Glowing verdict on teacher in Charlie Hebdo storm by Muslim neighbour

The teacher at the centre of the Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy was yesterday praised by his Muslim next-door neighbour for always showing ‘great respect’ towards Islam.

Described as a rugby-loving, ‘burly Yorkshire lad’, the religious education teacher received death threats after showing images of the prophet – which first appeared in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – to Year 9 pupils at Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire.

He is now in hiding with his wife and young children.

But married father-of-three Jamal Al-Terk, who has lived next door to the teacher for eight years, said: ‘He is not Islamophobic at all. This has to be a misunderstanding. I doubt he has shown these pictures deliberately to offend.

Scores of parents protested outside Batley Grammar School last week

Scores of parents protested outside Batley Grammar School last week

‘He and his family, agen Sbobet terpercaya they knock on our door and give us Eid cards when it’s Eid.

His children have also drawn pictures of a beautiful mosque with lights around it and given them to my kids.

‘They also gave us halal sweets for Eid, and we have exchanged food during Ramadan. His children play with my children.’

The airport worker, who moved to Britain with his family to escape the civil war in Syria, added: ‘You can ask any Muslims in the local community, he is a really nice person. He would never offend Muslims deliberately.

This is why I think it’s a misunderstanding.

‘I hope things calm down and people realise he is a nice person.’

Mr Al-Terk, 42, said the teacher and his family fled their home three days ago and he has not been able to contact him.

The furore erupted when scores of angry Muslim parents protested outside the school last week and called for the teacher to be sacked.

Angry Muslim parents have called for the teacher to be sacked

Angry Muslim parents have called for the teacher to be sacked

It was later announced that he had been suspended and headteacher Gary Kibble issued an ‘unequivocal’ apology, adding: ‘It is important for children to learn about faiths and beliefs, but this must be done in a respectful, sensitive way.’

The demonstrations triggered a national outcry, with Ministers and celebrities among those condemning the protesters.

A petition demanding that the teacher is allowed to stay in his job has been signed by more than 48,000 people. But the threats to the teacher’s life continued throughout the week, particularly after his name was leaked on social media.

Hours after Mr Al-Terk spoke to The Mail on Sunday, neighbours spotted three Asian youths going to the teacher’s house and knocking on the door several times.

They peered through his window and left after about ten minutes.

A local pensioner, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘It was dark, but the area is well lit with street lighting and I had a clear view from my window.

‘One was on a bike and two were walking.

One was wearing a hoodie. I watched them until they left. They knocked on the door a few times and they also tried the handle a couple of times.’

The teacher has suspended and headteacher Gary Kibble issued an ¿unequivocal¿ apology

The teacher has suspended and headteacher Gary Kibble issued an ‘unequivocal’ apology 

There were frequent police patrols in the area yesterday.

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that the teacher ‘defended his right to freedom of speech’ during a heated conversation with the father of a Muslim pupil.

He phoned back after the angry parent left a message for him at the school.

Last October, a French teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded outside his school near Paris after showing the same images to his pupils.

In January 2015, Islamic terrorists killed 12 people and injured 11 at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris after the magazine published the cartoons.

‘Gumtree gang’ runs riot: Police warn customers after violent attacks

Police have issued a warning for prospective Gumtree customers to be careful who they do dealings with, after a series of violent encounters left buyers black and bruised.

Three men who responded to an advertisement on the website for the sale of a mobile phone had arranged to meet the sellers at about 8:40pm on Saturday.

But when they arrived at the prearranged location in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, the men were met by four males who accepted their money and suddenly turned hostile,  reports.

A series of assaults between Gumtree 'sellers' and buyers has prompted police to issue a warning to users of the site

A series of assaults between Gumtree ‘sellers’ and buyers has prompted police to issue a warning to users of the site

One incident took place in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, where three male buyers were met by four men who allegedly took their money and beat them with sticks

One incident took place in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, where three male buyers were met by four men who allegedly took their money and beat them with sticks

The pseudo sellers allegedly assaulted the buyers, beating them with large sticks and threatening one of them with a knife in demand of more money, which they received.

The victims fled to a taxi and locked themselves inside while their assailants damaged the vehicle with their makeshift clubs, before eventually splitting the scene.

Another attack occurred just hours later in the nearby suburb of Cooper Plains, with three men assaulting and robbing a buyer who had gone to the meeting location alone

Another attack occurred just hours later in the nearby suburb of Cooper Plains, with three men assaulting and robbing a buyer who had gone to the meeting location alone

A similar incident occurred just hours later, police say, when a man attended a rendezvous in the nearby suburb of Cooper Plains at about 10pm – also under the pretext of purchasing a mobile phone.

Upon meeting the two male sellers and conversing with them face-to-face, the buyer allegedly asked to see some identification and a receipt for the phone.

He was subsequently set on by the two men, along with a third attacker, who punched him in the face and assaulted him with a stick.

The gang of thieves also allegedly robbed the victim of his personal property before fleeing.

Police say they believe the two incidents are linked and investigations are continuing. 

All four victims received cuts and bruising to different parts of their bodies.

Police say they believe the two incidents are linked, and investigations into the Gumtree gang are continuing 

Police say they believe the two incidents are linked, and investigations into the Gumtree gang are continuing