Throughout my blogs on this farce of epic proportions that has been the Trojan Hoax, I have repeatedly highlighted that despite issues in governance, there has been a discriminatory tone and treatment punctuating the discourse specifically targeting the Muslim minority, architecting a perception that governance-related issues, “nepotism” and other allegations were exclusively a Muslim problem.
As evidenced, nothing has been further from the truth. Similar allegations against, white, Riverside Church-linked evangelical teachers have been made which in turn has indicated towards a coordinated effort on the part of those, like Karen Slater, formerly of Golden Hillock School (one of the Park View Schools which was scrutinised) and Tim Boyes of Queensbridge School, to malign the Muslim community of Birmingham. This has fed into an even broader possible plot which would benefit Tim Boyes’ Birmingham Education Partnership in the form of a contract to train governors, a suggestion born from the Peter Clarke report.
I didn’t expect all these revelations of allegations made in my previous blogs to be discussed in the “debate” by the BBC entitled, What Faith in Our Schools? I, perhaps naively, thought there would be a sufficient analysis of the counter-narrative, a critique of the reports and even a call for investigations into the authorship of the Trojan Hoax letter, which has caused so much damage to community cohesion and placed undue stress on schools at the expense of achievement of the pupils. However, the opening presentation of the “debate” set the tone which was maintained throughout the programme, as it downplayed the protests from parents and schools as “some” describing the ridiculous scrutiny as a “witch-hunt”. If anything, my sources who have been present in the meetings for various campaigns against Michael Gove’s anti-Muslim war against schools, have confirmed that the community at large has been very disturbed and firm in the rebuke of this targeted discrimination.
Adrian Goldberg opened up the discussion with the following incredibly misleading sentence:
“It follows those revelations that certain Muslim governors have been attempted to impose a strict Islamic ethos in schools which supposed to be secular state schools.”
Secular state schools? The Education Act 1993 mandates collective worship of a “broadly Christian character”. Furthermore, there is a provision which allows for an exemption from Christian collective worship for other faiths so that the collective worship is “appropriate to the family backgrounds of the pupils” and this is to be done after a consultation with the governing body. Clearly, for Muslims even following the law has its problems.
Whilst Liam Nolan, who seemed to be there to sell academy schools, was allowed to ramble on about how fantastic his school is, whenever the counter-narrative arguments were presented, the person raising the points was either cut-off, or the context was changed soon after the comment had been made. Two (non-Muslim) individuals highlighted the fact that the issues raised have occurred in other areas (north Birmingham) yet these points were ignored by the host. The comments by Mohammed Shafique which critically dealt blows to the “reports” by highlighting a contradiction between them were skirted swiftly as an “interesting point” by the presenter, whilst lies pedalled by, rather disturbingly, the presenter, were treated as truth and the conversation based on this pursued. Andrew Gilligan’s favourite parent Mohammed Zabar was allowed to freely regurgitate the same lies regarding Oldknow Academy, which when refuted by Shabina Bano, a parent, was suppressed by the presenter.
The presenter highlighted from the Kershaw report that there was a “culture of fear” of being labelled Islamophobic, which Bridget Jones of the Birmingham City Council concurred with. As I have highlighted before, this convenient get-out clause seems to be invoked by public bodies who have failed in their duties. It allows for the Council to “pass the buck” to a minority which is already facing the bigoted force of the neocon agenda against Islam and Muslims. The reality is that such rhetoric nothing but accentuates the failure by the Council as it stumblingly looks for an excuse to mitigate its failings, of which there have been many.
One interesting point coming out of the discussion, which I was unaware of, was that the Right Reverend David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, helped draft-up the Kershaw report. “The aim was to establish facts”, the Bishop stated. Quite clearly the “facts” were only one- Christian and white -sided. I have been able to examine some of the evidence which was submitted to both the Clark and the Kershaw investigations and can emphatically say that they were not addressed and completely ignored. It seems the alleged evangelical Christian-coordinated plot ran to the upper echelons of the investigation. Why on earth was a Bishop drafted in to assist in the drawing up of a report investigating claims made in a fabricated letter written allegedly by evangelical Christians, whose main target was the Muslim minority?
This is but one of the many questions which I will soon be investigating. The “debate”, which admittedly was better at getting some of the counter-narrative across missed out some critical points. The things that were not discussed:
- Jewish schools not preparing children for the wider world (hence Muslim minority discrimination)
- The authorship of the Trojan Horse letter,
- The alleged nepotism and financial mismanagement by Christian, evangelical teachers and governors,
- Evangelical takeover plots,
- The “orchestrated” effort by neocons to wage a war through their investigations,
- That the statements, as highlighted by a parent, Naeem Yousef in the BBC debate, were not sworn, cross-verified statements,
- How the statements given in defence were completely ignored by both Clarke and Kershaw.
It remains to be seen whether further discussions on the Trojan Hoax plot explore these points.