Islamic ‘Trojan Horse’ plot WAS genuine
Schools are not legitimate places to impose religious dogma or seek to instil particular religious beliefs in children, and there should be no place in our education system for the sort of unacceptable practices revealed in Ofsted’s investigation.
These words were spoken by the National Secular Society’s campaigns manager Stephen Evans after Ofsted’s head, Sir Michael Wilshaw delivered a devastating judgment with regard to the Islamic “Trojan horse” plot in Birmingham.
According to this Telegraph report, there had indeed been an “organised campaign” targeting schools in Birmingham to impose a “narrow, faith-based ideology”, with the same people “highly influential across several of the schools”.
Unfortunately, Christian control of publicly funded schools in Britain is common and it is somewhat inevitable that parents of minority religions now want to control ‘their’ schools. The lack of separation between religion and education has the potential to seriously undermine social cohesion and the time has come to question whether an education system delineated by religion is in children’s or society’s best interest.
Only a fortnight ago, speaking on Channel 4 News, Samir Rauf, a teacher at Birmingham’s Oldknow Academy, played the victim card as he proclaimed the school’s innocence of charges that it had been taken over and “Islamised” by Muslim hardliners.
He said the claims made him “feel really angry”. Asked about reports in this newspaper that Asif Khan, Oldknow’s Arabic teacher, led nine- and 10-year-old children in anti-Christian chanting, he said:
As far as the staff are aware, nothing of the sort happened.
Christmas had not been cancelled, Mr Rauf insisted, and as for Oldknow’s non-Muslim head teacher, Bhupinder Kondal, her absence was due merely to:
Sick leave, and I pray that she recovers quickly.
That was an outright lie. Mrs Kondal has since revealed that she was not on “sick leave”, but had:
Resigned against my will. I felt that I couldn’t carry on any longer. I’ve been really unhappy about what I’ve gone through.
She spoke alongside several other Birmingham heads who described the pressure they had been put under by radical Muslim governors.
Rauf has since disappeared from media appearances after the Telegraph revealed last Sunday that he is in fact a key member of a group called “Educational Activists”, in which he discussed how to pursue an “Islamising agenda” in another school where he is a governor.
And last Monday, a few days after Mr Rauf’s interview, the wider lies and denials at Oldknow and the other Birmingham schools involved in the “Trojan Horse” plot were finally blown out of the water.
A “culture of fear and intimidation”, according to Ofsted, had developed in several of the schools, with:
Head teachers, including those with a proud record of raising standards… marginalised or forced out of their jobs.
There had been a “breakdown in trust” between staff and governors, who had “sought to make changes to the curriculum on the basis of their own personal beliefs”, with girls and boys “not treated equally”, music in one school removed from the curriculum against pupils’ wishes, and the children’s experiences “restricted”, making them:
Vulnerable to segregation and emotional dislocation from wider society.
Separate reports into Oldknow and Park View, the two schools worst affected, found that an extremist, al-Qaeda-sympathising preacher had been invited to address children at Park View and that the curriculum had been restricted to
Comply with a conservative Islamic teaching.
At Oldknow, Asif Khan was indeed reported to have made anti-Christian statements at assemblies. Christmas parties and the seasonal tree had been “stopped in the last year”, and at both schools there was forced gender segregation with girls put at the back of the class.
Ofsted’s judgment confirmed more than three months of reporting by The Telegraph, which, with the help of concerned staff, governors and parents in Birmingham – most of them Muslim – broke the main developments in the story.
Despite growing evidence that there was a wide-ranging plot to infiltrate schools, Islamic apologists – including the Socialist Worker – cried “foul”, alleged a witch hunt and blathered about “Islamophobia”. But a demonstration yesterday to “defend” the schools against “Islamophobic attacks” drew fewer than 100 people.
Nevertheless Doug Morgan, President of the Birmingham National Union of Teachers, last week insisted that there had been a “racist attack in our schools”. And Pauline Geoghegan, of the “Hands Off Birmingham Schools” campaign, told the BBC that:
Michael Gove and David Cameron, with their political ideology, do not want to see schools in Birmingham flourish.
The Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan asked:
Why on earth would the Government not want schools to flourish? And if ministers and officials are racists now, why were they not so in 2012, when Ofsted and Mr Cameron praised several of the schools concerned?
The awkward truth for the schools is that they have indeed, as Sir Michael said, changed substantially since 2012. Mrs Kondal is not the only head to leave: the headteachers of the five other schools put into special measures have moved on, too, as well as senior staff (four out of six at Oldknow, for instance).
At Park View, the OBE-appointed executive head, Lindsey Clark, has been replaced by Mozz Hussain, who, according to former teacher Nigel Sloan, preached “mind-blowing” anti-US assemblies. Mr Hussain and his chairman of governors, Tahir Alam, the alleged ringleader of the plot, were conspicuously absent from the defence of their school last week.
Gilligan pointed out that:
Poll after poll tells us that the majority of British Muslims reject separatist views and support a mixed, plural society.
But the leading institutions of Muslim Britain are disproportionately dominated by people who take a much harder line. Sometimes publicly, sometimes only when they think no one’s looking, key mosques, charities, TV stations, university Islamic societies and private schools promote a separatist, grievance-led agenda, in which Islam is the only identity that matters, in which Muslims stand against corrupt Western values and are victimised for doing so.
And thanks to their work, the views of Muslims and non-Muslims are starting to diverge. As Britain’s non-Muslims become more secular and socially liberal, Muslims are gradually becoming more religious and socially conservative. Unless this trend can be reversed, it bodes badly for social cohesion.
Trojan Horse has been a significant defeat for the hardliners, pushing them back from expanding into the state education system and making it easier to block such attempts in future. It is likely also to lead to more assertive government action against the private Islamic schools that promote separatism and sometimes hatred.
Hat tip: George Broadhead