Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Birmingham Islamists Take a Gramscian Turn.

with 13 comments

School sign composite image

Birmingham Islamists  battling for Hegemony over Civil Society.

Salafists  have,  like other religious groups, for-profit businesses, people with a self-appointed mission to run schools and bigots (not a term excluding the former categories )taken advantage of  the government’s education policies.

“The academy status, as promoted by schools minister Michael Gove, allows them to be run out of the control of the local authority, with funding provided direct from central Government.”

So no surprise that, “Leaked letter suggests Salafi parents be enlisted to help as they adhere to a more orthodox form of Islam.”

From their strategy document on how to mobilise support,

‘The only way to do this is to tell each parent that the school is corrupting their children with sex education, teaching about homosexuals, making their children pray Christian prayers and mixed swimming and sport.

‘If you can get them to be very vocal in the playground as they drop off or pick up their children that will stir up other parents.

‘The parents MUST be given direction and told not to discuss this with anyone, you only need a maximum of four parents to disrupt the whole school, to send in complaints to question their child’s education and to contact their MP and local authority.’

The story so far….(Birmingham Mail)

An alleged plot by Islamic fundamentalists to take over Birmingham schools by ousting headteachers and staff through dirty tricks campaigns is being investigated by education chiefs.

The city council and the Birmingham Mail have received documents which purport to show Jihadists are targeting schools and orchestrating false allegations against staff, including non-Muslims, in an operation dubbed Trojan Horse.

Meanwhile, West Midlands Police have reopened a fraud investigation at one school named in the supposed leaked letter – and Ofsted is currently conducting a snap inspection at another.

The documents claim to be leaked written correspondence from one Birmingham fundamentalist to another in Bradford and details plans to roll out Trojan Horse to Bradford as well as Manchester.

The letter states some Birmingham headteachers have already been forced out and predicts others will follow.

**Police probe ‘fake letters’ at school as two heads named in document quit**

Meanwhile, police have confirmed to the Birmingham Mail that a fraud investigation has been reopened at Adderley Primary School after the documents came to light. It is understood the investigation centres on allegations of ‘faked’ resignation letters.

Both schools were named in the documents, along with Saltley School.

The documents claim former Saltley headmaster Balwant Bains would ‘soon be sacked’. In fact, the much respected principal resigned last November after a damning Ofsted report criticised his “dysfunctional” relationship with governors.

An alleged plot to oust headteacher Tina Ireland at Regents Park Community School by ‘planting the seed’ of SATs cheating allegations is also detailed in the documents.

The long-serving and respected teacher and her deputy, Michelle McCusker, resigned in October after education chiefs scrapped the primary school’s SATs results following cheating allegations.

The Guardian adds,

The alleged plot was condemned by Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, a group which aims to promote active Muslim engagement in British society. He said: “The contents of this document are very disturbing. On the face of it this would appear to be part of a radical agenda by a tiny yet highly committed group of activists to impose their very conservative and bleak vision of Islamic teachings in our schools by fomenting division and distrust against the existing school leadership. It constitutes highly objectionable and unethical behaviour.”

More reports: Independent, Daily Mail, BBC.


13 Responses

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  1. My suspicion is that the issue is a set-up.

    It would be the easiest thing in the world for anti-Muslims to fake such.

    Note the giveaway – the docs are reported to mention events planned for future and which happened, such as heads sacked. That would be impressive, save the docs were sent in AFTER these events, like someone now discovering a 1962 Cuban memo saying we will shoot JFK next November.

    Even if it was true, how could it possibly work – you manage to get a head sacked through false allegations (tough, but may be possible) but then how would you get your person in place – control the appointment panel, nobble the LEA advisor, ensure a suitable candidate. It would just be pipe dream of a small group of reactionaries.

    There is a whole sad, sordid history of secret revealed documents, from how the Jews are going to take over the world (Protocols of Zion) to ‘ CPGB – ferment a revolution’ (Zioniev letter) right through to pathethic examples I would sometimes deal with when working for a local authority (e.g. an amateurish faked memo on council letterhead stating “don’t employ any more whites” – even the rancid local weekly wasn’t fooled for a minute by this).

    This story is tailor-made for the Daily Mail but it’s all too revealing of the appalling collapse of the Left that it’s repeated here.

    See you on the other side of the barricades.

  2. Perhaps you make the understandable confusion between the Birmingham Mail and the Daily Mail.

    As I know people who serve/have served as school governors – including in Brum – I find it indeed hard to believe that you can get somebody sacked easily.

    But even an indulger of Islamist bigotry like Southpaw must admit that this is the kind of thing organised religious groups would like to do.

    Andrew Coates

    March 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

  3. Tower Hamlets anyone?


    March 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm

  4. It probably is a set-up; I don’t believe that anyone is that stupid to put it down in black and white. I have been a school governor, but that was on a county school governing body, this story concerns ‘free schools’ which have more ‘liberal’ hiring and firing policies. Interesting that it is enabling Inayat Bungawalat to pose as the voice of reason and commonsense. It must be a set up. By whom? By whites trying to whip up disaffection or by Muslims trying to play the victim card?

    Sue R

    March 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

  5. Southpaw and Sue R. What I think you are both doing is to see Muslims, in fact all religious and ethnic minorities, as guiltless and victims of a conspiracy. In Tower Hamlets and Newham we have experienced exactly the same things as are being discussed in this document.

    Using the perfectly laudable intentions of more parent choice and control, extremist Islamist groups have tried to set up their own schools or take over existing ones to run them on strict Islamic lines. There are a number of Islamist tendencies of Salafism is just one.

    If this is a set up then what must be meant by that is that the letter is a forgery along the lines of the Zinoviev one of the early twenties and like that risks exposure. Wait and see what the investigation reveals, or is that likely to be a cover up of the set up?


    March 9, 2014 at 6:10 am

  6. I don’t see ‘Muslims’, in much the same way I don’t see ‘Christians’, certainly no-one would use the latter term to refer to say the general population of Cornwall. It was a backwards step when people went, when necessary, to refer to ethnicity (or whatever) from e.g. Bengalis to Muslims. ‘Muslims’, like ‘Jews’, ‘Sikhs’, whatever are not a community, group etc but form constituent parts of the real division in society – between workers and capitalists.

    Having said that, it’s now in common use to refer people by their supposed religion and and ‘Muslims’ are a main target of the Daily Mail (and I saw the story first in the Daily Mail) and in a way that changes – in the 80s it would have been, according to their racist subtext. feckless, mugging young black males that were a main enemy.

    I had not seen the strong condemnation of the documents as a forgery, by one of those named in them, when I posted my first comment and how many plotters would name such a scheme ‘Operation Trojan Horse’? It reeks of a forgery.

    You are correct, mullah, that religious groups wish to refashion the world according to their view. I know some Christians wish to ‘re-Christianise’ the West. I believe in religious toleration and also understand that’s what such groups do and they are welcome to try and spread their word but secularism has won. My walk down Green Street (biggest Asian shopping area in Newham) today saw maybe 5% of young women, at most covering their face, far outnumbered by those in the tight, short clothing of their peers. Paranoid conspiracy theories were once the province of the right; as exTrots head that way, I expect more here.

  7. I agree with SPP, it doesn’t make sense to refer to ‘Muslims’ as if they were a homogenised mass. In this case it would be more appropriate to refer to fundamentalists or even a cult.
    What it does help to demonstrate is what a mess the education system is in, and the way that free schools and academies are being used to destroy the vestiges of the comprehensive system. Maybe it’s time to fight back and form a few genuine free schools a la anarchist tradition.

    Igor Belanov

    March 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

  8. Yes – I agree, Igor. I think Academies are particularly driven by Heads who want to be free of any council say in how they run ‘their’ school, like the Head of a Academy who expelled a kid of a friend for possessing a cannabis cigarette nowhere near the school, just before he was due to take his GCSEs (and so couldn’t).

    I noticed the first thing the Head got organised at a school near here was replacing the new-ish signboard for the school with the old Head’s name on with a new one with his name on it. Those who I have met have always enjoyed being dictator of their own little state.

    I remember in the 70s, some schools even had voluntary attendance and quite a few dispensed with uniforms. I remember mentioning the oppression of uniforms (which has spread in recent years to people like library workers) to some parents and I said ‘wouldn’t it be good to get rid of them?’. And they (relatively progressive people) said, with scorn, ‘We want proper rules and standards at school so our kids can learn properly in their uniform.’ And I said, ‘Like in Finland? Highest results, no uniform’

  9. The Enlightened Ones may not regard ‘Muslims’ as an undifferentiated mass, but I am sure that Muslims themselves do. Never underestimate the guilt/shame trajectory.

    Sue R

    March 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm

  10. Your walk down Green St and what you saw would not be untypical of many Muslim areas in this country. Wen Bangladeshi women began to appear in East London in large numbers, both by joining husbands and the birth rate, during the eighties and nineties there wasn’t a hijab to be seen.

    Even now they are in a minority, it is a guess whether the women wearing them have applied the eye liner with a plasters trowel or a bricklayers and more of them will be seen on the Whitechapel Road than in Dhaka.

    You are correct that people like Anjem Choudhury don’t speak for all Muslims as they are not a group in the same way that Christians aren’t either.


    March 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

  11. it doesn’t make sense to refer to ‘Muslims’ as if they were a homogenised mass. In this case it would be more appropriate to refer to fundamentalists or even a cult.

    Igor is right. Even Germany’s mainstream refers to “Salafists” (etc.) when dealing with this kind of thing, a spade is called a spade and not “a Muslim” (etc.).


    March 10, 2014 at 1:50 pm

  12. I recently read Monica Ali’s novel, ‘Brick Lane’ which is set in the 1970s. It brought it all back to me as at that time I lived near Brick Lane, in Bow, off Devons Road. I well remember the earnest discussions about how the Bangladeshi community were just waiting for a signal to join the revolutionary socialists, and the excitement of mobilising every weekend in Brick Lane to yell at the fascists that dared to show their faces. I noted that in Ali’s novel the solution is for the heroine set up a clothing firm which will treat its women workers fairly. (I wondered howd this fictive entity will have fared over the decades?). She also comes to an understnading for her longsuffering husband which revitillzes her (arranged) marriage. There is just the beginnings of the rise of Islamism. I wonder how the Bangladeshi community has coped with the war trials in Bangladesh? Nobody has talked about that. Are there more hijabs in Wanstead than Dakar? I don’t know, are you suggesting that the Bangladeshis in Bangladesh are less pious or that the ones in Wanstead are more? Who are teh more open minded? (A theme in Ali’s novel by the way.).

    Sue R

    March 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm

  13. Yes, it can be the case that those in Wanstead happen to be more ‘pious’ than those in Dhaka although you won’t see covered faces there as is it is north of the apartheid line, currently roughly demarcated by the Stratford to Ilford railway line (see my Twitter feed about recent attempts to establish this clearly in Forest Gate by proto-hipsters, in a way that they have successfully done by turning most of the northern half of Brick Lane itself into a overwhelmingly white zone).

    I know Bengalis in both places and certainly the urban petit bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie in Bangladesh are less socially conservative than many in the Newham ghetto. See Tariq Ali’s description of how welcoming Dhaka was 40 years ago to his radicalism, compared to the conservative social reaction then in his native Lahore.

    Both nothing stands still. I look forward to the daughters of the currently 20s/30s ‘pious’ couples (the professionals of whom do appalling, patronising ‘missionary work’ among their shop worker ‘sisters’, telling them that they have got their religion all wrong. I was reminded of the working class Jews I knew as a kid in the 70s who got the same stuff but played along to get the cheap holiday to Israel but remain completely irreligious) ripping off their veil in much the same way their grandmothers did when arriving in Britain in the 70s and 80s.

    And what would a privately educated, Oxbridge graduate from Bolton, like Monica Ali, know about Brick Lane? These are books are written for liberal whites. I would never eat in an Asian (or Chinese etc.) restaurant that did not have at least 80% of its clientele native to its cuisine (admittedly easier in London than elsewhere). I often think the same about culture, too.

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