Socialist Worker Sticks Head in Sand Over Conservative Islamism and Education.
SWP Reacts to Influence of Conservative Islam in Education.
It had to come.
It has come.
Socialist Worker has buried its collective head in the sand about the problems raised by the influence of conservative Islam in education.
Today we read,
A Tory clampdown on schools in Birmingham has unleashed a torrent of racist filth.
The government ordered investigations after an anonymous letter alleged a Muslim “plot” to take over schools. Right wing newspapers devoted pages to personal attacks on Muslim teachers and governors.
The paper of the SWP claims that there is no evidence for any of the Ofstead charges against Oldknow Academy.
Their proof? The Academy has issued this statement stating that the report’s claims are false.
They begin by rebutting the comment about ‘white women’ being ‘prostitutes’. Then that there were anti-Christian chants, and preaching – the list of denials is contained in this excerpt.
This is completely false and taken out of context. The word ‘prostitute’ was used
once by an ex-employee but in an entirely ‘non-offensive’ context. No member of
staff has ever used the term ‘white women were prostitutes’.“And urged to join in anti-Christian chants”
The Principal’s investigation found no evidence whatsoever of such chanting having
“Non-Muslims were banned from taking Friday assemblies so that
they could be “preached at”
All members of staff have access to an assembly rota. Non-Muslims are not banned
from taking Friday assemblies. No one has ever been ‘preached’ at. Assemblies would
usually have an SLT member present. However, in all faith assemblies, staff are
always present. This is the first time SLT are hearing of this.
For the writers of the Socialist Worker this must be true, one assumes, because the Academy says so.
The evidence of “incendiary preachers at school assemblies” – Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman, an al-Qaeda sympathiser, at Park View School on November 28 2013 – in fact comes from one of the school’s official newsletters, still available on its own website (see photo above, from page 17 of this PDF).
At another of the schools, Oldknow, an official Education Funding Agency report finds that the Arabic teacher, Asif Khan, led anti-Christian chanting in assemblies (though also records his denial). I too have been told about Mr Khan’s anti-Christian assembly by four separate sources, one of themon the record. There is other on-the-record testimony that Park View’s head, Mozz Hussain, preached “mind-blowing” anti-American assemblies.
The evidence of “segregated classes” comes from both this EFA report and another one, into Park View, Nansen and Golden Hillock schools,leaked to me, which states that “teachers gave [students] seats in which to sit in class by gender to avoid having to mix” and that “students told us that they were required to sit in the places which they were given by teachers,” often with “boys sitting towards the front of the class and girls at the back or around the sides.” The relevant sections of the report are published on this blog.
At Golden Hillock, according to the EFA, non-Muslim pupils “had to teach themselves” in one subject. At Nansen, there is compulsory Arabic (in a primary school!) and no teaching of the arts for one entire year group. Nansen’s deputy head, Razwan Faraz, is administrator of a group called “Educational Activists” which also includes key staff and governors from several of the other schools and which pursues, in Mr Faraz’s words, an “Islamising agenda” in Birmingham’s schools. Park View’s chair of governors, Tahir Alam, is co-author of a document which calls for the teaching of art, drama and dance to Muslims to be restricted and Muslim girls to be veiled in school.
Even if the self-assessment from Oldknow were true, Socialist Worker does not bother to consider the evidence given above from other schools, Park View, Nansen and Golden Hillock.
Socialist Worker, in short, is peddling hysterical rubbish with no concern about the facts of the case.
Its approach is on a par indeed to the false right-wing claim that ‘extremism’ and ‘terrorism’ are involved.
The problem is clearly that ‘conservative Islam’ has influenced some schools in Birmingham.
Unable to deal with the issues this raises, from gender equality, and the shutting down of open-minded thinking, not to mention the undue power of religious authorities, it rants about “racist hounding”.
No doubt the SWP has a unique stand on gender equality in its own organisation.
But their position is not isolated.
Socialist Unity also works by screaming at anybody who questions their support for conservative Islam
They cynically exploit the hatred of the left for the far-right to claim that anybody who questions their position will find, Andy Newman alleges, allies in “Britain First, the BNP, Liberty GB, UKIP, AWL, EDL, SIOE, Gates of Vienna, Pam Gellar, et al.
Apparently secularism “privileges” an indigenous culture.
By not taking sides you ‘objectively’ back a particular party.
This kind of ‘objective’ ‘logic’ is well-known in Stalinist circles.
The Enlightenment, we learn on the authority of these thinkers, was a parochial western affair.
No doubt human rights are also parochial matters and not universal. The Sharia is just one cultural ‘option’ and who are ‘we’ to criticise it from the West?
Newman and his side-kick John Wight have been compressively demolished by Nick Wright, Sandy and Francis King, not to mention Sarah AB on Harry’s Place.
The counter-argument can be summarised: secular education, is, as Jaurès saw it, marked the absence of religious, or other, dogma. The role of the state is to make sure that individual doctrines, faiths or otherwise, do not get between students and the full range of ideas. That each student should be educated in an environment of equality, where religion plays no part in making the rules.
As the socialist Jaurès said,
The day that socialists come to found schools, I consider that the duty of the teacher would be, if I may say, to never pronounce even the word socialism in front of the children . Pour la Laïque (1910)
We should stand for universal values of free-thought, free-inquiry, and critical education without the interference of religious dogma.
No word about that from the SWP.
Instead Socialist Worker froths at the mouth at the entirely reasonable statements made by Labour’s Shadow Education Minister Tristram Hunt,
The Labour Party leadership’s response to the row has been despicable.
It didn’t call for an end to the racist scapegoating of Muslims or a defence of teachers and governors.
Instead Labour condemned the Tories for not witch hunting more.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said schools had been “skewed to prevent a broad and balanced education”.
He claimed there was “gender discrimination” in schools and that children were being “exposed to extremist views”.
It would be interesting to hear Labour candidate Andy Newman’s comments on his party’s stand on this issue.
Update (Hat-Tip LS).
“Teachers forced out of schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations have been gagged by the authorities.
At least 12 senior staff – most of them heads – were banned from speaking out as part of their six-figure pay-off deals, it emerged last night.
Some claim they were bullied, intimidated and threatened over the bid by extremists to target state schools in Birmingham.”
“Local MP Khalid Mahmood called on the Government and council to ensure that former staff would be released from the gagging clauses.
Mr Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said: ‘A lot of people are still not speaking even in private because they are frightened of what may happen. ”
To those who say, that’s the Mail, will they also accuse Khalid Mahmood?
Subscribe to comments with RSS.