What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned our government must be strong.
It’s always right and never wrong.
Our leaders are the finest men.
And we elect them again and again.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned that war is not so bad.
I learned of the great ones we have had.
We fought in Germany and in France.
And some day I might get my chance.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.
~ A satirical protest song by Tom Paxton, 1963
Part 1 of the Rockwood Academy Series: Rockwood Academy is run by Trojan Horse Beneficiaries and Endorsed by “Extremists”
In this article, we will examine what is being done to the children at Rockwood Academy, Birmingham, and the implications of the initiatives pupils are being subjected to by the school.
Using the Army to Counter Extremism
Rockwood Academy has implemented a broad but pervasive counter-extremism strategy. There are two planks to the policy: reinforcement of “British values” (as defined by PREVENT) and inoculation against “extremism” through counter-extremism/terrorism workshops.
Stationed permanently at the school is Contingent Commander, Gary Newbrook. According to him,
“The Combined Cadet Force is designed to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and to contribute to their communities and country… This means students developing qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience, which will help them achieve excellence and shape their own future.”
The militarisation scheme has been sold as a way of instilling “British pride” and “British values” – opposition to which makes one an “extremist” under PREVENT – to vaccinate Muslim children against “extremism”. It is supplemented by another initiative called “#Extre(me)” where counter-terrorism and extremism “experts” are visiting the school to talk to children about “online grooming and the tactics used by Islamic and far-right extremists as well as cults to recruit and radicalise young people.”
How have the initiatives manifested thus far?
History and Selective Amnesia
To normalise the presence of the Army, Muslim Army personnel have been used as part of normal school ceremonies. For instance, Year 11 students have had a “graduation” event with a guest speaker, Captain Muhammed MBE, present. Of course, a Muslim face makes the militarisation project palatable.
Military parading sessions have occurred, with children dressed in military fatigues.
The thinking being promoted can be understood by a clip that was published by the Armed Forces Muslim Association and retweeted by Joanne Tyler, the founder of CORE Education which runs Rockwood. The clip shows children being indoctrinated with history that is censored and skewed in favour of Britain’s imperial past. The Tweet itself reads,
“Watch Officer Cadets at Sandhurst find out about the Muslim contribution to WW1 nearly 101years to the day that Khudadad Khan made history.”
The purpose of the video is explained thusly,
“…we need to show Muslims belong and showing Muslim contribution to the Armed Forces is a brilliant way of doing that.”
Dr. Avees Mohammad, of British Futures, continues this narrative:
“One and half million men and women were given by India to the first World War to the British war effort in the first World War… and a third were Muslim.”
The contribution by Avees Mohammad is telling. British Futures is a think-tank that has among its list of trustees Qari Muhammad Asim, who is committed to the faulty, stigmatizing pro-Israel, neoconservative countering violent extremism (CVE) imperial agenda. He is also a senior editor for the Imams Online website, which has been exposed for being connected to CVE as well as RICU, the British government’s propaganda department tasked to project black propaganda discriminatorily toward the Muslim minority. British Futures, in partnership with the deformist Dilwar Hussain’s organisation, New Horizons in British Islam (NHBI), is exploring Muslim contributions to World War I. NHBI sells itself, in its own words, as “a forward-looking organisation that works for reform in Muslim thought and practice”. It hosts a plethora of neocon-linked deformists on discussions about Islam. The organisation also contributed and endorsed a dodgy paper giving flawed guidance to schools about Muslim pupils fasting during Ramadan.
The video also rolls out Imam Asim Hafiz, the Army chaplain who is charged with the task of placating the conscious of Muslims who decide to join the Army. Hafiz adds,
“Shared history goes a long way in making all those communities feel they have a stake in the community in society today”
By his own admission, he joined the Armed Forces at a time when Britain was engaged in offensive wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, which ultimately led to the deaths of Muslim men, women and children.
The argument being presented to children can be boiled down to the following: Muslims can feel inclusive and forge their “Britishness” by reminding themselves of how Muslims died for an imperial power. The part which is excluded from the above rose-tinted, honey-dipped imagery is that they died for an imperial power which ultimately decimated the Ottoman Empire, and created the conditions to end all peace in the Middle East. Conveniently omitted also from this cute pruning of history is how the Muslims of the South Asian land of Hind (India) came to be subjugated by the British. In the words of renowned historian William Dalrymple, East India Company director Charles Grant spoke for the British when he wrote of how he believed providence had brought the British to India for a higher purpose:
“Is it not necessary to conclude that our Asiatic territories were given to us, not merely that we draw a profit from them, but that we might diffuse among their inhabitants, long sunk in darkness, the light of Truth?”
From the fatwa declaring the land of Hind “dar al-harb”, or land of war, by the Islamic scholar Shah Abd-Aziz Dehlawi (d.1824), and the Muslim freedom struggle of 1857 (where the British slaughtered 1400 unarmed civilians), to the “mutinies” instigated by the Muslim soldiers in the imperial army who refused to kill their fellow co-religionists, history is stubborn in its refusal to be sanitised in order artificially architect national identity. Khudaad Khan in the presentation is lauded to Muslim children for earning the Victoria Cross. Khan was of the Rajput family. Are the brainwashers like Imam Hafiz and Aveez Mohammad also going to cover how another group of Rajput Muslims rebelled against their officers? The 5th Light Infantry Regiment stationed in Singapore became aware that they would be sent to fight the Ottoman Muslims. On 15th February 1915, 800 Muslims turned against their officers, killing around 40 British officers and seizing ammunition. The mutineers were executed. In the same year, when the 15th Lancers of the 3rd Indian Division was ordered to fight in Mesopotamia in December 1915 against the Ottoman Muslims, their religious feelings were simmering. They regarded it better to “disobey and even fight here and die for one’s faith than to go to the front and fight against one’s Islamic brothers”. 429 Muslims were punished and sent to the Andaman Island prison camp, better known as “Kala Pani”. This of course reverberated across the Muslim world, with the regiment being eventually disbanded.
The above few examples are also constitutive of “our shared history”. I envisage they will not be recounted as they do not have the overall agenda of increasing the docility and subservience of Muslims.
The second initiative is called #Extre(me). Under this scheme children are meeting counter-terrorism and counter-extremism experts who will discuss “extremism” as well as online radicalisation. In the words of the Principal, Fuzel Choudhury,
“The #Extre(me) initiative is aimed at arming students with the knowledge and understanding to make the best choices to protect both themselves and their community from extremism and radicalisation.”
In other words, the intention of the counter-extremism indoctrination programme at Rockwood is to permeate not only the children but affect their families and the wider community. When one understands that PREVENT is based on looking for “signs” of radicalisation, the school is effectively creating child spies.
The various reports which have covered the initiative are at pains to suggest that both “Islamist extremism” and far-right ideology are being covered, perhaps to intercept and deflect charges of discrimination. However discriminatory it most certainly is. The target is still the Muslim minority.
More disconcerting for parents, however, is that counter-extremism is a bogus pseudo-science that is riddled with academic holes and is dangerous to implement. PREVENT and the notion of countering extremism has been so badly criticised, from the very scientific basis (or lack thereof) of PREVENT to its implementation (see here, here, here, here,), that calls are being made for PREVENT to be scrapped, and globally, the resistance against counter-extremism is growing. Children coming into contact with PREVENT are showing signs of psychological child abuse. Yet, here is a school which is attempting to sell a corrosive policy to pupils and parents as way of achieving success in life. The children of Rockwood, through the subjection of an outrageously failed social engineering programme are being treated like lab rats.
A Fascist, Neoconservative Closed Society Agenda
Nationalism and religion are two of the three pillars of neoconservatism as explained by neocon figurehead Irving Kristol. Following the godfather of neoconservatism, Leo Strauss, Kristol explains that these pillars (religion in particular) are important because it “can shape people’s character and regulate their motivation. Merging nationalism and religion, we have “civic religion”. Per Strauss, civic religion is the “noble lie” necessary to foster “ceremonial of seriousness” which is necessary to cultivate collectivism for a “closed society” in which people self-sacrifice. “British values” are meant to be the symbols and beliefs of a civic religion which unifies people. With neoconservatism driving this policy, it is unsurprising that neocons have drawn on the military to effectuate this agenda. The neocon method of formulating social unification via nationalism is by defining it against an opposition, that is to say a perceived or manufactured enemy. This Manichean and Machiavellian perspective is systemic, as the Canadian academic Shadia Drury explains, the Straussian conception of justice of the state means doing “evil to enemies or outsiders”. With this enemy comes the fearmongering, and against the backdrop of the “threat” (the constant threat of war and enemy) comes the fashioning of society through counter-extremism policies at all levels and leveraging in particular the educational sphere for this cause. For neocons, the education system which promotes glorified history and American-style patriotism is fundamental to the creation of the neocon-ideal citizen who serves, in the words of neocon Carnes Lord, “the interests of the state as a whole”. The purpose ultimately is to create a people who are hardworking, believe in and worship the civic religion of “British values”, are willing to follow commands of the state and give their lives readily for the state. In such a society, neoconservative statesman can easily exercise the grand political task of statecraft to control lives and pursue endless wars. The state thus envisaged is one which is more in common with the principles outlined in Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile’s “Doctrine of Fascism”, than the “Night Watchman”, individual-based, small state modelled on the understanding of John Locke or Thomas Jefferson.
Combining a closely managed, centralised education-system courtesy of the schools Academisation programme, with policies like the “British values” counter-extremism agenda produces echoes which hark back to Nazi-era controlled education. Hitler’s views on education were also concerned with reshaping of values, creation of national identity in addition to “racial awareness” and increased militarisation. The uncanny resemblance is unsurprising given the intellectual proximity between Strauss and Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt.
Rockwood Academy’s Neoconservatism
Rockwood Academy exemplifies the various aspects of neoconservatism outlined above.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon unashamedly professed what are clearly neoconservative ideas. In his speech on Rockwood, he spoke of British values in direct opposition to the Islamic practice of sex separation (i.e the “enemy”).
“'(It is) a phoenix from the ashes of a ‘Trojan Horse’ school that is now instilling British values, instead of promoting religious segregation.’”
To be clear, the claim that there was “religious segregation” being promoted at the school is unsubstantiated and has been rejected by Tahir Alam, the school’s former Chair of Governors. In this manner, Fallon has also demonstrated the neoconservative propensity to deceive.
He repeats the Manichean juxtaposition whilst elaborating and therefore connecting it the purpose of “instilling British values”:
“It has been turned around completely and instead of promoting religious segregation, today, as a new academy, it is instilling British values with a school cadet unit that will parade this afternoon, serving the Queen and country.“
“Helping people develop skills that benefit our military – setting set them up for better careers in civilian life.”
In other words, like Nazi Germany and other authoritarian regimes, the programmes are designed to forge men and women whom “serve Queen and country” and “benefit our military”. The impact of such education is conformity to state policies decided by a fascist neoconservative elite, turning patriotism into government compliance. Mindlessly killing, so antithetical to the CVE project, becomes a virtue if it is for the state and the metaphysic of contrived nationalism.
Imposing a radical form of a reconstituted national identity requires the disintegration of historical, cultural, and the religious aspects of the target community. In this regard, Maajid Nawaz’s Times piece on Rockwood Academy is fitting. Steeped in the dye of colonialism and colouring Islam and Muslims with various social problems, Nawaz effectively referred to a need to fracture the Muslim identity and dissolve history:
“Any artificial desire to preserve the past was not only bound to fail but was destined to fail minorities primarily. Instead of defining communities by their religious identity, we must support policies which encourage diversity between groups but within and among groups.”
Nationalism as well as the political religion of British values precisely achieves this. History and religion is good as along as it produces Muslims that serve the state and military and are prepared to kill and be killed for the Queen and country.
Rockwood Academy as well as CORE Education is at the cutting edge of this neoconservative, authoritarian, colonialist social engineering programme. It is a school that is producing docile subjects, not citizens, whom are being conditioned through education and training to be willingly regulated politically.
It is for the public to bear in mind that Muslims are the canary in the mine-shaft. The implementation of the policy will spread. Do we really want the next generation of people raised as drones unquestioningly complying with a neoconservative state with fascist, warmongering tendencies? Do we want to live in a closed society? Or is it time that this state-backed pedagogical persecution is rejected and resisted?
 Singh, G., The Testimonies of Indian Soldiers and the Two World Wars, Bloomsbury Academic: London, 2014, p.122