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: A Leadership of Warmongering, Racist Demonisers of Muslims and proponents of Militarism

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NOTE: Since writing the last piece, which garnered thousands of hits, Facebook has locked my coolnessofhind account. The only way Facebook allows me to unlock it is to provide a photo id – a passport, driving license or a marriage certificate. I find this very strange, and refuse to provide these highly personal details especially to a dubious corporation like Facebook. I have therefore set up a second FB account. Please add/join me there.


Tauheedul Islam Boys High School, run by Star Academies, was reported in the Times as having started a cadet force, to the strange glee of Star Academies Chief Executive Mufti Hamid Patel. This piece is the second in a series examining Star Academies, how it got to a point where it is celebrating an agenda to militarise young Muslim children, and what it is subjecting Muslim children to.

In the previous piece, it was shown how Star Academies – previously known as Tauheedul Educational Trust – had entrenched neoliberal and neoconservative policies from the outset of their free schools journey. Hamid Patel, had passionately defended the free schools neoliberalisation agenda, supported Michael Gove when he departed as Secretary of State for Education, and maintained what seems like a mutually beneficial relationship between neoliberal elements of the government and Star Academies.

In this section, I will continue to examine Star Academies to better understand the Trust’s recent moves.

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A Civilizational Threat? Hurricanes, Ideologies and PREVENT

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On the 25th of August, Hurricane Harvey struck areas in and around the US leaving 71 confirmed deaths and an estimated economic loss approaching $180 billion dollars – eclipsing Katrina – in its wake. Five days later a tropical cyclone developed into the category 5 “Hurricane Irma”, hitting the Atlantic basin and unleashing destruction.  With Irma now weakening as I write, its carnage has taken at least 24 lives, with a further five people perishing in the US.  Major cities including Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina have been flooded, leaving millions without power.

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An Alternative to PREVENT? A Pre-Crime Perspective

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PREVENT continues to attract significant criticism.  A northern-based human rights organisation – JUST Yorkshire – is to launch a report supported by the Open Foundation on the 29th of August.  It concludes that PREVENT is built on a “foundation of Islamophobia and racism”, with a “reliance on stereotypes”, contributing to a “climate of fear”, self-censorship and discrimination.  These are findings which are have been repeated through the years by, academics, organisations like CAGE and SACC, and reported by teaching and student unions. In this piece, contrary to the PREVENT propaganda pumped by the Home Office, it will be shown that these are natural outcomes based on inhering conceptual problems.

I found the title of this soon-to-be published report particularly interesting however.  The title “Rethinking PREVENT: A Case for an Alternative Approach” plays on the trends that see efforts to develop “an alternative to PREVENT”, which is community-owned.  It is my assertion that there is no “alternative approach” to PREVENT, be it ostensibly rooted in the community, civil society or the state. Further, it is not PREVENT that requires a rethink because it is symptom of a much bigger problem.  It is the injection of “pre-crime” into laws, policies and the criminal justice system as a whole.  It is the encroaching sceptre of pre-crime that is producing new risks and threats across society that not only needs to be re-thought, but arrested and reversed – de-precriminalised if you will. And it is in this vain that I endeavour to critique the misguided call for a “community-based” response to the state-defined threat of terrorism.

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Countering Terrorism with the MCB

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study published in the Journal of Neuroscience some years ago provided insight into learning and in particular, learning from one’s mistakes. The study found that good learners demonstrated greater neural activity and would use feedback not only to check their past performance, but also to adjust their next performance accordingly.

From an Islamic perspective, of course, this not exactly a ground-breaking discovery.  The Qur’an encourages believers to take stock of history in an admonitory fashion:

“Has the news of those before you not reached you – the nation of Nuh, Aad, and Thamud?”[1]

Well before Foucault was exploring the concept of the “technologies of the self”, Islam had encouraged individual spiritual accountability by pondering over one’s deeds and actions.  Reflection is key to forging ahead in a manner where mistakes are not repeated. It contextualises the succinct narration of the Prophet, peace be upon, found in Bukhari,

“The believer is not stung from the same hole twice”.

This brings us neatly to recent events involving the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).  The MCB’s behaviour has been somewhat strangely masochistic, enjoying an impending second sting with open arms.

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Cameronialist Attacks on the Veil

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“The colonialist administration invested great sums in this combat. After it had posited that the woman constituted the pivot of Algerian society, all efforts were made to obtain control over her.”

 “This woman who sees without being seen frustrates the coloniser”

 ~ Frantz Fanon

“When you’re in a position of power for a long time you get used to using your yardstick, and you take it for granted that because you’ve forced your yardstick on others, that everyone is still using the same yardstick. So that your definition of extremism usually applies to everyone, but nowadays times are changing, and the center of power is changing. People in the past who weren’t in a position to have a yardstick or use a yardstick of their own are using their own yardstick now. You use one and they use another. In the past when the oppressor had one stick and the oppressed used that same stick, today the oppressed are sort of shaking the shackles and getting yardsticks of their own, so when they say extremism they don’t mean what you do, and when you say extremism you don’t mean what they do. There are entirely two different meanings.”

~ Malcolm X

Unable to tolerate cultural heterogeneity, the racist David Cameron followed up his Michael Gove-inspired Macaulayism with colonialist calumnies to yet again apply the full brachial force of “muscular liberalism” upon the Muslim woman, and more specifically, the even smaller minority in which resides the veiled Muslim woman.  Bravo Mr Cameron! Your machismo impresses.

Cameron announced plans to allow public institutions to ban women from wearing veils in schools, courts and other British institutions. Whilst actually presenting nothing substantially new in terms of proposals, it did release a torrent of self-righteous fulminations and liberal rectitude, as a piece of fabric was attacked from the biodegradable “liberal” left to the nuke “Eye-ran” right in the comment sections of various spreads. Which is fantastic news for a minority that is already being physically and verbally attacked on the streets of Britain.

Following Cameron’s disgraceful demagoguery was Gove’s politically incestuous ideological mate Michael Wilshaw.

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Dual Loyalties and the Threat to Britain Part I – Orchestrating the Labour Divide

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Cameron in his New Year message demanded that if people “walk our streets, learn our schools, benefit from our society, you sign up to our values. Freedom. Tolerance. Responsibility. Loyalty.”

With the government regularly eroding civil liberties, consistently targeting Islamic beliefs, dogwhistling the far-right, and courting murderous dictators from around the world, the call for enlistment to the values of freedom, tolerance and responsibility evidences empty, hypocritical rhetoric; demagogic words to which the elite feel unbound by.

“Loyalty”, is the aspect however, which will be the focus of this series. I want my readers to place in the back of their mind the question, who indeed is Cameron and his neoconservative syndicate “loyal” to?

To answer this, we will begin by analysing Jeremy Corbyn’s predicament.

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