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Trojan Horse probe uncovers plot to impose ‘aggressive Islamist ethos’ on schools

Trojan Horse probe uncovers plot to impose ‘aggressive Islamist ethos’ on schools

🕔18.Jul 2014

Children in Birmingham have been the victims of “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action” to introduce an “intolerant and aggressive” Islamist ethos into their schools, the latest Trojan Horse inquiry has found.

In a devastating report that will be acutely embarrassing to Birmingham City Council, former Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism commander Peter Clarke says it is possible Muslim children subjected to extreme social conservatism could be radicalised in the future.

Mr Clarke’s report, leaked to the Guardian newspaper, says it’s clear that young people are being encouraged to accept “unquestioningly” a particular hardline strand of Sunni Islam that raises concerns about their vulnerability to radicalisation.

The draft report warns: “Rejecting not only the secular and other religions, but also other strains of Islamic belief, it goes beyond the kind of social conservatism practiced in some faith schools which may be consistent with universal human rights and respectful of other communities.

It appears to be a deliberate attempt to convert secular state schools into exclusive faith schools in all but name.”

Mr Clarke’s findings are in line with last month’s Ofsted report into 21 Birmingham schools alleged to be involved in Trojan Horse. Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw accused governors at some schools of imposing a narrow faith-based ideology on pupils.

Mr Clarke’s report identifies Park View academy and the Park View Educational Trust as being at the heart of the Islamisation process. The chair of the governors, Tahir Alam, resigned this week along with all of his fellow trustees, blaming the Government and former Education Secretary Michael Gove for a witch hunt against Muslims.

He is also critical of the failure of accountability at academies, which he says can amount to “benign neglect”.

Clarke’s report says: “I found clear evidence there are a number of people associated with each other and in positions of influence in schools and governing bodies who espouse, sympathise with, or fail to challenge extremist views.

“Time and again people who have either been teachers or governors at Park View appear to be involved in behaviour at other schools that have destabilised headteachers, sometimes leading to their resignation or removal.

“The tactics that have been used are too similar, the individuals concerned are too closely linked and the behaviour of a few parents and governors too orchestrated for there not to be a degree of coordination behind what has happened.”

Examples of extremism in Birmingham schools listed in the report include:

• Anti-western rhetoric, particularly anti-US and anti-Israel.

• Segregationism – dividing the world into us and them, with them to include all non-Muslims and Muslims who disagree.

• Perception of a worldwide conspiracy against Muslims.

• Attempts to impose its views and practices upon others.

• Intolerance of difference, whether the secular, other religions or other Muslims.

Clarke adds: “There has been a coordinated, deliberate and sustained action carried out by a number of associated individuals to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.

“This has been gained by achieving influence on governing bodies, installing sympathetic headteachers or senior members of staff, appointing like-minded people to key positions and seeking to remove headteachers they do not feel to be sufficiently compliant with their agenda.

“Whether the motivation reflects a political agenda, a deeply held religious conviction, personal gain or achieving influence within the communities, the effect has been to limit the life chances of the young people in their care and to render them vulnerable to more pernicious influences in the future.”

Mr Clarke’s report warns that ultra-conservative Islamic infiltration, if allowed to continue, would confine schoolchildren within an “intolerant, inward-looking monoculture that would severely inhibit their participation in the life of modern Britain”.

Clarke’s findings are in direct contrast to the line taken by Birmingham city council leaders in recent days – essentially dismissing Trojan Horse as little more than  the unfortunate activities of a few governors, and claiming that the city’s entire Muslim population has been labelled “terrorists in the making” by publicity arising from inquiries into the affair.

Mr Clarke’s report is particularly critical of the city council’s failure to intervene: “There was never a serious attempt to see if there was a pattern to what was happening in school governing bodies. The council’s approach has been variously described to me as appeasement and a failure in their duty of care towards their employees.”

Having trawled through hundreds of council emails, Clarke says there is “incontrovertible evidence” that senior officials and elected members of Birmingham city council were aware of the practices set out in the Trojan Horse letter as early as 2012.

The council will today publish the key findings of its own review into Trojan Horse.

 

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