A few days ago, I noticed a particular piece on my blog all of sudden receiving an increased number of hits. This blog highlighted allegations being made by teachers/parents at Al-Hijrah School – a Muslim faith school with an Islamic ethos based in Birmingham, which had its Muslim governing body purged by the Birmingham City Council and replaced with non-Muslims, and which has subsequently suffered allegations of deceitful practices and corruption. The allegations made by teachers/parents were against the interim head teacher Graham Hardy, then principal of Calthorpe Academy. What could have happened? Were changes being instituted at the school once again?
To recap, in October 2014, I reported that Hardy, who at the time had taken charge of Al-Hijrah School, allegedly threatened children as young as 6 and 7, that if they did not behave, then he would “chop off” their heads, and on another occasion, chop/pull off their ears. Parents claimed Hardy had admitted to this, but submitted that the comments were “in jest”. Inspector Paul Dutton of West Midlands graced the blog with his comment to clarify that this allegation had been investigated, and no criminal offences had been found. Of course, finding a crime on the one hand, and inappropriate conduct for a person of trust transgressing the school’s safeguarding measures are two separate things. The absence of the first cannot preclude the latter. There was a media blackout regarding the allegation, despite reporters from BBC and other outlets being notified and, I am told, taking interviews from Muslim parents. Clearly a white, non-Muslim threatening little children with beheading is not as thrilling as Muslim teachers having views which neocons judge to be “opposing British values”.
Of pertinence are the two other allegations which parents and teachers, in a climate of fear and intimidation, had raised. The first related to sexual harassment of female Muslim teachers through denigration of Islam, and the second alleged possible inappropriate touching young girls.
Approximately a year and half on, it seems these latter allegations may have some criminal substance.
A few nights ago, sources in Birmingham forwarded me a letter (dated 14th of April) which was given to parents from Calthorpe Academy. It informed parents that the previous principal had been arrested from Kettering, Northamptonshire, on charges of “sexual assault on adults” and “suspicion of possessing of indecent images” of children and was now released on conditional bail. The letter cited West Midlands Police which further stated that the investigation by police did not affect pupils at Calthorpe Academy.
Given that I was pretty much sure but not certain this letter referred to Graham Hardy, I awaited further verification. This came in the form a singular report in the Birmingham Mail, which reiterated the above but not much else.
Could part of the investigation be triggered by allegations from Al-Hijrah School?
As of writing, the Birmingham Mail is the only media outlet to have reported this. One can imagine the outrage, the public debates, and the blaming of the man’s faith through suggestive linguistics by media pundits, commentators and hateful neocon ideologues, that would occur had the head been a Muslim. Failure in investigating the said Muslim teacher earlier would be blamed on Muslims also as the white officials“feared” being labelled Islamophobic.
Whilst the mainstream media registers barely a whimper regarding this report, my sources will be investigating this further to determine whether the specific allegations in the context of Al-Hijrah School against Hardy were indeed followed up.
Watch this space.