The Trojan Horse Affair

Posted: August 3, 2014 in Islamism

Trojan Horse: Leaked report reveals ‘aggressive Islamist agenda’ in Birmingham schools
Draft report from ‘Trojan horse’ inquiry uncovers evidence of coordinated plan to impose hardline Islamist ethos
Keith Perry
Telegraph | 18 Jul 2014

A report into the "Trojan horse" scandal in Birmingham schools has uncovered evidence of "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city".

The conclusion is contained in a leaked draft of a report, commissioned by the former education secretary Michael Gove and written by Peter Clarke, the former head of the Metropolitan police’s counterterrorism command, which is due to be published in the next 24 hours.

Mr Clarke said there was a "sustained and co-ordinated agenda to impose upon children in a number of Birmingham schools the segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline and politicised strain of Sunni Islam", according to a report by The Guardian.

The draft document, marked as sensitive, added that: "Left unchecked, it would confine schoolchildren within an intolerant, inward-looking monoculture that would severely inhibit their participation in the life of modern Britain."

The hard-hitting report may add to tensions in England’s second city and raise questions about whether Britain has taken adequate steps to expose and uproot Islamism. It will also make uncomfortable reading for Birmingham city council because it accuses local politicians and officials of ignoring evidence of extremism for years, repeatedly failing to support bullied headteachers and putting the need to soothe community tensions ahead of all else.

The report will provide a tough challenge for the new Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, in only her second full day in post. Touching on one of Mr Gove’s flagship reforms, Mr Clarke calls for the Department for Education "to review the process by which schools are able to convert to academy status and become multi-academy trusts".

The former police chief said there were potentially serious problems in some academies. The draft states: "In theory, academies are accountable to the secretary of state, but in practice the accountability can almost amount to benign neglect where educational and financial performance seems to indicate everything is fine."

Ofsted has already published a report into the quality of Birmingham education after inspections at 21 schools revealed serious problems, leading to five schools being placed in special measures. Senior staff at Park View Educational Trust, who were identified in the Clarke report as central to the agenda, have also resigned.

In response to the Ofsted report, Birmingham local government officials and politicians accused Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, of deliberately misrepresenting problems of governance in a small number of schools by associating them with a wider threat of Islamist extremism.

On Friday, Birmingham is due to publish Clarke’s final report, in conjunction with its own inquiry, conducted by Ian Kershaw.

The scandal erupted in February when an anonymous letter claimed there was a "Trojan horse" conspiracy in which conservative Muslims aimed to infiltrate Birmingham schools. Although the letter is thought to be a hoax as regards the specific allegation, the broad notion of infiltration was felt to merit further investigation.

Criticising the council, Mr Clarke says: "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."

With access to internal council correspondence, he said there was "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.

Tahir Alam, the chairman of governors of the Park View Trust, who is the subject of special criticism in the report, resigned earlier this week after claiming there had been a "vicious and co-ordinated offensive" against the trust. His fellow trustees also resigned en masse.


Christians lie and wives must have sex or go to hell, Trojan Horse pupils told
Inquiry commissioned by Birmingham City Council reveals details of religious extremism in 13 schools
Steven Swinford, Senior Political Correspondent
Telegraph | 18 Jul 2014

Park View School in Birmingham, one of 13 schools where evidence of religious extremism was found Photo: PA

Children were taught that all Christians are liars and attempts were made to introduce Sharia law in classrooms as part of an alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ takeover plot of Birmingham schools, an inquiry has found.

The inquiry commissioned by Birmingham City Council found evidence of religious extremism in 13 schools as school governors and teachers tried to promote and enforce radical Islamic values.

Schools put up posters warning children that if they didn’t pray they would "go to hell", Christmas was cancelled and girls were taught that women who refused to have sex with their husbands would be "punished" by angels "from dusk to dawn".

The report found that the extremism went unchecked because the council "disastrously" prioritised community cohesion over "doing what is right".

It concluded that there was a "determined effort" by "manipulative" governors to introduce "unacceptable" practices, "undermine" head teachers and deny students a broad and balanced education.

Sir Albert Bore, Birmingham’s leader, apologised for the council’s handling of the scandal.

He said: "The actions of a few, including some within the council, have undermined the reputation of our great city.

"We have previously shied away from tackling this problem out of a misguided fear of being accused of racism."

A separate review by Peter Clarke, the former counter-terrorism chief, found evidence of "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained" attempts to introduce an "intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos" in schools.

The review, which was commissioned by the Department for Education, found that the schools were trying to impose "segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline and politicised strain Sunni Islam".

Birmingham City Council’s report found no evidence of a "conspiracy" to promote "violent extremism or radicalisation" values, but was still highly critical.

A detailed summary of evidence suggested that there was an attempt to introduce Sharia law at the Al-Fuqan school, and when a woman was recommended for a job on individual suggested a "man with a beard" was needed.

At the Golden Hillock School a teacher allegedly told children at an assembly "not to listen to Christians as they were all liars". The incident was referred to counter-terrorism police. One teacher at the school also reportedly told children they were "lucky to be Muslims and not ignorant like Christians and Jews."

At Nansen School the study of French was replaced by the study of Arabic and Islamic religious assemblies were reinstated. Christmas and Diwali celebrations were councils, and children were not allowed to use a doll to represent Jesus in a nativity play. A total of 28 female teaching assistants were dismissed.

At the Oldknow academy, children were told at an assembly that they should not send Christmas cards and that Mary was not the mother of Jesus. Children were asked whether they believed in Christmas and encouraged to chant "no we don’t".

At the Park View Academy children were taught that "if a woman said no to sex with her husband then angels would punish her from dusk till dawn". Girls were taught that a "good" Muslim woman wears a hijab and ties up her hair.


Trojan horse plot report: ‘disturbing’ evidence of intolerant Islamic ethos
Schools in Birmingham subjected to "co-ordinated" action by extremists to impose an "intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos" on pupils, a report by Peter Clarke, the former anti-terror chief, finds
Edward Malnick, and Steven Swinford
Telegraph | 22 Jul 2014

An official inquiry into allegations of a "Trojan Horse plot" by Islamist extremists shows "disturbing" evidence of attempts by Islamist extremists to infiltrate a number of Birmingham schools, the Education Secretary has said.

Nicky Morgan announced that the Government was taking a series of measures "to put things right" after a review by Peter Clarke, the former anti-terror chief, concluded that there had been "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action" by a number of individuals to introduce an "intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos" into a few schools in the city.

The inquiry, commissioned by the Department for Education, found "clear evidence" that there are a number of people, associated with each other and in positions of authority within schools who "espouse, endorse or fail to challenge extremist views".

Such people had gained influence on the governing bodies, installing "sympathetic" headteachers and senior staff, appointing "like- minded" people to key positions and removing heads who were not "compliant" with a particular agenda.

Mr Clarke warned that the exposure of pupils to hardline views at the schools raised concerns that they could be "vulnerable" to radicalisation in the future.

At Nansen Primary a "secondary model" was imposed on the primary school, with primary teachers becoming subject teachers. There were found to be no lessons in the humanities, arts and music, leaving the curriculum "restricted and unbalanced".

Tahir Alam, said to be a "prime mover" behind the alleged Trojan Horse plot, was reported to have "regularly challenged" attempts to introduce "whole school activities and wider experiences" at the school.

Staff expressed concern about the "lack of breadth and balance" of the curriculum and "the Islamic direction it was taking".

In a number of other schools religious education became a "central core subject" and a compulsory GCSE, which is rare for non-faith state schools.

At Park View, one of the institutions at the centre of the plot, and other schools governors "over-stepped" their responsibilities by insisting on an "Islamic approach" to subjects ranging from science to Personal, Social and Health Education.

Pupils at Park View "speak openly" about the fact that "boys and girls should not study certain matters together", the inquiry found.

Mr Clarke, who served as head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, said he "neither specifically looked for, nor found, evidence of terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern in Birmingham".

But the report went on: "The existence of a common ideological stance among key linked individuals in this enquiry, the taking of control of governing bodies and the implementation of conservative religious practices in the schools where these individuals have influence, means that there can be no doubt that what has happened has been driven by a desire to instil a particular style of religious ethos into these state non-faith schools."

The report found that witnesses had highlighted three key concerns about the impact on pupils:

  • That teachers feared that children are learning to be intolerant of difference and diversity.
  • That although good academic results could be achieved by narrowing the curriculum, this meant that young people were not getting a broad education, and instead their horizons are narrowed.
  • That evidence of young people being encouraged to "adopt an unquestioning attitude to a particular hardline strand of Sunni Islam" raises real concerns about their vulnerability to radicalisation in the future.

The report was also highly critical of Birmingham City Council, which was found to be aware of concerns raised in the Trojan Horse letter around nine months before they emerged publicly.

The authority was "aware of the practices and behaviours that were subsequently outlined in the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter long before the letter surfaced", the report said.

It continued: "Officers have conceded that it did not consider carefully enough nor soon enough the question of whether there was a pattern in what was happening across a number of schools."

Instead, the council was said to have persisted in approaching incidents "on a case-by-case basis".

Peter Clarke was commissioned by Michael Gove, the former education secrretary, in April to investigate the alleged plot by a group of hardline Muslims to take over schools in the city.

His report is the last of four separate probes into the allegations in Birmingham, which were originally sparked by the "Trojan Horse" letter – now widely believed to be a hoax – which referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in Birmingham.

His findings differ from those contained in Ian Kershaw’s inquiry for Birmingham City Council, which concluded there was no evidence of a "conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation in schools in east Birmingham".

Mr Kershaw’s inquiry concluded that key individuals were "promoting and encouraging certain Islamic principles" in Birmingham classrooms amid poor oversight from education chiefs.

Last month Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham’s schools as it declared five failing and placed them into special measures.

The watchdog inspected 21 schools in the city, concluding that a "culture of fear and intimidation" has developed in some schools and, in several, governors exerted "inappropriate influence" over how they are being run.

The five placed in special measures as a result of the recent inspections are Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School and Park View Academy – all run by the Park View Educational Trust (PVET), as well as Oldknow Academy and Saltley School. A sixth, Alston Primary, was already in special measures.

The Education Funding Agency has also conducted its own inquiry, publishing highly critical reports on PVET and Oldknow Academy.


‘Trojan Horse’ teachers deem Lee Rigby murder and Boston bombings hoaxes
RT | July 23, 2014

Thousands of anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israeli WhatsApp messages were exchanged between teachers at the center of the Trojan Horse schools plot, claims a government commissioned report.

Hardline Muslims, who attempted to take over Birmingham schools, claimed in text messages that the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby and the Boston Marathon bombings were hoaxes.

One message, posted two days after Drummer Rigby’s murder, contained a YouTube link and the comment: “ATTACK ON ISLAM! Plz watch and share ASAP before they remove it!!!!! London butcher incident; It’s a hoax And this is the link to reveal it.”

Another, posted four days after the Boston bombing, said: “Watch PROOF! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack on YouTube.”

Officials take crime scene photos a day after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 16, 2013. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

Lee Rigby was murdered as he returned to the Woolwich barracks on May 22 last year. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale mowed Rigby down with a car before attacking him with knives and attempting to hack his head off with a meat cleaver. Graphic video footage of Adebolajo with blood-stained hands circulated the globe.

During the 2013 Boston Marathon, three people were killed and hundreds injured after a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the one surviving suspect, is yet to face trial.

The WhatsApp group, called the Park View Brotherhood, contained more than 3,000 postings between April 2013 and March 2014 by teachers at Park View School and others within the Park View Educational Trust.

A report on 25 schools in Birmingham, written by the former head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, Peter Clark, identified a “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city.”

The former Chairman of Park View Educational Trust, Tahir Alam, rejects the report’s conclusions, claiming the case is “politically motivated” and “does not reflect the realities on the ground.”

Reports of the Trojan Horse scandal in a Birmingham school first emerged in March when an unverified, anonymous letter thought to have been written by hardline Islamists found its way into government hands. The letter contains information on a plot to Islamize British schools from within.

Since then UK media has reported on various hardline policies being enforced in Birmingham schools, including segregation of boys and girls, forced praying and intimidation and bullying of teachers that did not share the same hardline ethos.

Last month, five schools in the area were placed on special measures in the wake of an Ofsted inspection that described a culture of fear and intimidation taking hold in some schools.


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