The crowdfunding website GoFundMe has taken down a page launched in June by campaigners against LGBT education in schools.
Humanists UK had twice demanded the page be removed because it contravened GoFundMe’s terms. There had been no response until GoFundMe was contacted for comment by the Guardian on Tuesday morning.
The website took the page down, saying: “We have removed this page as it violates our terms of service.”
According to the terms, crowdfunders may not use the site for “campaigns we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defence of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.”
The page was set up by Shakeel Afsar to raise funds for legal fees to fight a high court injunction against him and others protesting near Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham. It has raised £9,500 against a target of £30,000.
In May, half the school’s pupils were withdrawn in protest over the teaching of LGBT-inclusive material. According to the headteacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, protesters told parents approaching the premises: “If you take your kids to school today, you’re not a Muslim and you’ll burn in hell.”
The high court hearing heard that protesters were aggressive, used “extremely intimidating” body language towards staff members in the street, and blocked the way of parents trying to take their children to the school.
A further hearing on whether to maintain the injunction against protesters is expected to take place next month.
It will be mandatory for all secondary schools to teach about LGBT relationships as part of a new relationships and sex education curriculum from next September.
The protests, which started at Parkfield Community school in Birmingham in March, have spread to other schools. Although largely initiated by Muslim parents and activists, conservative Christian and orthodox Jewish parents have also objected.
Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Dr Ruth Wareham said: “We’re delighted GoFundMe has removed the page, though we regret that they did not do this until we resorted to the media, some two months after our first complaint to them. It’s disappointing that the protesters have probably received the money they raised in the interim.”
In June, GoFundMe took down disgraced Australian Rugby star Israel Folau’s page on the grounds that his campaign to raise funds to fight his dismissal from the Australian rugby team for homophobic remarks violated its terms of service.
Among the comments posted by donors to Afsar’s crowdfunding page were: “This is a deliberate brainwashing agenda orchestrated by the government and a powerful lobby. This is nothing to do with equality and discrimination,” from Asif Bapu, who gave £10.
Nazmeen Akhtar, who donated £100, said: “Same relationship sex will be taught in all schools in the future and I am not comfortable about this because it goes against my faith. I can teach my child myself to treat all races, religions and LGBT all equal myself. I don’t want a teacher to indoctrinate children into believing its okay to be a gay Muslim because this will just be unstable and dismantle families. It’s our right on how we bring our children up.”