A Christian teacher told today how he lost his job after complaining that Muslim pupils as young as eight hailed the September 11 hijackers as 'heroes'.
Nicholas Kafouris said he was forced from his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the 'racist' and 'anti-Semitic' behaviour of children.
He said the predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class, and hailed the terrorists of the 2001 atrocities as 'martyrs'.
Mr Kafouris, 40, told how one pupil said to him, ‘Don’t touch me, you’re a Christian’, when the teacher accidentally brushed against him with his arm.
Others said, ‘We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up', and 'the Christians and Jews are our enemies, you too because you're a Christian', he added.
Mr Kafouris, who had taught at Bigland Green Primary School, in Tower Hamlets, East London, for 12 years, said there was a change in attitude of pupils at the school - where the majority of pupils are Muslim - after the World Trade Center attacks.
According to the most recent Ofsted report 'almost all' the 465 pupils at the school are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not have English as their first language.
Mr Kafouris, a Greek Cypriot, said pupils told him, 'We hate the Christians' and, 'We hate the Jews', despite his attempts to stop them.
The teacher is now suing his former school, the headteacher, and the assistant head for racial discrimination after they failed to take action about the comments made by pupils to him.
He had filled out a 'Racist Incident Reporting Sheet' but claimed the headteacher Jill Hankey dismissed his concerns.
In a statement submitted to the Central London Employment Tribunal he said: 'Miss Hankey proceeded to excuse and justify the pupil's behaviour, conduct and remarks to me as if I had no right to be offended by the child's remarks and conduct.
Amongst Miss Hankey's justifications for the child's remarks, she said: 'If the child was older, say 15, I might take it more seriously, he's only nine, he's only doing it to wind you up.'
He added: 'I felt the head's behaviour and conduct towards me amounted to direct religious discrimination against me which I considered most offensive.
‘I was intimidated in the way she spoke to me which indicated, “Don't come back with such issues again”.'
Mr Kafouris said the comments became more frequent after nothing was done by Miss Hankey after the initial incidents.
He said: 'In late November and December 2006 a number of unacceptable and blunt racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian remarks were being made by various children in Year 4 where I taught, such as, 'We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up”,
“The twin tower bombers are heroes and martyrs”, “We hate the Jews”, “We hate the Christians”, “The Christians and Jews are our enemies, you too because you're a Christian” - directed to me personally.
'Some children were expressing delight at the death and killing of people of other cultures and religions: In the last week of November 2006 a child was talking about stabbing another child and I told him this was dangerous talk and that a lawyer had recently been stabbed by teenagers; his reply was:, “I'm glad that man died”, 'Why?' I asked. “Because he's a Christian and English and we're Muslim”.'
During a religious education lesson about Jonah and the whale, he claims one of the pupils asked if Jonah was a Jew, before shouting: 'I hate the Jews, they're our enemies.'
He said: 'The head's response was hostile and offensive again. The very first thing she said to me was: “Oh you again! You're the only teacher that reports these things! Nobody else does!”.