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National anthem is optional for Islamic students at Cranbourne school

Neil Mitchell

A primary school has come under fire for permitting Islamic children to walk out of a school assembly while the national anthem is sung.

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary has cited a religious month of mourning as the reason Islamic children are able to opt out of singing or listening to the anthem.

Grandmother Lorraine McCurdy has told 3AW Mornings she was furious when school officials invited students to leave during the anthem.

‘I saw red,’ she told Neil Mitchell. ‘I felt ‘you don’t walk out on my national anthem’.’ 

Independent senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie also slammed the school.

‘I find these schools that are allowing this to happen disgusting,’ she said. 

‘I don’t think religion needs to be brought into the national anthem. We should all be proud to be Australians and proud to sing the national anthem’

Listen to Senator Lambie speak to Neil Mitchell

In a statement, Principal Cheryl Irving said during the month of Muharram Shi’a muslims are required not to participate in fun or joyous activities, such as listening to music. 

A number of callers identifying as Shi’a muslims told Neil Mitchell they did not believe the students needed to avoid the national anthem in order to respect Muharram.

Listen to Lorraine McCurdy explain what happened during the assembly

Neil Mitchell has taken aim at the decision to allow students to opt out of the national anthem, saying the school is creating a divide.

‘No doubt the school thinks it’s doing the right thing, but surely the whole point of what we’ve been talking about lately is to bring kids together, to break down any barriers between the muslim community and the rest of the community, to encourage them to embrace and be part of Australia.’

‘It is the wrong message to send.’

The Department of Education said it supports the school in a statement. 

‘The Department supports our schools to be inclusive for all students, this includes understanding or respecting religious cultural observances.’

Listen to Neil Mitchell’s editorial in full

Neil Mitchell