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Fury over UK text book asking children to ask questions to terrorists

The book, Talking About Terrorism, a teaching aid, was published weeks before the Manchester attack in which 22 people – including teenagers – were killed..

world Updated: May 29, 2017 15:36 IST
The book tells primary age children that terrorists kill people because they believe they are being treated unfairly and not shown respect.
The book tells primary age children that terrorists kill people because they believe they are being treated unfairly and not shown respect.(Shutterstock phot)

As experts suggest ways to speak to children about terrorism in the wake of the Manchester attack, a textbook asking primary school children to ask six questions in a letter to terrorists to understand their motives has been slammed by critics.

The book, Talking About Terrorism, a teaching aid, was published weeks before the Manchester attack in which 22 people – including teenagers – were killed. It describes the indiscriminate mass murder of innocent members of the public as a “type of war”.

The revelation came as the Theresa may government reduced the threat level from international terrorism from ‘critical’ to ‘severe’ after another meeting of the official emergency committee on Saturday.

The ‘Daily Express’ reported on Sunday that the book tells primary school children that terrorists kill people because they believe they are being treated “unfairly and not shown respect”, and cited the example of Nelson Mandela and Suffragettes (fighting for women’s rights at the turn of the last century) as an example.

“The Suffragettes used violence and were called terrorists…Today many people think of them as brave women and admire their struggle for the right to vote,” the book containing a foreword by the chief executive of a major children’s charity reportedly states.

In an activity recommended for pupils aged seven to 11, teachers are urged to “invite children to write a letter to a terrorist. If they could ask a terrorist six questions, what would they be?”

Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said the letter task would confuse and potentially upset pupils: “This a crackpot idea based on the misguided notion that primary school children must engage with, and show “respect” for, religious fanatics who are seeking to kill them”.

“The primary school classroom is not the place to humanise terrorism by ‘pretend dialogue’.”