Le Monde on Birmingham Schools Scandal.
Secularism Means Freedom, Equality and Solidarity!
The infiltration of public schools in Birmingham by Islamists causes a political scandal.
Le Monde 11.6.2014. (Extracts)
Birmingham is in shock. Across the media the second city of the Kingdom is everywhere. The infiltration by Muslim extremists of six public schools in the Midlands city has stirred up a debate not only on the evolution of British multicultural society but it has also divided the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition led by Prime Minister David Cameron.
On Tuesday Mr Cameron announced that “The promotion of fundamental British values in schools in England will have the support of all” This followed the publication yesterday of an explosive Ostead inspection report on the Islamic practices imposed by Muslim extremists in six schools in Birmingham.
Headteachers and non-Muslims or moderate Muslim teachers were harassed. Boys and girls were separated. Calls to prayer were constantly broadcast by loudspeakers. Private detectives were hired to investigate students in order to uncover their sexual relations and report them back to parents. The Emails of recalcitrant teachers were scrutinised. Several pilgrimages to Mecca were financed with public funds. Hard-line school governors intended to stop the teaching of music and arts . They banned a picture of Jesus in a Nativity play at Christmas.
Four of the six public schools in the spotlight are totally autonomous “academies” , completely free from local authority control, which are in principle charged with the supervision of public institutions. This reform was launched by the Blair government reform and put an end to municipal control of education and the school curriculum. It has been by continued by Mr Gove. The Birmingham case highlights the risk of abuses of a system allowing freedom for schools to manage their own functions.