BRADFORD MP Naz Shah has attempted to defuse tensions after a Batley Grammar School teacher reportedly used an "inappropriate" resource in a religious studies lesson.

Protesters gathered outside the school last week and called for the teacher in question, who is suspended, to be sacked.

The school received a number of complaints about the reported use of an image taken from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a religious studies class.

The school has apologised over the "inappropriate" image and suspended the teacher.

In an interview on British Muslim TV, Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, said: "There has been a lot that has been said over the issue that took place at Batley Grammar School.

"Let me be clear that we must be calm and collected when looking at this debate.

"And I completely condemn any notion of violence full stop.

"Extremists on every side want to divide communities and pit us against each other and further push the us versus them rhetoric.

"So let me start by thanking the headteacher for the leadership he has shown.

"Unlike the Prime Minister, this headteacher recognised that things went wrong, acknowledged the pain felt by the local community and took decisive action.

"So I do want to thank the headteacher for doing the right thing.

"The issue at the forefront is not about freedom of speech nor is it about cartoons, but is about safeguarding and protecting children.

"Freedom of speech is an integral part of our democracy. It is this very freedom that allows me to do my job, to debate, to discuss and to critique.

"And I get it, and I know many of you are hurt by these images and so am I.

"I don't need to show an Islamophobic image depicting the Prophet with a turban and a bomb to raise discussion, debate and conversation.

"Because there are other ways we can have meaningful conversations on these topics in the classroom and reach the same goal without causing upset.

"The government's own hate crime reporting centre over the years has reported an increasing level of Muslim pupils in schools being bullied for their religion and being labelled as terrorists.

"In this school, parents have highlighted similar sentiments too.

"In that context, to show an Islamophobic image was the wrong thing to do.

"But the school has apologised, the teacher is being investigated and due process is taking place.

"So people can either continue to protest or see sense and allow the process to take its course, and if you ask me what I think should happen, I think we respond with compassion because that is what my Prophet, the Prophet Muhammad, would do.

"He was the first and worst victim of Islamophobia. And what did he say? What did he do? He was most generous, kind, gentle, brave, humble, protecting, caring, honourable and giving.

"People make mistakes. Ignorance leads us to positions where we make mistakes and fail to understand the sensitivities.

"So there was one caricature shown in a classroom, but what I'm saying is what we, through our actions, show the true caricature of the Prophet, peace be upon him, one of love, mercy and compassion."