Two children have been suspended over the ‘desecration’ of a Quran at a school in Preston (Image: PA)

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Two schoolchildren have been suspended for desecrating a Quran in front of other students and the school has notified anti-terrorism officials.

Dave Lancaster, the principal at Fulwood Academy in Preston, Lancashire, has said he “immediately" notified local police, as well as Prevent, the government’s anti-terrorism programme, according to Lancashire Live.

Both students have been suspended over their treatment of the Islamic holy book while an investigation takes place.

It is not clear from reports what the act of desecration involved.

Police said everyone has the right to live free from harassment or hate crime.

On Sunday Mr Lancaster and Joan Dean, Chair of Governors, sent a joint letter to parents and carers saying the issue is being investigated by the relevant authorities.

The Academy wrote to parents to reassure them after the incident

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It also said the school has contacted local Imams for help to “heal the hurt” this has caused for the wider community.

The letter said it is "not our intention to hide or shy away from these acts and we can reassure everyone that we will work together to further strengthen our community and build on our deep commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality".

They went on: "While clearly there need to be ramifications for those involved, it is also vital that we understand what caused these acts, which we have never seen in our school before, to take place as they have.

"We cannot do this alone. We are working with the police and have already contracted all appropriate authorities.”

The letter adds: "Above all, however, we have reached out to local Imams to ask for their support in helping us respond to this.

"We are deeply aware that we need to heal the hurt that has undoubtedly been caused, and look at what we can do to support all members of the Fulwood Academy community."

Any criminal charges would come from the Crown Prosecution Service rather than the police.

Prevent officers usually assess whether there is any risk of the students being drawn to terrorism.

If so they will provide safeguarding and support to stop the students from going down that path.

Police said everyone has the right to live free of hate crimes and harassment
(Image: PA)

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: "We are aware of two isolated incidents which took place last week and we are working closely with the school to address these matters. Our enquiries are very much ongoing.

"Everyone in our county should be allowed to live their lives free from harassment and the fear of hate crime.

"Hate crime causes great distress to its victims and we are committed to investigating all crimes and incidents motivated by hate, supporting victims and bringing offenders to justice."

Critics accuse Prevent of targeting Muslims unfairly. Defenders point out much of Prevent's work covers far-right terrorism and that it protects vulnerable people from harming themselves and others.