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”.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, since writing the previous blog, has additionally contributed her cries to another Guardian article. The report, ridiculously biased in its tone, continues to give the anti-Muslim head teacher space to air her unsubstantiated claims, without presenting too much of stern test of verification.
A Distraction from the Contentions Against Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson
Let me make this clear: most of the article is a deflection of the legitimate contentions I have raised against Hewitt-Clarkson’s bombastic claims. Nevertheless, I will entertain this distraction because the Trojan Hoax allegations are still being used to give credence to the totalitarian “extremism” policy announced yesterday. Theresa May, an extremist by her own definition, cited it an interview with the Beeb in which she failed to provide examples of the now widely criticised “extremism” policy would be applied. The Trojan Hoax farce was a pretext for these ridiculous measures; journalists and blustering, opportunistic teachers would do well to take note.
The Guardian article summons the powers of spin to discredit not only me (in the words of the neocon Michael Gove’s lackey Peter Clarke, “Islamist blogosphere” – what?! Now I’m an Islamist?!), but the cross-party Education Select Committee inquiry into the Trojan Hoax allegations, which found no “extremism”, bar one incident. I have clarified this one incident, but hey, why would the Guardian or any other paper regurgitating Clarke’s diatribe give a damn about the nuances when it comes to smearing Muslims. The Peter Clarke being quoted knew exactly what this one incident was; that it was allegedly PREVENT material being copied at the behest of PREVENT officers, yet he still sought to only note that the existence of an “Al-Qaeda video” at the school was “disputed” by Park View Trust.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, Head Teacher of Anderton Park School
It seems as though my previous blog has triggered some activity around the anti-Muslim head of Anderton Park School. The Birmingham Mail published an article reporting that the police were now “supporting” Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, who, as I highlighted, claimed that parents petitioning against what they deemed objectionable teaching material, dead animals in schools and a death threat (received as a text message in one report, and on Facebook in another), were evidence of the Trojan Hoax lies resurgent.
I requested evidence for these disparate claims, specifically, that these incidents were connected directly to the Trojan Hoax allegations as paraded at the NAHT Conference and subsequently in national newspapers.
I brought attention to the Guardian article which noted that West Midlands Police had no record of a complaint about the death threat being lodged at the time the claim was made, despite NAHT/Hewitt-Clarkson’s claims to the contrary. I requested a crime reference number as evidence that a complaint had been made at the time.
The fact that the police are now “supporting” Hewitt-Clarkson still does not remove the above contentions. If anything it makes the opportunistic head’s “Trojan Horse” claims all the more vacuous.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, Head of Anderton Primary School
The conclusions of the Education Select Committee regarding its investigation into the Trojan Hoax were unequivocal: there was no extremism, nor any takeover plot in Birmingham schools.
There was one incident, however as I have clarified, the fingers point back at a PREVENT officer using the school’s facility to copy over counter-extremism material. Despite this, Michael Gove’s buddy Peter Clarke and his report continue to be cited (see here and here), even though the report is riddled with issues: absence of corroborated evidence, ignorance of competing statements, (This bit here doesn’t make sense: those making claims were perpetuating them same but these issues were ignored) because they were not Muslim, and the commissioner of the report possessing an ideological hatred of Islam.
One would think that those teachers who saw the opportunity and obfuscated their personal vendettas with smears stereotypically implicating the Muslim community would perhaps learn their lesson, and not drag the demagogic terms “Trojan Horse” back onto the agenda. When it comes to one particular head teacher though, beating a neoconservative dead donkey is the order of the day.