Educational authorities in the UK have voiced concern after it was revealed some parents are preventing their children from visiting mosques on school trips.
Staffordshire's Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) says the issue is a "serious matter" and has issued guidance to the area's schools. In a letter to teachers it underlined the need for student to be educated about other faiths and cultures.
It states: "While objections are raised about visits to a number of places of worship, they are most frequently about visits to mosques, which raises the bigger issue of Islamaphobia and how this can be addressed."
It adds: "Visits to sacred spaces bring the agreed syllabus to life and underpin the role of RE in helping to prepare and equip pupils for life and citizenship in today's diverse and plural Britain."
Currently parents are permitted to remove children from school trips which they deem to be unsuitable. Some withdraw their children citing costs and safety but others say their reluctance is due to schools' 'political agenda'.
SACRE advises discussion in class to address unease some parents and children may have about their visit.
Parents have taken to social media to voice their views, with some strongly supportive of the school's stance.
"Why would any parent deny their child an opportunity to learn about something new from a school trip. Isn't that what schooling is for....to educate and inform?"
Dean Thomas said on the Stoke Sentinel Facebook page: "There is so many people totally missing the point," he wrote. "School visits to churches, mosques, synagogues etc are not about forcing religion on people, it's about learning about other religions
However, some have said they strongly object to the trips and say religion should have no place in non-denominational schools:
Lynne Smith said: "As long as there are also trips to places of worship of other religions too, but usually it's just the mosque and children are expected to pray or even dress as if they were Muslim for this purpose. Would Muslims go to pray in the churches of other religions?
"Personally I think religion has no place within the school curriculum."
"Absolutely not any chance in this world would my kids go no no no no just incase u didn't get it I said NO way", another wrote.