A CRANBOURNE primary school raised eyebrows during an assembly last week when its Islamic students were given the choice of leaving the room to avoid singing the Australian National Anthem.
But despite concern from parents, the principal of Cranbourne Carlisle Primary has strongly defended the school’s decision to allow its Islamic students to leave the Year 2-6 assembly, citing a religious month of mourning.
Lorraine McCurdy, whose grandchildren go to Cranbourne Carlisle Primary, contacted Star News after attending the school’s assembly last week and being concerned by the staff’s decision to give Islamic students the option to not sing the national anthem.
Ms McCurdy said she attended the assembly every week and had never seen this before.
“We were first welcomed to the assembly by two Grade 2 students, then as we were about to stand up for the national anthem, a teacher stepped in front of the school and asked that any student for whom this was against their culture to leave the hall and join a teacher waiting for them outside the hall,” she said.
“About 30-40 children left, all of Middle Eastern appearance.
“When we had finished singing the National Anthem, they all reappeared into the hall and sat with their classmates.
“A lot of the parents at the assembly were saddened as this was the Australian national anthem and not to do with any religion.”
But Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School Principal Cheryl Irving stood by the decision, telling Star News on Tuesday it was made in adherence with Muharram – the Islamic month of mourning associated with Shi’a Muslims in which they do not participate in “joyful events”.
“Muharram is a cultural observation marking the death of Imam Hussein,” Ms Irving said.
“This year it falls between Tuesday 13 October and Thursday 12 November. During this time Shi’a do not participate in joyful events as it is a period of mourning. This includes listening to music, attending parties, wearing nail polish or make up, etc.
“Prior to last week’s Years 2-6 Assembly commencing, an announcement was made advising anyone participating in Muharram, that it was an opportune time to leave the hall as music was about to be played (the National Anthem).
“Anyone who was unable to listen to music due to this cultural observance was given adequate time to comply with their religious belief.”
Ms Irving said the school demonstrated “great tolerance and understanding of the heritage and cultures of others”.

  • Apples

    This is very disturbing indeed. The National Anthem is sung as a mark of respect and belonging.
    In any country in which I have lived and taught, the National Anthem has been sung by all students AND teachers. In two International Schools in which I taught, both in strict Muslim countries, all students attended all assemblies and sang the National Anthem of that country, regardless of religious festivals and observances. I’m afraid the Cranbourne school in this instance, has made a very poor decision. It has drawn attention to religion in a secular environment. The parents should attend the next School Council meeting to strongly voice their objections so that this religious nonsense is never repeated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Barbara Cotter

    To Muslims who don’t like participating and respecting our National Anthem, my advice to you all is board the next plane and go back to your own Country and practice your own dam culture if you can’t obey the school policies, This goes to show they will not and cannot assimilate to our Australian Culture, or else get the Saudi’s to fund your own schools instead of enrolling in our schools, Australia, we can put a stop to this madness if only every voter joins the
    Australian Liberty Alliance Party and ditch our two Party system which is one of the same
    This may be the only option we have to take back Australia by stopping Muslim Migration and all their laws they try to enforce on us.There is no other choice

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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  • Sharon

    Why couldn’t the children recite the National Anthem during the “month of mourning”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Derek binsted

    It,s when we carry on like this that makes me want to puke. I don,t blame the kids, I don,t blame their parents Muslim or other wise I firstly blame our stupid polies & secondly I blame many within our education system.

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