A Roman Catholic Primary School in Blackburn looks set to be taken over by a local mosque following a dramatic rise in the number of Muslim pupils.
Ten years ago more than 90 per cent of the children at Sacred Heart RC Primary School were Roman Catholics, but now this figure has plummeted to just three per cent.
Around 95 per cent of the school’s pupils are of Asian origin, and many of them are Muslims.
The Diocese of Salford has told the local council that it no longer believes it is “appropriate” for the school, which has 200 pupils, to be Roman Catholic.
Geraldine Bradbury, director of education at the Diocese of Salford, defended the decision, saying: “We have never experienced a change to this extent before. We want to make sure the educational needs of the community are met.
“We would not be serving the local community by insisting that we run the school.”
A number of organisations, including the Masjid-e-Tauheedul Islam mosque, have expressed an interest in running the school.
The mosque, which is reported to be the favoured candidate, already runs a voluntary-aided Islamic girls’ secondary school in Blackburn.
Hamid Patel, head and chief executive of Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School, said: “Given that almost all of the pupils are Muslim, it makes sense.
“If the community and the school want us to be involved, then yes, we are interested.”
The Church of England is among those interested in taking over the primary school.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Britain’s biggest supermarkets are selling Islamic halal meat, without marking it as so on the packaging.
Halal meat is prepared according to Sharia law by cutting an animal’s throat while a Muslim butcher recites a religious verse.
A Mail on Sunday investigation found Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield, the Co-op, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer all stock halal meat.
Jim Paice, Government Minister for Agriculture and Food, said: “People should know what they’re buying in the shops or when they’re eating out and I will be discussing with the food industry the role labelling can play in giving consumers a choice.”