The alleged “plot” was an attempt by Muslim Fundies to take over schools.
The leaked letter on the alleged plot was reported by media including the BBC on 7 March 2014. In it, Islamists claimed responsibility for installing a new headteacher at four schools in Birmingham, and highlighted 12 others in the city which would be easy targets due to large Muslim attendance and poor inspection reports. It encouraged parents to complain about the school’s leadership with false accusations of sex education, forced Christian prayer and mixed physical education, with the aim of obtaining a new leadership of Islamists. It was also encouraged to attain Academy status for successfully infiltrated schools, so as to have a curriculum independent of the Local Education Authority. The letter was alleged to have been written from Birmingham and sent to a contact in Bradford to expand the operation into that city. Its author described the plan as “totally invisible to the naked eye and allows us to operate under the radar”
When OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) investigated, they found evidence of attempts to undermine teaching and education by encouraging the firing of teachers. On further investigation various allegations came to light.
The allegations are (not all are alleged at all of these schools):
- Girls segregated from boys. Non-Muslims segregated from Muslims.
- Arts and humanities and music not taught.
- Some Christian pupils left aside to teach themselves.
- The GCSE curriculum restricted and changed to comply with strict Islamic teaching.
- At Nansen, the Arabic language was taught to all students.
- Pressure to remove non-Muslim teachers from these schools.
- An Islamist connected with Al-Qaeda was invited to address pupils at a school.
- Muezzin’s calls on school’s public address systems
One of the big issues here is the new “Academies” program which allows private investors to make alterations to public school syllabuses. Which is “bloody daft” IMHO because the first time it happened the same damn thing occurred with Vardy’s faith based schools which pushed creationism.
A little history here? The 7/7 London Bombers were fine upstanding kids. No seriously. When they did the attacks a lot of the response was “Those guys? Can’t be them! They were the boys next door”. Think how people respond to American School shootings or dogs going crazy. But Jimmy was a nice boy/dog! I cannot imagine him opening fire on his classmates/savaging that toddler.
I used to live in Leeds, a lovely little city in Yorkshire. Home to the debauchery of the Otley Run, the triple sports of Football, Cricket and Rugby and a tale of tragedy. And yes, if you haven’t heard? I will be at Hebden Bridge to see Dr. PZ Myers speak and indeed enjoy a few beers.
The first boy was born at the Leeds General Infirmary and lived all his life in Leeds. His father worked as a factory worker and taught his son the value of hard work. His mother used to teach him the value of community by helping foreigners who came to the little piece of the dales. She used to accompany those who were sick but didn’t speak English to the hospital where she would translate for them. He attended school in Leeds and while (like most of us) wasn’t a model student he was punctual, courteous, and social. He went on to college where he trained vocational qualification in Business. He played cricket ferociously but his true love was football. He turned out to play for the Holbeck Hornets. Those who met him said that he was a “Gentle Giant” and the only stain on his record was a caution for shop lifting which was put down to “kids will be kids”. As a mark of apology he worked at a youth centre as a volunteer.
The second boy was less of a boy than a man. He was the oldest of the four friends and a mentor figure to the other 3. He was undoubtedly this little gang’s ring leader. He was born at the St. James University Hospital and grew up in both Beeston and Dewsbury. Son of a foundry worker and a housewife, he had a relatively strict upbringing but loved his parents. He was well liked and volunteered with the community that gave so much to him. He would mentor and teach new immigrant kids about the UK. He was seen as a god fearing young man and was happily married to his wife. He made plans around everything his wife did including delaying his dreams so that she could have the baby she wanted. His mother in law doted on him. She even got to meet the queen and reportedly spoke about his achievements to her.
The third young man was born in Jamaica and moved to Dalton. He was the most tragic of the 4. A normal childhood in Yorkshire but he was enticed by crime where he worked dealing drugs. However one day he changed his mind and found faith. He become quiet and less angry. He tried to get a job and even though pay was poor he qualified as a carpet fitter.
The last young man was born at St. Luke’s in Bradford to a local entrepreneur. He was a born sportsman and represented his school excelling in cricket, football, triple jump, distance running and ju-jitsu. He studied sports science but probably wished to inherit his father’s small business empire. Often working to help his dad at his father’s fish and chip shop, restaurant and butcher’s shop. He was widely regarded as kind and courteous to everyone in his neighbourhood.
Apart from the Jamaican who was new to the group these three young men were thick as thieves and helped everyone who they met. They were model human beings… Even the Jamaican had turned over a new leaf. These are Nice Boys ™.
Except for the last thing they ever did.
On that day I was at home, relaxing after my brother’s 12th birthday party. My brother was talking to my aunt who had work in London so missed the entire party and I was listening in exhorting him to get her to buy some video game when the phone cut off. We thought nothing of it. And then we saw the news. My aunt was fine, but other people in London were not.
It was the same day that these four young men had decided to go on an adventure to fight against injustice and oppression. In their own words…
I and thousands like me are forsaking everything for what we believe. Our drive and motivation doesn’t come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer. Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true God and following the footsteps of the final prophet messenger. Your democratically-elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters. Until we feel security you will be our targets and until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.
On that day four of these young men blew themselves up using home made explosives on the Underground and on the London Bus Service. They killed 52 people between them. These nice young boys next door killed people. Their names were Hasib Hussain, Mohammed Khan, Germaine Lindsay and Shehzad Tanweer.
But no one really dwelt on their niceness. No one would listen to their families who honestly didn’t believe their sons did this. It was the second deadliest terrorist attack in British History (Lockerbie was the biggest), but one that lived in infamy. I still went to work that day, knowing I would have to face people who were mad at brown people.
At times like this I am proud to be British. When the vultures that are the BNP and the various right wing conservatives such as Melanie Philips came out against non-white immigrants brits rallied and told them where to shove their bigotry. The answer to bigotry is not more of it. There were incidents but they were few and far between compared to the horror show of the USA post 9/11.
But you have to admit, they were nice boys until the end. In the UK at least we don’t stand for the kind of scrutiny that americans put on their killers but if we did we probably wouldn’t know anything about them. Their story is one of faith creating alienation, and the unscrupulous taking advantage of that alienation to create hate and the notion that their cause was just by bad influences. They fell prey to religious extremists who filled their mind with poison which caused them to be able to rationalise the deaths of so man and to act on it. They fell prey to a feeling by their parents that they were losing their culture so they sent them to places like Pakistan to be re-immersed in traditional culture. Where they were told that their parents are traitors and too soft to fight for justice, where their minds were poisoned by hate and conspiracy theory powered by a unquestionable belief in their holy cause. Their minds were poisoned by a bad influence in a place where there should be none.
Just remember that the next time you hear about a tragedy like this. The people who did this may have been “nice” and “not white” too. We forgot that in the UK and that resulted in the tragic death of Jean Charles de Menzies who was shot for being too fast moving, too brown and wearing a coat by a police officer who made the wrong decision. When we hear of a school shooting in the USA, the perpetrator is given this sort of treatment. The reason I wrote this was to show people that the people they demonise may not be all that fearsome.
I do wish to end on a note of absolute humanity. I believe that heroes aren’t special, they are people just like you and me who when called upon by circumstance did what needed to be done and what we are all capable of doing. This doesn’t make their achievement small, in fact it makes it bigger. If grew up with what we would call genuine heroes in my life. My grandfather was awarded for valour. I have family who were given medals for giving up their lives to save others in Ypres. My mother was a hero when she fought to be taught surgery when young women were serious discriminated against in the field. And my grandfather taught me two things, the first was how to fish and the second was what makes a hero a hero. A hero is just a human being who did the right thing when no one else was willing to. That when the odds were against him just did what he thought was necessary. Anyone can be a hero. You do not make them. While my actions have been on the small scale compared to a man who once held a position in the middle of a jungle so damp that your clothes rot away and fought with everything from gun to grenade, knife to rock against an enemy that was legendarily brave. Or compared to my mother who learnt her trade through sheer stubbornness. And all through that I have always been impressed by the humility of these people at their achievements.
I have tried to do the best I can as a human being. I think the greatest expression of humanity is someone doing the necessary and the best that they can. There were heroes at Sandy Hook, there are heroes everywhere as there are villains.
There were two cells of bombers. The second wave failed due to equipment failure. However one of the bombers called Ramzi Mohammed was confronted by a man. Angus Campbell, an off duty fire man got everyone else to evacuate the carriage to safety but stayed behind to get Ramzi to not kill himself. Ramzi was captured a while later, it is believed that the actions of Angus saved lives as well as stopped Ramzi from killing himself. He may not have the chance to live a normal life again but he gets to do something with his life rather than cause pain for others. Angus’s courage is an equally good lesson to learn from this.That bomb would have worked, Angus saved lives, least of all? That of the bomber. And this shows the value of an influence. Of good solid mentorship.
Without my teachers, I have no doubt that I would not be here doing the things I do. I may moan about the work and feel home sick but that is because I have done this for years. I am genuinely happy with what I have done and I owe it to my teachers.
I agree with Siviku on this, perhaps we should realise that the people who commit crimes from different communities have stories too. That it isn’t just “middle american white youth” who are nice boys.
The fact of the matter was they were just ordinary kids who fell in with a bad influence. The problem with that bad influence is that it isn’t clearly visible. The men who lead them astray were in fact? Upstanding members of the community themselves. One of them was a youth liason at a community centre! The bomb maker taught biochemistry! These people were adults we would normally trust who lead children astray.
So there is a notion that you can corrupt youth by sneaking influences and it is true. Children are born idiots, it is our duty to make sure they stop being ones (or atleast go through a phase where their idiocy manifests as stupid hair, clothes and questionable drinking habits rather than licking paint) by the time they have to be responsible. This isn’t violent TV, but an education where a trusted adult tells kids things that aren’t true.
We have stopped being solely responsible for our kids. In the modern world we have babysitters and teachers who help educate and condition our kids for our society and life.
Imagine if one of those teachers was teaching them things that were harmful.
The schools in question was actually in high demand. It had good grades and good teaching. The plot was to replace staff with people sympathetic to their view while constantly creating an atmosphere of fear among conservative Muslim Parents.
Islam has a problem in that genuine attacks on it are categorised as Islamophobia. That is fair. However the term is also used to label real criticism. So “Muslims are planning to out breed us to force Shariah Law” is on the same level of phobic to many Muslims as “Islam has a big problem with the way it treats girls and women”.
So some of the allegations are simple. Claim children are forced to learn about sex education. When I was in school, the few Muslim kids would be excused from Sex Ed. They could opt out of school prayer too and didn’t have to participate in religious parts of assemblies. Sure. Whatever. For all our Christian Trappings we weren’t half the little Dawkins we grew up to be.
The trick was to cause Islamic Fainting Couches to be used is to claim these are compulsory. Prey on parental fears about all that underage sex too with regards to swimming. And you basically create an environment of the witch hunt. I remember Muslim friends and how hopelessly naive they were. Back then it was just “people”. Today I see it as dangerous. In the UK at least, the culture of Islam is a self ghettoised culture where there is an unwillingness to see progressive values. And I think what they fear the most about these things is that it will lead their children to atheism or apostasy. That their daughters and sons will no longer be Muslim because Muslims cannot have fun.
I have written about this before. The problem Islam has is that the dialogue of “true” Saudi Islam (AKA the home of Islam) is bat shit crazy and its influence in the seat of Islam bleeds into others encouraging them to be the same.
There was another two incidents like this.
When Lawrence Krauss was asked to Debate a Muslim speaker for a Muslim Society there was gender segregation on University grounds (a big no no for University and Student Union activities).
And a revelation that this sort of practice happens at a lot of Muslim Socs at Universities and that they didn’t see anything wrong about it and were puzzled why everyone considered forcing women to sit in inferior seats (women usually had to sit in the back and in one case couldn’t ask questions unless via a paper slip) at events as something bad.
Part Paranoia, Part Dickery. The problem is there is a lot of idiotic paranoia about Islam. The problem is there are a lot of dickheads in Islam who do shit like this. So which is it in this case? Is it public paranoia over something that doesn’t exist? Or is it genuinely an attempt to harm kids by creating a fundamentalist environment where one can drip feed fundamentalism.
The Medinah academy was another case this year. OFSTED shut it down when it came to light. Which is why I completely disagree with UKIP and Conservatives in their scrapping of OFSTED power. What we need is a school authorities body that checks all schools regularly and indeed on flying surprise visits to ensure quality. Some say “this is spying” but fucking hell? There were Christian schools flogging Creationism using similar tactics in the USA and indeed in the UK using the idiotic faith based initiatives which I completely stand against because it is so easy to pull off nonsense like this.
Education must have a standard. Either you meet the standard or you are closed down. We aren’t discussing American School Style “Test Standards” but of basic education. If you are teaching kids to fear bogeymen and worry about falling off the edge of the earth you have no place teaching. I mean standards of education that are basic
And yes, people say Liberals defend Islam and that does happen. The problem is people don’t want to listen to the genuine criticisms of Islam..The problem is there are people criticising Islam in a constructive and productive way. This topic irks me because I do criticise Islam and often find myself silenced on the issue.
I lived in the Middle East for 13 years and was born there. I speak Arabic as my second language. I even write a blog under a chosen pseudonym from a Golden Age Arab scientist.
I own interesting things like an Illustrated Koran. If you are aware of Islamic “everyone knows” you would know that this is frankly remarkable. I even know that the diagrams in the Kama Sutra were illustrated by Muslims and that there is a Muslim Art Form where they tell Hindu Stories (the puppets from my blog header).
I am not an Ex-Muslim, I am an Ex-Hindu, but I am aware enough of the History of Islam and the changes that have occured.
And I have written about it. And the worst bit is, I never get anyone reading it. Do you want to know what people like to read?
I wrote about Islamic Jurisprudence in Saudi Arabia and my experience having been to the KSA. I wrote about the rise of Wahabbism and about the archaeological desolation of Islam and cultural shift due to Wahabbi control over the cultural and religious centre of the religion.
Do you want to know what I got for writing all that? No one wanted to read it. People actually downvoted it when put on R/atheism because of where my blog is situated (freethoughtblogs) and I had at least one person telling me that I should blame capitalism than “Islam”.
By contrast? Pat Condell has hundreds of thousands of fans insist that Sweden is doomed because it accepted 2 million Syrian Refugees. I pointed out the number was 8000 with them already being in Sweden. What we see here is what we want our criticism to be. Fantastic, Awesome and completely not based on facts. It is easy for a Muslim to fight Pat Condell on this issue by demonstrating the fact. How hard do you think Muslim apologists would have to squirm to try and escape my knowledge of Wahabbi destruction of Islamic Historical Sites and the influence on all of Islam? Or about my stance on doctors being utiilised for Shariah amputations? Community Atheism is so interested in creating bogeymen in Islam that it forgets that there are real issues that often simply do not get a say.
That was more popular. It isn’t just liberals, it is the entire dialogue of atheism since most of us have little idea of any religion outside Christianity and maybe Judaism and so we have no idea how to actually argue against other faiths beyond stuff we have heard about. With regards to Islam, we often argue from ignorance or from popular understanding. And a lot of that seems to be based on hearsay and gossip.
Let us take my two examples from Islam. Things you wouldn’t know? We know where Mohammed is Buried. We also know he was buried alongside Jews.
In Saudi Arabia, forensic science is not an accepted part of the judiciary. Only eye witness accounts, accusations and confessions are allowed. A huge number of people sign pieces of paper thinking they will be let out of prison and end up getting executed.
I was absolutely astonished by the fact that people either put ideological differences over quality and interest for these posts. It isn’t just liberals. It is atheism as a whole.