Newspapers and broadcasters have in the last few weeks revealed a plot by Islamic extremists to take-over schools in Birmingham. Some reports have suggested that perhaps 4 schools have been affected, but there are indications that this could be as high as 8.
The plot was revealed by the publication of a communication dubbed – Trojan Horse, which may be a fake. However what does seem clear is that there are a small group of hard-line Islamists who are working to remove staff (particularly head teachers) from certain schools and replace them with Muslims who are more conducive to their aims.
In effect these people want the schools, which are all state-funded, to be run on Islamic lines, and not according to the dictates of the National Curriculum. This has clearly been brought to the attention of OFSTED, who have now down-graded one of the schools (Park View) from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’.
The individuals involved all seem to be associated with an organisation called Educational Activists, but worryingly at least 2 of these people have key roles in training and recruiting teachers for Birmingham City Council. Apparently the Council has been aware of these allegations since November last year, but nothing it appears is being done. The Council Leader has dismissed the letter as defamatory and this attitude appears to be at the heart of the problem. Even the so ‘Politically-Correct’ BBC has been forced to admit that the inaction may be due to ‘community cohesion’ issues. They claim that teachers in particular fear for their careers if they are seen as whistle-blowers.
One good thing that seems to have come out of this is that these extremists (manipulators is also a good description) do not necessarily have the support of all Muslims. Parents at Oldknow have complained that they do not want their children to be taught in a ‘faith-based school’. This school tragically saw the resignation of the well-respected Head last November because of intractable differences with the governors, some of whom are associated with the extremists. The Muslim Labour MP for Perry Barr has also come out again the plotters, and has described the Council as ‘complicit’.
For me the issue is about what should children be taught in English schools? We cannot have our young people being drilled by Islamic fundamentalists at the expense of learning about what it means to be English, and live in England. Far too many children have already left school without any real appreciation of English history. What chance is there for pupils in schools run on Islamic faith-based lines to understand where the precious rights and freedoms of England have come from?
It appears that the Labour-dominated Birmingham City Council are more concerned about pandering to Islamic extremists, we presume for the sake of political-correctness, than dealing with the problems.
However the Conservatives should also be brought to account. This is the logical outcome of allowing the state education system to ‘wither on the vine’. By claiming to give control to parents in effect they are handing over some of our state-funded schools to people who don’t even believe in our country, its values or its heritage. Time I think for the English state to retake control of our English educational system – “he who pays the piper should call the tune”.