More than 12 schools are now under investigation by the British government in Birmingham in connection with the "Trojan Horse" plot of Islamists to takeover British schools as more information has come to light. Orignially only four schools were under investigation.
A Birmingham MP spoke to the press saying, "All the information I'm getting… is there has been a serious bid to take over most of the schools in the east and south of the city"
Details of the plot first came to light when a letter allegedly sent between two Islamists came into the possession of Birmingham City Council. It detailed a covert strategy to infiltrate and takeover schools by forcing out unsympathetic teachers and replacing them with Islamists.
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed swift action, saying, "We can't allow this to happen in our country." Michael Gove, the education secretary, is reportedly being kept abreast of developments. Investigations are being carried out by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. The National Union of Teachers has called for a nationwide investigation.
Sir Albert Bore, the Labour party leader of the city council has written to head teachers reassuring them that the issue is being taken seriously. In his letter he said, "Over recent weeks, as a result of these matters, we have had a significant number of teachers, governors and parents write to us with past and present concerns about governance and leadership in schools, and we are taking all of these very seriously."
But the council first received the original letter in 2013. Sir Albert originally said the "The Trojan Horse letter is defamatory." Khalid Mahmood has accused the council of complicity in the plot.
Labour MP (Birmingham Hodge Hill ) Liam Byrne, the shadow education secretary slammed the progress of the investigation. He said that Ofsted report's progress was "glacial." Byrne told the BBC, "We just need the truth on the table now."
Labour MP (from Birmingham Perry Barr) Khalid Mahmood also attacked the government's handling of the situation. He said that the council had known about these allegations "eight years at least" but had ignored them due to fears of "appearing anti-Muslim."
Since the story first broke, staff members and parents have been coming forward with more information. Birmingham city council has hired extra staff to deal with the volume of calls and letters they have been receiving. They are reported to be "inundated."
Michael White, a former teacher at Park View School, told reporters that the school's board of governors was taken over by "a Muslim sect" in 1993. He says that he was driven out in 2003 after he circulated a letter to prospective teachers asking them to question the government. He was dismissed for "gross misconduct" and described a campaign of intimidation and harrasment.
Nigel Sloan, the former head of the drama department at Park View school, spoke to The Telegraph, said that he was forced out for being too Western. He said he was forced on the basis of a trumped up charge of racism, and that pupils had told him they were being warned against him in the local Mosque because he talked about rock music and motorbikes.
Before being forced out, he heard Mohammad Hussain, then a maths teacher, now effectively the headmaster, give incendiary anti-american speeches at school assemblies, saying America was "the evil in the world" and "the cause of all famine."
He said "I heard Mr Hussain say those words. It was always anti-American, anti-Western propaganda. Some of his assemblies were so anti-American in their content as to be mind-blowing."
A source in Ofsted close to the Park View investigation spoke to the press anonymously. They said, “It felt like a faith school. Islam permeated everything. All the citizenship teaching was about being a good Muslim and there was nothing that prepared pupils for life in modern Britain.”
A Muslim parent of a 10 year-old girl at Oldknow Academy, another school in Birmingham implicated in the alleged plot, has also come forward after seeing the initial story in thje news. Mr Zabar, 44, said that radical extremists running the school were brainwashing his children.
Zabar added that children had been trained by the teachers to lie to government inspectors about the plot, and he had been pushed to come forward after the successful non-Muslim head teacher Buhpinder Khondal had been driven out. He said that since her departure, subsidized trips to Mecca have been organized and children have been led in anti-Christian chanting during school assemblies.
His daughter, who does not wear a headscarf, came home from school having been told that her hair and dress was un-Islamic.
He called on Muslim parents to come forward and condemn what was happening at the schools. "It is important for Muslim parents to say that what is happening is wrong, and to stand up against it. The culture I’ve been brought up with is that you mix with all races and communities and this will drive wedges between different communities," Zabar said.
At Anderton Park, allegations date back at least four years. Assaults against teachers have also been reported.
All the schools involved have reported severe harassment and marginalization of non-Muslim teachers smear campaigns against figures who did not acquiesce and governors hiring teachers because of ideology and personal connections rather than teaching ability. Reports said that teacher's lives had been made "a misery" and that Islamists had been trying to shut down the teaching of music and physical education.
It is not yet known how far the investigation will spread or how many people are involved. Allegations are continuing to come to light as time goes by.
Tahir Alam, the chairman of the board of governors at Park View, and a central suspect in the investigation, has dismissed all allegations as a "witch-hunt" motivated by "Islamophobia." Park View has hired Communitas, an expensive London PR firm to represent them, and is also reportedly preparing legal action against Ofsted in an attempt to prevent the release of the report when it is ready.
Who is funding the defense is as yet unknown. Mr Alam showed around Sima Kotecha from the BBC's "Today" program. During the tour pupils and staff denied connections to extremism. But two staff anonymously told her that the school had promoted sympathy with al-Qaeda.
Graham Stuart, Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Education said, "Having children indoctrinated by extremists in a state-funded school would clearly be utterly unacceptable and a scandal and needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible."
The investigation continues.
List of Schools Currently Confirmed as being under investigation:
Regents Park Community Primary School