New Zealand: Muslim parents concerned over ‘Pride Week’ in schools

Scheduled to be held from June 12 to 16, the event has already sparked controversy

New Zealand Muslim parents have raised concerns about schools participating in ‘Pride Weeks’, an annual celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Scheduled to be held from June 12 to 16, the event has already sparked controversy.

In a letter addressed to New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Syed Mujeeb, a concerned Muslim and Siasat correspondent, wrote, ‘We [Muslim] deeply appreciate the inclusive and respectful learning environment that our school provides. However, we have significant concerns regarding the upcoming Schools’ Pride Week Aotearoa’.

Mujeeb respectfully urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the appropriateness of this event for their children. He also requested alternative provisions to be made if the school decided to proceed with Pride Week.

MS Education Academy

Response from New Zealand Government

The Ministry of Education in New Zealand responded to Syed Mujeeb’s letter. The ministry highlighted, ‘Evidence shows that Rainbow young people experience significantly higher rates of bullying than many other learners, and the majority of these learners say they do not feel they belong or are supported at school. For schools that choose to participate, initiatives like Schools’ Pride Week can help all learners understand and be more accepting of those around them.’

The letter also mentioned, ‘As you may know, schools and kura are self-governing through their board and have the flexibility to design their own local curriculum, under the guidance of the national curriculum. This means that it is up to individual schools to make decisions about teaching and learning programmes that meet the needs of their students, including any events they choose to participate in and whether they participate in Schools’ Pride Week. Any activities a participating school plans are also up to the school to organise and run in the way they feel best suits their learners and community.’

Meanwhile, the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) advised parents and caregivers to directly communicate their concerns to the school principals.

What is Pride Month?

LGBT Pride Month is an annual commemoration and celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride. It originated from the historic Stonewall riots that occurred on June 28, 1969, in New York City.

Pride Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights and equality. Today, pride events are held worldwide to honor the Stonewall riots and promote inclusivity and acceptance.

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