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.