British Schools Beset by Islamists; Open Letter Exposes Plan to End Secular Public Education
Public schools in Birmingham, UK, have been beset by Islamists who are pressuring principals to fire teachers, revamp curricula and impose strict Muslim guidelines on public education, according to the UK Daily Mail on Wednesday.
The report featured an anonymous open letter, entitled ‘Operation Trojan Horse’ that was published in a local Sunday paper and reactions from several former school leaders and teachers who have been forced out of their jobs by the region’s Muslim community.
The four-page document outlined “a strategy of identifying schools in Muslim neighborhoods, ridding them of non-Muslim heads and parachuting in strictly Islamic teachers and removing those who are not, as well as frightening Muslim parents into believing Western education is dangerous for their children,” the Daily Mail reported.
While the the provenance of the letter and its author are unknown, the Birmingham City Council and the Department for Education are taking its contents seriously, launched an investigation and alerted the West Midlands Police.
The letter said that Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester, UK cities with large Muslim populations, should lead the attack: “We have an obligation to our children to fulfill our roles and ensure these schools are run on Islamic principles.”
It spoke about identifying hard-line Muslim parents who could be turned against head-teachers who are “non-believers.”
“The way to do this is to tell each parent that the school is corrupting their children with sex education, teaching about homosexuals, making their children pray Christian prayers and [taking part in] mixed swimming and sport,” the letter said.
Tahir Alam, a Birmingham school governor, and prominent member of the Muslim Council Of Britain, who was named in the letter, said it was a “dirty trick to feed anti-Muslim sentiment.”
The newspaper said “others suggested that the document was written by worried teachers opposed to Islamization as ‘a cry for help to get the council’s attention’ — believing it was the only way to have legitimate fears taken seriously.”
Interviews with teachers reflected the educational crisis in Birmingham.
Michael White, 63, says he was forced out of his job as head of the math department at Park View Academy, in Birmingham, after a campaign of “bullying and intimidation” when he tried to prevent completely unqualified or inexperienced Islamists being appointed to teaching roles and onto the school’s governing body. He also tried to block attempts to ban sex education and end the teaching of non-Islamic faiths in religious education classes.
White said his problems began after the appointment of Tahur Alam as the chairman of governors at Park View in 1993, a position he still holds.
“When I started at the school, hardly any girls covered their hair,” White told the Daily Mail. “Within months of Mr. Alam arriving, almost all did. The school also started transporting the girls to and from the school gates in minibuses, while the boys were allowed to get home on their own.”
White was fired for gross misconduct after raising his concerns of creeping Islamism with the governing body. His teaching career in ruins, he has since retrained as an electrician, the newspaper said.
“It was a highly-organised, clever operation that I was powerless to fight,” White said. “I don’t know if this Trojan Horse letter is real, but I don’t believe a word of it is a lie. This is happening in our schools right now.”
Two weeks ago, Park View was subject to a surprise inspection by the education authority to investigate claims that non-Muslim staff are being treated unfairly and female students are bullied into wearing headscarves to hide their hair, the newspaper said.
The Daily Mail also interviewed Erica Connor, who won £400,000 ($666,000) in compensation after a five-year legal battle because of a similar push by Islamists that got her fired from the New Monument school she ran, in Woking, Surrey, and next door to Shah Jahan, or ‘King of the World’, the first mosque built in Britain, in 1889.
When shown the four-page letter, Connor told the newspaper, “It’s a letter that makes me realize nothing has changed in our schools. Muslim extremists used an identical strategy to get rid of me and nearly ruined my life.” Forced from teaching, Connor now runs her a business making ski gloves.
She said the Islamists at the New Monument school received advice from Alam.
A petition from parents to have her fired “said that I didn’t respect their language, their values, their culture, that I was out for myself and to make money,” Connor told the Daily Mail. “They said I was Jewish, then that I was Roman Catholic, and that I brought Christian missionaries to the school. It attacked the staff’s dress and my own. It was a string of made-up stories.”
Meetings at the school were “hijacked by hardliners who only wanted to discuss religious issues,” the newspaper said.
“Instead of talking about the education of children, we were tackling whether the meat in the school canteen was Halal, whether there should be a code of dress for staff to ensure their forearms were covered,” Connor said. “The governors wanted special showers in the changing rooms for washing before prayers. A few parents pulled their girls out of physical education because we requested that they only wore a short hijab — with long flowing headscarves it was impossible to guarantee safety in the lessons. It just went on and on.”
Connor told the Daily Mail that she is still consoled by the words of the judge who awarded her compensation after her five-year legal battle, when he declared in the ruling: “They sought to monopolize the governors’ body to impose their own agenda… which was to convert New Monument to an Islamic faith school.”