A Summary of the Concerns around Star Academies Schools

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NOTE: I have updated this article with a sample letter than can be used by parents to send to Star Academies in order to highlight their concerns. The sample letter is available at the bottom of this article.


As years progress there does seem to be growing sections of Muslims that uncritically co-opt policies without the level of critical scrutiny usually reserved for endless, centuries old “debates” on the finer points aqida or indeed, in the context of the deformation of Islam brigade, the very essence of Islam itself.

If only this level of concern and hair-splitting was directed to the interactions of certain philosophies, policies and schemes that seek to reconstitute our sense of value of Islam, its place in our hearts and in society at large.

This indifference, or perhaps, plain ignorance of such policies, their aims, and impact on the faith of our future generation, has led many to adopt them. A post War on Terror world saw Muslim organisations and Islamic scholars themselves adopting Muslim-specific, state-defined policies around terrorism and loyalty. They engaged in identity-restructuring topics like integration, selective, British-empire-friendly history, legality of joining the army, and a plethora of assaults on the Islamic regulations. This indifference has a consequence: stripping of agency to develop and prioritise one’s own discourse and internalising a demonised identity, collective guilt and hatred which cyclically reproduces and perpetuates discriminatory treatment.

It is self-destructive.

This attitude to policies and their implications seems to be observed by Star Academies, formerly known as Tauheedul Educational Trust.

With noble intentions, Islamic principles and successful academic outcomes, Taudeedul should be lauded. However, when such schools are repeatedly thrust forth by biased media and the government through an Islam-related, agenda-driven lens to the British population as model success stories, scrutiny is not only inevitable, it is necessary.

In the case of Star Academies, this scrutiny is long overdue.

November last year, the Times reported that the CEO of Star Academies, Mufti Hamid Patel, was excited to launch a cadet unit at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS).

Whilst many Muslims expressed consternation over such an overture, what was largely ignored was the shocking trajectory of the Trust over the years. In addition to this, the people involved, and the current activities have also escaped critical scrutiny.

This piece summarises the three detailed pieces which examine these themes and concerns.

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Star Academies – Tauheedul Islam or Tauheedul Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism?

 A report last month triggered some consternation in Muslim circles. On the 26th of November, Star Academies – formerly, Tauheedul Educational Trust – was reported in the Times as having started an army cadet force at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS). It recorded a celebratory statement from the Star Academies chief executive Hamid Patel:

“They have recently been reflecting on the 400,000 Muslims who fought alongside the British Army for freedom during World War I…. So the launch of the cadet unit at TIBHS will be particularly poignant… We are excited that this will be the first cadet unit in the country established by a Muslim faith school.”

The report added that “local mosque leaders” had “given their blessing” to the militarisation of children and was being supported by parents and governors.

On the same day, a companion leading article with the subtitle “Cadet forces at Islamic schools could help to make the army more diverse” was also published in the same paper.  Both articles framed the news with three themes:

  1. “improving relations with Muslim communities”
  2. Selective history where Muslims are only seen to die for a dying British empire
  3. The army’s inability to “recruit from the Muslim community”.

The report was reproduced in a regional media outlet and the Asian ImageThe latter report usefully shared tweets from Star Academies and TIBHS’s Twitter accounts. Star Academies stated that they were “proud that [TIBHS] had become the first Islamic Faith School in the UK to start an army cadet force”.  TIBHS’s tweet claimed it was a “milestone”. The report also showed a Tweet from the racist Home Secretary Sajid Javid sharing the Times report declaring it to be “wonderful”.

There are deeply problematic issues with the activities of Star Academies and the psychological projects it is subjecting Muslim children to.  Pertinently, the Trust exemplifies a dangerous concoction of neoliberal and neoconservative policies.

In this piece, we will examine how the Star Academies has formed this troubling trajectory which has led to a disconcerting endpoint.

The trend is seeded in the period of 2011/12 when submissions were made to turn TIBHS into an academy. This was followed by waves of free school submissions. The submission forms reveal an insight into how Tauheedul has been pandering to detrimental policies from the outset.

Tauheedul states that it is “inspired by Deobandi Sunni Muslim values”. What will become apparent is that these set of values are not the only ones touted.

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Queen’s Speech: An Attempt to Cement the Neoconservative “Closed Society”

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Much commentary has been written on the Counter-Extremism Bill. The journalist Dilly Hussain has done a comprehensive article addressing the key points of the Bill. CAGE has published a blog which neatly highlights the excessive, hypocritical, dangerous and completely unnecessary nature of the proposals. The organisation has further published a point by point breakdown of whatever ambiguous information has been thus far provided.

There are few articles which delve into the noxious nature of the Extremism measures on this blog too:

A Critical Overview of the Counter Extremism Strategy

Counter Extremism Strategy “Really is Counter-Islamic Strategy”

On Extremism Disruption Orders

Will the UK Government’s Counter-Extremism Programme Criminalise Dissent? (Arun Kundnani)

In this blog, I would like to elucidate some additional noteworthy points and arguments on the measures.  I will also focus on other proposals, which seem at first to be disconnected to the Extremism Bill, yet also foster the neoconservative closed society.

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