australia, on March 3, 2023. The caption reads, “Sometimes in trying to educate others about our values, we may come across as rude or abrupt… that is something which (the students) have to learn how not to do. The students get a deeper insight into cultural values as some of them attend prayer for the first time. The Swap | Premieres on Wednesday 8 March at 8.30pm SBS and SBS On Demand”.
“Sometimes in trying to educate others about our values, we may come across as rude or abrupt… that is something which (the students) have to learn how not to do.” The students get a deeper insight into cultural values as some of them attend prayer for the first time.
The Swap | Premieres on Wednesday 8 March at 8.30pm SBS and SBS On Demand
Posted by SBS Australia on Sunday, 5 March 2023
Ali Kadri’s statement
Alt News reached out to Ali Kadri for a comment. Kadri rubbished the claims that parents were outraged. He said, “The parents on all sides were aware of the premise of the show and were supportive of all actions by the students. There is NO outrage or disagreement shown by any parent”.
Talking about the show, Kadri added, “The purpose behind the experiment was to build bridges by confronting stereotypes on all sides. Most of our students are Muslims and are born in Australia. By studying at the Islamic college they have limited exposure to people of different religions and cultures. Conversely, there are stereotypes and racist opinions about Islam and Muslims held by non-Muslims. Through this experiment, our aim was to let young students of different faiths and values to get to know each other and build common understanding of each others differences and similarities”.
“During the swap, 6 Non-Muslim students went to the Islamic College of Brisbane and 6 students of ICB went to a Catholic and a secular State school. This involved students partaking in each other’s prayer sessions. Non-Muslim students attended the prayer session and Muslim students including myself went to a Catholic mass. There are no religious observance at the state school”, he further said.
“The critics have taken a snippet of a show to perpetuate a stereotype and bias to further alienate and demonize the Muslim community”, he added.
Hence, a clip showing non-Muslim students attending an Islamic prayer session as a part of a documentary TV series ‘The Swap’ has been shared with the misleading claim that a school was making non-Muslim students offer Namaz and furious parents were accusing the school of brainwashing and Islamizing their children.
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