When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Three held over sex assault claims
Female police officers are carrying out searches at a Lancaster girls' school after three men were arrested over sex assault claims
Three men have been arrested over claims of sexual assault and false imprisonment at an Islamic school for girls.
Specialist female police officers are conducting searches at the Jamea Al Kauthar school in Lancaster after a report was received over concerns for the welfare of a "small group" of teenage pupils.
Lancashire Police said a 40-year-old man from Bolton and a 30-year-old man from Blackburn have been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and false imprisonment, and a 53-year-old man from Blackburn has been held on suspicion of false imprisonment.
All three men are being questioned in custody but police would not confirm whether the men arrested were members of teaching staff at the Ashton Road site.
In a statement on its website, Jamea al Kauthar said: "The school is aware of the allegations that have been made and at the present moment the school is fully co-operating with the police with their investigations into the matter."
According to its website, the independent boarding school aims to educate Muslim girls over the age of 11 "in a safe, secure, happy and Islamic environment".
Jamea Al Kauthar started with 60 girls in September 1996 and presently caters for 440 residential girls from all over the world on an admission policy of selection by ability, it says.
It continues: "We provide an opportunity to study the traditional sciences concurrently with secondary and further education. Jamea Al Kauthar also offers the 'Tahfeez Ul Quraan' programme (committing the whole quran to memory) and a two year abridged version of the Islamic Teaching programme in the English medium.
"There are currently 401 girls on roll, of whom around half are above compulsory school age. These older students attend Islamic theology courses each morning and other courses provided by Preston Sixth Form College in the afternoon."
The website said the school is on the site of the former Royal Albert Hospital and comprises a boarding house, the school buildings and a madrassa where the Islamic curriculum is taught.