The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed alarm at reports of a campaign by Islamic fundamentalists in Birmingham to take control of a number of schools with no religious character. Details of ‘Operation Trojan Horse’ have come to light after a letter was leaked to the Sunday Times and Birmingham Mail, triggering investigations by both the Council and West Midlands Police. The revelations follow earlier allegations surrounding one of the schools, Park View Community School, which are being investigated by both the Department for Education and Ofsted, who are currently conducting an emergency inspection of the school.
The Mail reports that the letter outlines ‘alleged successful plots being carried out against a number of Birmingham headteachers. The documents also give a step-by-step guide for targeting other under-performing schools with dirty tricks methods, involving the spreading of lies about the school heads. Once forced out, hard-line Muslim supporters move in and push through plans to make the schools academies.’ Once converted to Academies, the schools can be run independently of local authority control, with the Islamists imposing their values on them.
The letter advises, ‘Identify any Salafi parents within the school community. They are always the most committed to the faith and are hardliners in that regard and once charged up they keep going for longer. When the parents have been identified, we start to turn them against the head teacher 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 4 parents to disrupt the whole school, to send in complaints to question their child’s education and to contact their MP and local authority.’
It goes on, ‘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.’
One school, Adderley Primary School, is being investigated for fraud after four staff members claimed employee resignation letters had been faked. The matter was initially investigated last year and the case is now being re-opened as a result of the letter. One member of staff is also taking the school to the Employment Tribunal.
And at Satley School and Regents Park Community Primary School, heads quit in the autumn after concerns over ‘lack of trust’ between leadership and governors, in the former case, and allegations of cheating in SATs, in the latter case. However, both schools are named in the letter as being targets. The letter, which pre-dates Satley’s head’s resignation, says that he would ‘soon be sacked’.
Meanwhile, Park View Academy has faced a wide range of allegations, such as that non-Muslim staff have been sidelined, and Islamic studies is being taught.
The letter claims that ‘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. 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.’
BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘If any of these allegations are true then that is deeply concerning. We are glad that this matter is being investigated by the Council, Police, Government and Ofsted, and hope that any such behaviour is put a stop to. It is vitally important that no school discriminates against pupils or staff on the basis of faith, but instead that every school is equally welcome to all, regardless of religion or belief.’
For further comment or information contact BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal on 0773 8435059 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/faith-schools
View the BHA’s table of types of school with a religious character: https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/schools-with-a-religious-character.pdf
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.