Islamic academy in Birmingham 'used £1m public money' to build Pakistan school

Islamic academy in Birmingham 'used £1m public money' to build Pakistan school
Claims that an Islamic academy in Birmingham used £1 million of British taxpayers’ money to set up a faith school in Pakistan are being investigated by a local authority.

The Al-Hijrah Trust, which runs the Al-Hijrah Islamic school in Birmingham, allegedly used the cash to fund a “sister school” in Ziarat, Pakistan.

The trust that ran the Birmingham school, which caters for around 800 pupils aged between four and 16, also controls a boys-only Pakistani boarding school. It is thought the money has been spent on its construction.

Birmingham City Council is now investigating the school’s finances and the allegations that public cash was used to help fund the school in Pakistan.

It said in a statement: “We have gathered enough information to warrant further investigation into the use of public funds and we continue to work with the relevant statutory agencies.

“If we find anything criminal it will be referred to the police.”

A school insider told the Telegraph: “The school in Birmingham is falling apart, its roof is leaking and there is little space for outdoor play.

“Yet the trust has used £1 million to build a new school in Pakistan. It beggars belief.”

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While the school in Birmingham is in a state of disrepair, the Al-Hijrah boarding school in Pakistan, which opened in 2004, is said to be prospering.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it was aware of the allegations over the use of public money and was liaising closely with the city council to monitor the situation.

“The school is currently in special measures and we have approved the council's choice of interim executive board,” the DfE said.

In June this year the headteacher and governors of the Al-Hijrah Islamic school in Birmingham, including chairman of the governors Waseem Yaqub, were dismissed following financial troubles, including a £900,000 budget deficit.

Al-Hijrah School was taken over by an interim executive board in May after being placed in special measures by Ofsted when it was branded “inadequate” in a damning report.

ICYMI