SCOTLAND'S Jewish communities have backed an "opt-in" system for religious activities in non-denominational schools.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has raised concerns that non-Christian pupils often feel "excluded and alienated" during prayers and ceremonies, in a response to a petition by Secular Scotland which has called for an end to pupils automatically participating in religious observance.

Parents currently have the legal right to opt out and ask that their child does not take part.

The submission from SCoJeC cited examples from a recent report into the experiences of being Jewish in Scotland, including one parent who said her daughter was told that she "killed Jesus" when sitting in an Easter ceremony.

"One of the children read: 'The Jews wanted Jesus dead.' She was upset," she said.

The submission said the real issue was ensuring that activities in non-denominational schools are "genuinely non-denominational".

But it added: "In view of the number of pupils and parents from minority faith communities who report feeling excluded and alienated, we agree with the petitioner that there is a strong case to be made for reversing the current situation so that pupils in non-denominational schools are required to opt in to religious observance activities."

However, the SCoJeC stated that the status quo should remain in denominational schools as parents had already "opted in" by sending their children to this type of school.

The petition will be considered by the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee on Tuesday (November 12) .

However, the majority of responses submitted do not support changing the status quo.

Caroline Lynch, chair of the Scottish Secular Society, said the response from the Jewish communities showed that the problems described in the petition are "real, common and serious".