Teacher Reverend Robert West (pictured), who is a member of the British National Party (BNP), is going before the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel in Coventry, from 9.30am, on Monday, until Friday.
The allegations concern teaching at Walton Girls High School and Sixth Form in Harlaxton Road Grantham on the topic of the Crusades.
Reverend West is alleged to have made critical comments about Islam during his teaching which showed "intolerance for the faith and beliefs of others" and "lack of respect for the faith and beliefs of others". An earlier charge based on his membership of the British National Party was withdrawn after the Panel ruled that "an affiliation to any legal political party was not in itself a matter that could be regarded as unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute." References to alleged 'racism' were also dropped.
Reverend West (a long-time Solidarity member) is being represented by the general secretary of our Union, Patrick Harrington. He commented:
"Islam is in the news at present for all the wrong reasons. I believe that comments made by Reverend West have been taken out of context and misinterpreted. The fact that he faces a life-time ban from his profession if the charges are proved is completely disproportionate. This case raises many important questions about how we deal with discussion of controversial topics in my view."
"Our Union will fight for the rights of anyone who faces problems associated with their belief or political or religious affiliations. On Monday the procedures are used against a BNP member but next week it could be a Muslim or Socialist. Liberty has to be defended for all. I know that the diverse membership of our Union will understand that."
"I would also like to make a plea for this case to be heard in a peaceful environment without rival demonstrations where we can all just focus on the facts and reach a better understanding. Reverend West deserves a fair hearing and witnesses called by both sides should not feel intimidated or threatened.