State schools ‘isolating’ non-Muslim pupils

Apr 19, 2014

Official report finds catalogue of discrimination at Birmingham schools

State schools in Birmingham are isolating non-Muslim students, claims a leaked Department for Education report.

Inspectors found the schools are illegally segregating pupils, discriminating against non-Muslim students and restricting the GCSE syllabus to “comply with conservative Islamic teaching”.

They reported that girls in one school were forced to sit at the back of the class, that some Christian students were left to “teach themselves” and that an extremist preacher, with known al-Qaeda sympathies and anti-Semitic views, was invited to address the children.

The report, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, focuses on Park View School and its sister schools, Golden Hillock and Nansen. It follows weeks of controversy over an alleged plot to “Islamise” secular schools in Birmingham and will lead to renewed calls for intervention.

The plot, purportedly named ‘Trojan Horse’, first emerged publicly last month. A leaked letter detailed how activists could rouse Muslim parents to oust secular headteachers.

The chairman of governors at Park View, Tahir Alam, was named in the letter as being at the centre of the plot. Alam and the school have angrily denied the claims as “fictitious”, “Islamophobic” and a “witch-hunt”.

The report emerges as Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, prepares to attack “divisive” attempts to impose religious values on secular schools.


He is due to tell a teachers’ conference: “We cannot have narrow, religious motives which seek to divide and isolate dictating state schooling. We cannot have headteachers forced out, teachers undermined, curricula rewritten and cultural or gender-based segregation.

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I think of Alam's knee jerk response as version of the old meme "community leasders warns of islamophobia following next massacre/bomb outrage".

The whole saga is outrageous, beyond belief and frankly if it was not so serious, it would be comical. The documents on which this whole action is perused is false and as there is no proof of extremism in schools, Mr. Gove has made it illegal for Muslims to have conservative views (coming from a minister of conservative government, its comical really). Feel like we are back in the fifties in the USA again. Michael Gove is an avowed Zionist which is not the best way to approach issues like this! Because it can lead greater attacks on Islam. It amazes me that on the basis of an anonymous
letter the whole country has been lead to believe that there is an organised plot to somehow take over schools, now allegedly across the length and breadth of Britain! Furthermore the amount of coverage that this has received from the media as being a credible story, to me, suggests the level of Islamophobia in our society has reached alarming and dangerous heights. I would suggest that for
the sake of fairness, equality and justice all schools are subject to the same level of scrutiny. For example Christian, C-of-E, Jewish and Hindu,Sikh schools. I believe that this not only a witch hunt but a move to tarnish and undermine the credibility of Muslims in general and the noble teachings of a widely practiced and rapidly growing religion which a people devotedly choose to follow. Islaamophobia should be stopped - especially when the racist is a government minister or department.

The horse in question, it is alleged, contained Muslim extremism – brought to state schools by stealth, by governor bodies launching
subtle pincer movements, to remove the kind of pesky teachers who might object to the segregation of pupils by sex, or a refusal to stick to the syllabus. How incredibly extremist. Schools where segregation of pupils by sex occur. How different from boy's only Grammar schools and High schools for Girls that exist in predominately Conservative areas. And that exist predominately in the private
school sector. It does though surely produce better exam results, as pupils are less influenced by the idea of 'girl's subjects' and 'boy's subjects', and are less likely to be distracted by sex. Allegations of an Islamic takeover plot of Birmingham schools are just the latest in a string of slurs against Muslims. It is not clear what is meant by an "Islamic plot takeover", and whether that is the same thing as saying or hinting that some Muslims might want to get some schools to adopt their particular version of Islamic religious values, behaviours and life-styles. If it is the latter, that would not necessarily be an indication of "terrorism", so I struggle to see the need for 'counter-terrorism' input. It is not terrorism in any way shape or form. It is
important to remember this is not about Islam as such but yet another chance to bash people perceived as foreigners. To many Muslim is another word for immigrant and coloured person, two terrible bugbears. Why should an unnamed, undated, unspecific
source has effected students, teachers, governors, parents in one swoop. It has serious implications on unfounded accusations for hundreds of people. In no way shape or form is this right, nor should have it EVER happened. Just by a anonymous letter how can you judge the schools and it is bringing such bad vibe to Birmingham schools and local Muslim community we feel like we're targets no matter how hard we try we will never please and move forward from the terrorist labelling. I am disgusted at the way these particular schools and governors were targeted for no reason other than being muslim. No solid evidence wa available to substantiate these accusations which arose and yet such great weight and focus
was attached to them. Morally unjust and utterly unacceptable

On the one hand we get told we are not integrating enough and we should engage more in civic society. On the other, when we do, we get accused of having sinister agendas.Since when do concerns by religiously conservative parents about teaching on homosexuality, girls and boys mixing, and the reciting of prayers, require anti-terrorist experts to get involved? Allegations of an Islamic takeover plot in Birmingham schools aren't justified by the evidence – and the
government response is way out of proportion.

Perhaps its best to let the Muslim community sort these issues out. These are in effect Muslim schools now. It is up to the Muslim
community to see off hard liners (if there are any) otherwise it is their own children's' education that will suffer. I think it would be very difficult for non Muslims to get involved either as governors or management so perhaps that it is one of the reasons for the conflicts that have arisen. It may be best for the Government to but out providing the record of the school is o.k from an exam point of view. I am so disgusted that even after it was proved there is no factual evidence or basis for that racist and hate filled document, schools in
Birmingham are being subjected to this horrific ordeal and the name of many good reputable teachers is being tarnished... Why? Clearly viewable that this accusation has been purposely placed on these schools which surprisingly consists of majority Muslim children. Clearly the school policies are being contradicted by Mr Gove as they clearly state that it is the schools priority and job to meet the needs of the local community and of the students within the school. So if a school is doing that then what is the issue? What is happening feels like the persecution of a religious group. This is important because the witchunt feeds Islamophobia. As we can see from the bombings and arson attacks on mosques in the UK, Islamophobia is a very dangerous and divisive form of racism. I'm sick of this hatred of Islam and Muslims. Haters, ignorant scum,
look for any means to target Muslims, now even in our schools. It's a joke and this has to stop.

I never realised how racist and anti-Islamic this country is until I moved here. These people are here legally and have the right to live how they want to. Just because there are terrorists who use Islam as a doctrine to justify their hateful acts, does NOT mean that every Islam wants to change Britain to Sharia Law, kill the gays and put all women in burkas! These people are being judged and punished for the actions of others that have nothing to do with them, simply because they are of the same religion. Do you judge Germans in the same way because their country committed genocide? Or the Irish if they are from an area where religious conflict was particularly violent? No. Seems like thinly veiled racism to me, not the 'staunch upholding of British rights against religious extremists' as you all seem to espouse. What do people mean when they talk about
'multiculturalism'? If a lot of people come from a foreign country and settle in a particular area they will bring the culture of that country with them. Of course they will want their schools to promote their values. Gender segregation is everywhere in the Muslim world including in EU applicant, Turkey, so either we believe in Britain as multicultural or we don't. You don't get to pick and choose the bits you want. Why not sit down with parents and listen to their
concerns, instead of ordering an investigation? Shocked at this terrifying witch hunt against Muslims who are simply trying to raise standards. Its totally unacceptable to create a furore in the country over anonymous accusations with no proof. Because it is a divisive move and will affect community relations. This is the very reason why society does not function properly, this is a deliberate attempt to spread fear amongst communities, as the best way to control a nation is through fear itself. because this is NOT ,,I repeat is NOT
an Islamic plot to take over Birmingham, so DO NOT put false information in the media to put Muslims down!!!!! What next.....Muslims taking over hospitals, banks, pubs....come on... Tomorrow, a Pakistani MP would become the PM of GB and this does not mean that the country has become a colony of Pakistan.

What's taking place is an absolute disgrace. This whole witch hunt is putting Muslims off from becoming governors at a time when it is need the most. Why should Muslim parents be targeted when
all they want at the end of the day is a good all round education for their children. Before Muslims governors came on to the scene all the inner city schools were doing poorly and failing all the children of the school. Muslim parents were criticised for their lack of involvement in their children's schools. Now they are being vilified. It is an absolute disgrace that an ex anti terrorist police office has been brought in to investigate the situation. It stinks of racism and the desire to label all Muslims into the category of extremist and jihadist. What a disgrace by the national and the local government. It's wrong for Gove to be deliberately politicising our Education system. All our children deserve respect and not to be scapegoated. What a total
waste of tax payers money and tactical manoeuvre by Michael Gove to divert attention away from the real issues. Gove’s war is designed to destabilise governing bodies where muslims form a majority. Dont want us to be part of 'big society'? We totally reject the idea that there is Muslim plot to take over Birmingham schools. We abhor the scapegoating of the Muslim community being whipped up by the media. We call for the removal of Peter Clarke as we believe
this is a provocative appointment, designed to divide our community.

Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that 'education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.' The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.
London School of Islamics Trust

IftikharA - I thank you for your response; it's useful to hear alternative views on media as most people will agree that we rarely see the whole picture and the media generally leans towards sensationalism to grab the reader's attention.

However, I think you should review your comments as you have, in effect, _simply agreed with the content of the article_.

The article title is:

> State schools isolating non-Muslim pupils

which you state is incorrect, but you then state:

> There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school
which would be fine, if these were Muslim schools, which they are not, they are state schools.

> Schools where segregation of pupils by sex occur / Gender segregation is everywhere in the Muslim world
Again, fine if these were gender specific
, private or Muslim schools - they are not.

This is the bit that scares people like me that the article is aimed at: "These are in effect Muslim schools now".

> These are in effect Muslim schools now ["in effect" but not actually, they are still state, secular schools and should be run as such]

So, in effect, you have confirmed the content of the article that secular, state (ie non-Muslim specific) schools are being subverted and are indeed isolating non-Muslim pupils.

Thank you.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better
discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and
boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role
models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and
Such schools with majority Muslim children should be managed according to their needs and demands. According to the Education Act of 1944, the children should be educated according to their needs and demands. The board of governors is not breaking the law by segregating children, providing halal meat and other facilities which satisfies the needs and demands of the Muslim children.
London School of Islamics Trust

OK, can someone explain the difference here for me... Why is
it OK for the Church of England and Catholic church to run schools but this whole 'Islamic plot' thing means Islam can't run schools [or take them over by underhand means or whatever] in Birmingham? I thought Cameron/Gove liked Faith education? Is it just the wrong kind of faith? If a group wanted they could buy shares, a lot of shares, in a company and influence say Tesco to not sell pork
products. I know it'd take a hell of a lot of money but it could be done surely? And it'd be legal? [genuine questions..] So why can't a group put themselves forward, become governors and mold the direction of a school to their liking. Isn't that the point of the Academies programme in the first place?

Total fabrication to demonize the minorities in this country. Now this happened to another group in 1930s in Germany. The Daily Mail is always demanding that children be taught right from wrong. Well, here are the morality squads doing just that. Of course not everybody agrees on what "right and wrong" are, but the DM has overlooked that until now. The English getting a taste of their own medicine i.e. the ill-treatment of other cultures all around the globe, including the British Isles. Surprise, surprise they don't like it! UPROAR!!!!
Segregating boys and girls in assembly in normal and routine in any school. Boy one side and girls the other. However, religious extremism is not. Single sex schools were meant to improve discipline and encourage pupils to concentrate on their work instead of on the opposite sex, not on religious grounds.

Islam is a feature of UK life and if the C-of-E and Catholics get their schools, well only fair. And it fits with government policy is all. It is disgraceful that the media and government are creating this fear
amongst our communities based on an unfounded and umsigned letter! There is no problem with schools being taken over by overtly christian groups so why should Muslims be any different? Racism is never acceptable, especially coming from the government. The nature and mannerism of such investigations is extremely
suspicious and unfair. The investigators and auditors are going into school on the back of recent newspaper articles. This is alienating the community and harbouring tension. This witch-hunt and scapegoating can only lead to divisions and lack of trust within communities. This xenophobic attitude that is becoming more prominent within our society is one of the biggest threats to our peace and harmony. the apparent Islamophobia displayed by the organisations involved in this so called investigation is disgraceful! not to mention the way they have disrupted the children preparations for their forthcoming exams and potentially their future with what appears to be their warped spin and interpretation of their selective 'observations' made within these schools. To add to this the
governments response is most abhorrent. What if Muslim staff had complained of being side lined by an Islamophobic SLT within their school? Would this too have been given this much attention?