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Boy banned from X-mas party

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 15:05 IST
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A seven-year old mentally challenged boy in London was banned from attending his school's Christmas party after his parents did not allow him to take part in the school's Diwali celebrations.

The trouble erupted when St Anne's Infant School in Bristol, which does not have a single Hindu student, decided to hold a Diwali day last month marking the Hindu festival as part of its religious education curriculum. The event involved children being taught about the Hindu faith in the assembly, singing religious songs and making candleholders.

Parents of Liam Walker, who is brain-damaged and confined to a wheelchair, did not allow him to participate as they believed the Hindu religion's karma theory suggested Liam was being punished for previous sins, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

"From my understanding, Hinduism says that my son is to blame for the condition he was born with because of some evil he did in another life, but that is an insult to his dignity," Liam's mother said.

"We are a Christian family and although I want my children to respect other people and their faiths, it is not right to push deeply offensive beliefs on people," she added.

In retaliation the school authorities banned Liam from attending any Christian events, including the school Christmas party where 200 youngsters exchanged gifts.

The school principal said the school had a duty to teach pupils about different religions, adding: "In a multicultural school this means embracing a range of celebrations and festivals which we strongly believe are enriching for all concerned."

Liam's parents meanwhile have lodged a complained about the incident to the Bristol City Council.

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