Leaked inspectors report: UK schools discriminate against non-Muslims
The report released by the inspectors from the Department for Education focuses on three Birmingham’s schools, including Park View School, a secondary school with an academy status, Golden Hillock School, also an academy and Nansen Primary School.
The Park View School practiced forced sex segregation as “boys [were] sitting towards the front of the class and girls at the back or around the sides” despite the school’s claims that such separation was voluntary, says the report.
“Students told us they were required to sit in the places which they were given by teachers,” add the inspectors, saying that this method (of sex segregation) is considered to be “non-compliance with the Equality Act” and is “less favorable treatment for girls.”
The school was missing many “un-Islamic” elements from the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) syllabus and the subjects were formed “to comply with conservative Islamic teaching.”
Park View also encourages to “begin and end each lesson with a prayer.” The call for prayer was broadcast via loudspeakers across the school, says the report.
School officials at Park View have invited Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman, an extremist preacher “known to extol... the stoning of homosexuals, anti-Semitic views [and is] sympathetic to Al-Qaeda,” according to the report.
"Non-Muslims" have to teach themselves
Golden Hillock school banned any discussion of sexual orientation or intimacy, a move which highly affected “the broad and balanced teaching of many subjects, including art and English literature.”
Christian and non-Muslim students also suffered discrimination, add the inspectors as many Christian students at school “have to teach themselves” in one GCSE subject after the teacher “concentrated on the students who were doing the Islamic course.”
The only primary school among them was Nansen where 10-11-year-old children were not taught arts, humanities or music while Arabic was a compulsory subject for all the children.
The biology classes at all three schools were also changed according to Islamic values. The biology teacher “briefly delivered the theory of evolution to comply with the syllabus,” and explained to the children that “this is not what we believe,” a child from one of the schools told the inspectors.
“Topics such as body structure and the menstrual cycle were not covered in class, though pupils needed them for the GCSE exam . . . students told us that as Muslims they were not allowed to study matters such as reproduction with the opposite sex,” wrote the inspectors.
According to the report, all three schools were in reality ruled by Tahir Alam, a chair of governors at the Park View School academy and a leading activist of the Muslim Council of Britain. Alam had an “inappropriate day-to-day role in the running of the schools” and received undeclared payments from them as a “consultant,” the report says.
“Rude and dismissive” attitude towards ‘non-Muslim staff’
Meanwhile, the schools also reorganized their teaching staff according to Islamic standards. According to the report, school chiefs filled leading positions at schools with close relatives, who had no teaching experience. So teaching standards as well as children’s safety were put at risk, says the report.
Female staff at one of the schools were also treated in a “rude and dismissive” way.“"One of the senior leaders [at Nansen] interviewed reported that she had never met a governor or been invited to a governing body meeting, although the male senior leader with similar responsibilities was invited to every meeting,” says the report.
Park View’s non-Muslim executive head teacher, Lindsey Clark, had been marginalized and reduced to a figurehead. The governors of the school said that she was “was unaware of the names of some of the more recent appointments to the senior leadership team.” In March Clark said that Park View established an “all-female madrasah” type of education, a specific type of religious school or college for the study of the Islamic religion. She retired at the beginning of April.
The governors at Nansen appointed the brother of a convicted terrorist as a deputy head teacher. Razwan Faraz “was appointed deputy only three years after [achieving] qualified teacher status,” the report says. Faraz is an administrator of the Educational Activists group, which is calling for an “Islamising agenda” in Birmingham schools.
Meanwhile, the shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, is prepared to attack those who promote religious values on secular schools on Saturday.
“We cannot have narrow, religious motives which seek to divide and isolate dictating state schooling. We cannot have head teachers forced out, teachers undermined, curricula rewritten and cultural or gender-based segregation,” he said at NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) union conference in Birmingham.
In March, Birmingham city council started investigating the allegations that a group of radical Muslims were attempting to islamize Birmingham schools. A leaked letter to Birmingham City Council outlined a plan called ‘Operation Trojan Horse,’ which aimed at “taking over” at least four schools in areas of the city with large Muslim populations.
According to the letter, a group of radical Muslims was trying to oust head teachers and secretly turn schools into Muslim academies based on Salafi Islam principles. Salafis strictly adhere to religious traditions of the seventh century rather than 21st century realities. The movement has been linked to some terrorist groups around the world.
Alam, who was accused of being one of the plotters, said that the letter was “a malicious fabrication and completely untrue.”
The Department for Education and Birmingham City Council agreed to investigate the letter, although West Midlands Police decided that it was not a matter for them.
Meanwhile, the probe into Birmingham schools has widened. According to the reports, released from Thursday, at least 25 schools in the city are now under investigation.