The alleged ‘Jihadist plot’ to take over Birmingham schools

March 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm (Brum, children, crime, Education, islamism, Johnny Lewis, law, religion, religious right, sectarianism, Tory scum)

Shiraz Socialist has for some time been in possession of documents that seem to show a conspiracy by Islamists to exploit the Tories’ academy programme in order to take over schools. We have, up until now, refrained from using this material or commenting upon it, because we were not clear on its provenance and not satisfied of its authenticity. There must, properly, be the suspicion that the documents have been faked in order to stir up anti-Muslim feeling. However, this material is now in the public domain (the Birmingham Mail, the Independent, the Daily Mail and the Times have all carried articles), so we’ve decided it’s time for us to cover the story.

Firstly, what do the documents contain?

The documents’ central and most alarming content is what seems to be a letter from a Birmingham Muslim fundamentalist to a co-thinker in Bradford.

This details a five-point guide called ‘Trojan Horse’, for taking over schools and urges the rolling out ‘Trojan Horse’ to Bradford and then Manchester, boasting that  considerable success has been achieved in schools in predominantly Muslim areas of Birmingham

The documents outline alleged successful plots carried out against a number of Birmingham headteachers and other members of staff.

The documents also give a step-by-step guide for targeting “under-performing” schools with dirty tricks methods, involving the spreading of lies about the school heads.

The recipient is first urged to identify any Salafi (ie: hard-line fundamentalist)  parents sending pupils to the school.

‘They are always the most committed to the faith and are hardliners in that regard and once charged up they keep going for longer,’ says the letter.

‘When the parents have been identified, we start to turn them against the headteacher and leadership team.

‘The only 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 mixed swimming and sport.

‘If you can get them to be very vocal in the playground as they drop off or pick up their children that will stir up other parents.

‘The parents MUST be given direction and told not to discuss this with anyone, you only need a maximum of four parents to disrupt the whole school, to send in complaints to question their child’s education and to contact their MP and local authority.’

Once the head has been forced out, Islamist governors push through plans to make the schools academies.

The academy status, as promoted by the Tories, allows them to be run out of the control of the local authority, with funding provided direct from central government.

The letter states: ‘’Operation ‘Trojan Horse’ has been very carefully thought through and is tried and tested within Birmingham, implementing it in Bradford will not be difficult for you.’’

Trojan Horse, the letter states, has been fine-tuned so that it is ‘totally invisible to the naked eye and allows us to operate under the radar. I have detailed the plan we have in Birmingham and how well it has worked and you will see how easy the whole process is to get the whole process is to get the head teacher out and our own person in.’’

The documents propose that schools with poor Ofsted reports and with large Muslim student populations should be targeted for takeover.

They add: ‘’The poor performing schools are easy to disrupt, the better performing with strong head teachers is much harder and so we have to manufacture a strong enough reason, but rest assured we have not failed yet, no matter how difficult removing the head teacher may be. You just have to be clever and find the most appropriate way to deal with the school.’’

The documents add: ‘’This is all about causing the maximum amount of organised chaos and we have fine-tuned this as part of operation Trojan Horse. You must identify what the heads strengths are and build a case of disruption around that.’’

One passage reads: “We have caused a great amount of organised disruption in Birmingham and as a result we now have our own academies and are on our way to getting rid of more headteachers and taking over their schools … Whilst sometimes the practices we use may not seem the correct way to do things you must remember this is a ‘jihad’ and as such all means possible to win the war is acceptable.”

Yesterday’s Times (11 March) drew attention to “glaring errors” in the letter, suggesting that it might be a fake. The main “glaring error” is a reference to  the ousting of the former head of Springfield School in Sparkhill/ Moseley, Birmingham. The letter states “We did this perfectly to Noshaba Hussain from Springfield School. However, the Governors reappointed her so now we have another plan in place to get her out.” In fact, Ms Hussain was dismissed in 1994 and was not reinstated. The Times also states that “the crudeness of the apparent forgery is underlined by another error. It identifies two Birmingham schools where the plotters claim credit for removing head teachers late last year. However, the author seems to have muddled up their departure dates.”

The Times goes on to quote Tahir Alam, a former “education chief” at the Muslim Council of Britain, and named in the letter as involved in the plot: “This ridiculous assertion is based entirely upon a leaked document nonsensically referred to as ‘Operation Trojan Horse’ … the authenticity of which any decent and fair-minded person would question and quickly conclude as a hoax. Any reference to me is a malicious fabrication and completely untrue.”

As against this, Shiraz can report that we’ve spoken to a number of teachers from some of the schools named in the documents, and they are of the opinion that the documents are probably genuine – if only because their content tallies with verifiable events in at least two of the schools named in the documents. The former headteacher of Saltley School, Balwant Bains (who we have not spoken to) is reported as saying he was “bullied and intimidated” in the months before he resigned last November after clashing with the school’s governors. The Birmingham Mail (10 March) reported that “Friends claim the respected head, of Sikh origin, was undermined when governors over-turned his decision to expel a Muslim pupil found with a knife. The harassment of Bains included an anonymous text message branding him a “racist, Islamophobic Head teacher.” Five non-Muslim governors of the school have resigned, leaving 12 Muslim governors out of 14. The problems at Saltley School began, according to our sources, when Mr Bains was asked by governors to make curriculum changes, including the scrapping of sex education and citizenship classes because they were allegedly deemed “un-Islamic”. He was, we’ve been told, instructed to introduce Islamic studies into the curriculum and told that only halal food should be served to pupils, even though Saltley is a non-faith school. Mr Bains resigned after an Ofsted report concluded that he had a “dysfunctional” relationship with the school’s governors.

Shiraz has also been told by Birmingham teachers that at another school named in the documents, Adderley Primary,  four Teaching Assistants have been forced out following the school’s receipt of resignation letters that the four denied having written. As a result of the ‘Trojan Horse’ documents the police have now re-opened their fraud investigation into the letters. At least one of the Teaching Assistants is now pursuing an unfair dismissal claim.

Shiraz Socialist will be following this bizarre affair and will report on developments. In the meanwhile, whether or not the ‘Trojan Horse’ documents prove to be genuine, what is clear is that the Tories’ academy programme is opening up education to religious fanatics, sectarians and bigots, making a mockery of the government’s proclaimed commitment to social inclusion.

31 Comments

  1. Boleyn Ali said,

    The marketisation of education via Academies is a new Labour NOT a Tory policy. Abuse and corrupt practice involving academy chains, OFSTED and (especially Tory local authorities) is increasingly coming to light. Trojan Horse may or may not be fake, the fact that it is even a possibility is the real crime.

  2. The alleged ‘Jihadist plot’ to take over Birmingham schools | OzHouse said,

    […] Mar 13 2014 by admin […]

  3. Mike Killingworth said,

    Whilst I agree with Boleyn Ali – and older readers will surely agree both that Ed Miliband was the least Blairite of all the plausible contenders for the Labour Party leadership last time and that he, and the Party in general, to-day stand to the right of liberal Tories (such as Iain Macleod) of a previous generation – there are two further points equally worthy of notice.

    First, “social inclusion” is unlikely to be a genuine policy of any political party. There are no votes in it. I will carry to my coffin the emotional scars caused by “managing” local authority race advisers. At least one of the Muslims (by no means a Salafi – this was over a pint of beer, no less) had the decency to say to me: “it is foolish to immigrate: it is wise to conquer”.

    Second, is this not precisely what these Islamists (if all this is true) are trying to do? At least, while they are doing this, they are not committing acts of terrorism. You may – or you may not – believe in freedom of religion. Perhaps you only believe in the freedom of such religions as themselves believe in religious freedom. Most (not all) religions call that belief depravity.

  4. PaulStott (@MrPaulStott) said,

    I am not convinced by the rather wooden language of this leak, and do fear it is possible this is a scam.

    Historically the far-right has often pulled tricks like this – witness however many letters over the years to individuals from ‘local Councils’ (often on spoof headed paper) telling them they are now required to house asylum seekers in their own homes. In the West Midlands, I don’t think anyone ever got to the bottom of the ‘Black Liberation Front’ and a couple of attempted bombings in the name of this ‘group’ over two decades ago. It is a nasty world out there.

    Other ‘scam’ possibilities exist – an individual or group within a different section of the Asian community, or even Islamists attempting to create a fake storm so as to gain sympathy and influence. Until we know more about the providence of this leaks, this is one ‘jihad’ I remain to be convinced is playing out on our streets.

  5. Andrew Coates said,

    Just one point. Balwant Bains is reported as being a Skih

    Halal food cannot be eaten by Sikhs.

    “Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (Kutha meat): Sikhs are strictly prohibited from eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (such as halal or kosher, known as Kutha meat[6] ), or any meat where langar is served.[7] In some small Sikh Sects, i.e. Akhand Kirtani Jatha eating any meat is believed to be forbidden, but this is not a universally held belief.[8] The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.”

    So the agenda of the all-Halal food explicitly excludes Sikh pupils and staff from eating in the canteen.

  6. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    I’m pleased to see the wariness to publish here, given the question about whether they are fake or not and the obvious agenda if they are fake. That contrasts you well with Tendance Coatsey who did publish them with little criticism.

    I can’t see the actual letters, but I understand that the documents appear to give credibility by naming plans for the future that subsequently happened, but that the documents were not seen until AFTER these events. Is that correct?

    If, in 1962, I had publically predicted JFK’s death in Dallas next year, I would be interesting, but to do so in a ‘1962’ document discovered in 1964 would rightly raise credibility issues about me. Has this not happened here?

    “four teachers have been forced out following the school’s receipt of resignation letters that the four denied having written.” sounds completely bizarre.
    They were deemed to have resigned on the basis of fake letters x 4!? If you have a copy of my bosses signature; you can make him ‘resign’ tomorrow, even if he calls the letter a fake!? Or they did resign but had 2nd thoughts?

  7. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    A Guardian report from this evening on the matter – murkier and murkier

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/13/alleged-islamic-plot-birmingham-schools-possible-hoax

  8. flyingrodent said,

    I’m unclear what the Protocol is on running maybe-true-maybe-not stories about supposed secret plots by the ethnics are, but I will say this – “Operation Trojan Horse” is the stupidest name I’ve ever heard for a plan and, authentic or fake, whoever came up with it is a cast-iron idiot.

    Although, given the apparent reliability of the document, maybe “Operation Zinoviev” would’ve been a better name?

    Anyway, I’ll watch this one with interest. It’d be pretty ironic – and hilarious – if you’d blundered into publishing some kind of Malignant Plots of the Older Folk Of Islamics hoax, wouldn’t it?

    • Jim Denham said,

      ” if you’d blundered into publishing some kind of Malignant Plots of the Older Folk Of Islamics hoax …”

      But ‘Shiraz’ has made it clear that this document may well be a hoax, and we only published our article once the matter was already in the public domain, via the bourgeois press. So what’s you’re point, Mr Rodent?

  9. flyingrodent said,

    Your point, Jim.

    If, say, Socialist Unity had put up a post about any other sekrit ethnic plots with an of course, It may be a hoax proviso inserted so that they could row back from it if it turned out they’d been suckered, would that save them from your approbrium?

    I suggest that it wouldn’t. I think you’d be battering them with it for years to come, at every opportunity.

    So why should it be different when it’s you, rather than them?

    • Jim Denham said,

      “If, say, Socialist Unity had put up a post about any other sekrit ethnic plots with an of course, It may be a hoax proviso inserted so that they could row back from it if it turned out they’d been suckered, would that save them from your approbrium? ”

      Answer: errr…yes.

      I repeat: what’s your point?

  10. flyingrodent said,

    Answer: errr…yes.

    Let’s be clear here – so you’re saying that, if SU pimped some probably-false story about e.g. a Jewish plot to dominate the swing-park and prevent everyone else from playing on the seesaw and the roundabout, but made a half-arsed attempt to prevent future mockery by also saying something like “although this may not be true”… You’d take them at their word, would you? You wouldn’t, oh, I don’t know, accuse them of promoting racist propaganda and write long, angry pieces about the blah-blah of the left, or anything like that?

    what’s your point?

    That if this does turn out to be a hoax, as it was always fairly likely to, we won’t have to do much deduction to work out which prejudices it was designed to appeal to; that it’s probably worth remembering who fell for it and who didn’t, and that this suckertude should probably be worth recalling next time those who were fished in start wailing about the OMG complicity of the left with racists etc. and so on.

    The latter being one of your major preoccupations, rather than mine.

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      This may be a good time to notice that, if we do get a referendum on EU membership, we shall have the choice of voting with the tory leadership or with the British National Party. (Mind you, that’s no different from last time.)

    • Jim Denham said,

      As ever, Rodent, you’re talking gibberish. This story is already in the public domain, is *not* self-evidently false, and in any case we’ve given it a prominant “health warning.” It’s quite different from anti-semitic conspiracy theories in that it does, in fact tally with verifiable events that happened in the real world. Our main interest in the story is not so much the “Islamist” angle as the “academies” one. We have no concern about our extremely cautious and responsible coverage of this story, but your reaction is simply…bizarre.

  11. flyingrodent said,

    Looks like you guys missed a trick here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-26375545

    That would’ve been a great opportunity to raise issues that may or may not, in fact, tally with verifiable events that happen in the real world, and may or may not have been reported in the mainstream press. You could’ve looked at it less from the “Islamist” angle, as the “pubs” and “armed forces” angle.

    And when it turned out to be made up EDL nonsense, you could’ve been all like Oh, we were just raising it out of a general concern about creeping sharia or some similar cant, thus immunising yourselves from accusations of pimping bigoted nonsense.

    (On a tangent, I’d point out that this “We are totally just raising this because it’s been reported elsewhere and it kind of seems like it might be a bit credible” tactic is precisely the one that the Harry’s Place bloggers used back when they were claiming that the International Red Cross had bombed one of its own ambulances in order to help Hezbollah and smear the Israelis. Which isn’t to suggest that you’re as bad as the Saucers – you’re not – but you know, it’s not exactly a wholly separate and dissimilar behaviour).

    • Jim Denham said,

      ” you could’ve been all like Oh, we were just raising it out of a general concern about creeping sharia or some similar cant”…

      As I said: gibberish. And rather poorly-expressed gibberish at that.

  12. Rosie said,

    The Saucers were suspicious of this document as it sounded too much like a Shakespearean villain declaring his own villainy. Do entryists ever write so openly of their entryism? I was surprised when the MSM picked it up, not to mention the police.

  13. Rosie said,

    So Islamists are tying dirty tricks to get heads of school ousted to replace them with those of their choosing and local parents are resisting this.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10700041/Muslim-extremists-and-a-worrying-lesson-for-us-all.html

    “The best thing about the Birmingham story, however, is the role of Muslim parents. In many of the schools involved, they appear to have opposed the “Islamisation” agenda and vigorously supported broad, high-quality education for their children. Given the choice between outstanding secular education and mediocre religious education, most Muslim parents, like any other parents, will choose the former. ”

    Has anyone ever come across this kind of attempted entryism into schools for political or religious reasons before?

    • Babs said,

      Not come across that particular type of incident but I do know for a fact some Muslims parents are (or have) put their children into ‘Madrassa’ faith schools instead of State or Private schools in the past where the curriculum is from (and the school funded by) Saudi Arabia. You can imagine the type of things they teach and don’t teach.

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        I can imagine the sort of things you, and other Daily Mail readers (who always know things ‘for a fact’, curiously) might imagine they teach, but I’m pretty sure you did not send your kinds there, right? So you don’t know.

        But let me tell you a few ‘facts’. No schools just decide willy-nilly what to teach – faith or no faith schools. They have to cover a lot of common ground. by law e.g. English, Maths, and just teaching the Koran and Islam would get them closed down quickly, so no “where the curriculum is from Saudi Arabia.”

        That’s not to say schools, if they wish, don’t have time to teach religion – Islam, Christianity, even the arguments of the Plymouth Brethren, in much the same way most of us had our time wasted by schools giving us CoE propaganda. And maybe the odd text from Saudi Arabia gets introduced for just a while in the way that naive secular Heads in Peebles may take some cheap books about religious studies, not realising at first that they are written by a Doomsday Pentecostalism cult operating from a Texas Post Box address.

      • Babs said,

        Southpawpunch

        I know for a fact (100% sure) this did take place. Also you’re right about English, Maths and Science, they were indeed taught along with books from Saudi Arabia. No sex education though.

        The mosque based school teaching these children also like other mosques had Quran lessons during the evening and corporal punishment was employed with parental consent.

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        Babs, it sounds to me like you are confusing voluntary, non-school late afternoon or evening attendance at a Madrassa, with ‘school’. They are the equivalent of (Christian) Sunday Schools.

        Corporal punishment is any such places, as well as a real school is illegal – parental consent or not (which, of course, is not to say it doesn’t happen).

      • Babs said,

        Southpawpunch-

        Not confusing them with Arabic lessons. I know the distinction. Daytime was ‘school time’ while evening was Islamic lessons which involved strict corporal punishment. This is a familiar practice employed against children in UK mosques illegal or not.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15256764

        http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/nov/28/madrasa-teachers-crb-check-safeguard

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        Babs, If you are not confused, then you motives are even more suspect.

        You started off with “put their children into ‘Madrassa’ faith schools instead of State or Private schools in the past where the curriculum is from (and the school funded by) Saudi Arabia…”

        Now, it sounds like you are saying something very different – “put their children into Islam faith schools instead of State or Private schools…and where the curriculum of an (attached?) EVENING Madrassa is from Saudi Arabia.”

        Even the latter would often be inaccurate – Madrassa near here are sometimes ‘Deobandi’ or even ‘Sufi’, neither of which would get Saudi money

      • Babs said,

        What motives could I possibly have?

        Daytime children were taught a ‘curriculum’. It involved the usual English and maths, though thinking about it now not so much science. In addition to English and Maths they were taught the Saudi Arabian curriculum or at least a part of it. Now being in a Mosque naturally prayer came into it, so when time came to pray and read the Quran it happened.

        Evening time was different and quite separate from daytime school. Those who attended daytime school didn’t necessarily have to go to evening madrassa classes and vice versa. Evening was just Islamic/Arabic lessons and corporal punishment was in effect.

        I should’ve mentioned in one persons case I’m going back about 22 odd years here so it’s kind of old news but of course this was pre 9/11 and the world was fixated on the civil war in the former Yugoslavia while the West was very sympathetic towards Bosnian Muslims (this particular mosque gave shelter to Bosnian Muslim refugees). The Western media didn’t really care about Islamism back then as much as it does now.

  14. bkleraggg COCMOMENMutqyteuajtr said,

    If Melanie Philips ran wikileaks it would produce posts like this. Lame as fuck third rate Harry’s Place pish.

    • Jim Denham said,

      So its all just made up, is it? islamists are *not* trying to impose their agenda on schools in Birmingham and elsewhere? Or is it just that, even if they are, it doesn’t matter because the kids who go to these schools don’t deserve a secular education?

  15. Sue R said,

    SPP obviously doesn’t read the papers very closely, otherwise he would know that there have been several attempts to impose Islamic education on secular schools, or to increase the influence of Islam. OFSTED has closed down several Islamic ‘free’ schools for teaching tosh. And, an Islamic school in West London was teaching the official Saudi Arabian syllabus, complete with Saudi textbooks depicting Jews as pigs and apes. An English convert teacher blew the whistle on that one, (after he lost his job), and there was a fuss. So, although I think an actual document is suspicious, I mean who is it written for, how is it circulated etc, there are people with certain intents in their minds.

  16. dagmar said,

    ” OFSTED has closed down several Islamic ‘free’ schools for teaching tosh. ”

    Are you absolutely sure about that? As far as I am aware, only one ‘free’ school has been/is to be closed. Or are you giving the phase ‘free schools’ your own special meaning, and not the standard one? The evening schools etc. are not covered by Ofsted (no more than a Scout troop might be), so they wouldn’t have been closed either.

    The ‘Islamic school’ you mentioned was run by the Saudi Arabian state (see link above), like there might be “British schools” all over the place for ‘western/British kids’ abroad. That doesn’t make it right, but it’s not the same thing as you suggesting.

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