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UK police interrogate 10-year-old Muslim over 'terrorist' spelling mistake

The boy wrote he lived in a 'terrorist' house instead of a 'terraced' house [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 January, 2016

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Blog: #IGrewUpInATerroristHouse trends on Twitter after a British Muslim child was interviewed by police over suspected links to terrorism, following a simple spelling mistake in class.

Imagine being ten years old. The cartoons you love. Your favourite colouring pencils. Chasing a football round the playground. The fears of High School starting to creep in. 

Now imagine making a spelling mistake on a writing assignment in class, only to have anti-terror police called in by your teacher.

For this is exactly what happened to a 10-year-old Muslim boy from Lancashire, north-west England, who was quizzed by British police for writing that he lived in a "terrorist" house - instead of a "terraced" house - during an English class.

An innocent mistake, obviously. But nevertheless, police interviewed the boy at his home in on December 7 and examined the family computer following his error, according to the BBC.

The family are now demanding an apology.

"You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child," the boy's cousin told the BBC.

"If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling. He's now scared of writing, using his imagination," she added.

If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling. He's now scared of writing, using his imagination

Since July, British teachers have been legally obliged to report any "suspicious behaviour" by pupils.

But is this taking it too far?

Miqdaad Versi, from the Muslim Council of Britain, blamed the government's Prevent programme, which aims to counter radicalisation.

"There are huge concerns that individuals going about their daily life are being seen through the lens of security and are being seen as potential terrorists rather than students," Versi said.

"This is a natural consequence of the extension of the 'Prevent Duty' to schools."

Lancashire Police said the issue was dealt with "by a joint visit by a police constable from the division and social services" - and that no one from the Prevent counter-extremism scheme had been involved.

There are huge concerns that individuals going about their daily life are being seen through the lens of security and are being seen as potential terrorists rather than students

The incident shows the growing scrutiny Muslims - particularly young Muslims - now face, not only in the UK but worldwide.

As the global fight against radicals using Islam as a pretext for their violence increases, so does the targeting of innocent Muslims.

Last September, a 14-year-old Muslim boy was arrested in the United States after a high school teacher decided that a homemade clock he brought to class could be a bomb.

The arrest prompted accusations of Islamophobia - arguably, the same assertion can be made in the spelling mistake case.

But in good traditional British style, anger turned to humour in order to highlight the absurdity of the incident, with the satirical hashtag #IGrewUpInATerroristHouse trending on Twitter:

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