Ricky Gervais Shreds Parents Protesting Teacher Who 'Showed Prophet Muhammad Cartoon'
British comedian slams protest: 'What next? People being punished for insulting unicorns?'
British comedian Ricky Gervais has shredded Islamic parents protesting outside a school after a teacher allegedly showed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad to his class.
Protesters who have gathered outside Batley Grammar School, West Yorkshire, demanding the unnamed teacher is sacked for blasphemy.
The school has been forced to keep all 980 children at home while the teacher in question has reportedly received death threats.
Gervais ridiculed Muslims over the uproar, declaring: "What next? People being punished for insulting unicorns?"
A well-known defender of free speech, also famed for his own outrageous jokes, Gervais tweeted to his 14.5million followers: "Blasphemy? F***ing Blasphemy?
"It's 2021 for f**k's sake. What next? People being punished for insulting unicorns?"
The creator of The Office, After Life and Extras, was backed by BBC broadcaster Nicky Campbell.
Cambel said Gervais's tweet was about the "lunacy of blasphemy," branding it a "victimless crime" while rowing with a critic of the comedian.
One commentator called Gervais's tweet: "An insult to the Islamic community worldwide."
On Friday it was revealed that a petition, started by students in defense of their teacher who was suspended by Batley Grammar School, has been signed by thousands of people - at a rate of one per second - as it was revealed he was forced to flee his home because of death threats.
The petition to try and save the teacher's job has been signed by more than 8,500 people.
People who backed the campaign to save his job have described him as a "good man" and a "diligent teacher" who is "respectful of all religions."
Others said the school must stand by him, insisting he was being "bullied out" by "radicals."
Blasphemy? Fucking Blasphemy? It's 2021 for fuck's sake. What next? People being punished for insulting unicorns?— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) March 26, 2021
One Muslim parent signed the petition, named Mohammed J, wrote: "I would like to convey my support for the school and also the teacher concerned.
"He has taught my daughter and she speaks very highly of him.
"I would not hesitate to see him teach her again.
"I am confident that the teacher concerned did not mean any offence and I hope following an investigation he returns to his role at the school."
Another signatory said: "He is loved by many students.
"Muslim and non Muslim. Batley Grammar stand up for one of your own.
"Don't lose a good teacher."
The "burly Yorkshire lad" in his 20s, who has not been named, is getting support from police after he allegedly showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as the headteacher today kept 980 children at home after 50 Muslim protesters from outside the area turned up for a second day.
Mohammed Hussain of the "Purpose of Life" charity, which published the teacher's identity online, said he condemned violence in the name of Islam.
He said he had to speak out after being asked by a radio interviewer several times whether he condoned beheadings and apparently failing to condemn them.
He told Mail Online: "I was shocked and upset at the questions.
"I couldn't understand why I was being asked about beheadings.
"I was trying to say that I was against beheadings and that the Prophet said that if you were to kill one innocent person you were killing Mankind.
"I am against any type of violence in the name of Islam and do not support the beheadings that have taken place."