No Trojan Horse: the Bishop, the Chief Executive and the knowledgeable journalist agree
City council chief executive Mark Rogers has insisted that Birmingham schools are not at the centre of a Muslim extremist stealth plot to radicalise pupils and claims of a Trojan Horse-type takeover are without foundation. He stated that investigations have failed to uncover any conspiracy by hardline Islamists to infiltrate classrooms.
Mark Rogers, in an interview with the Chamberlain Files, said the council was working hard “to fully understand what is going on here”. He added: “Some things are getting conflated and it is being assumed they are Trojan Horse-related when they are completely separate.
“The letter that sparked all this off is almost certainly spurious. But it does relate to important issues dealing with the different expectations that communities have. I think the letter reflects some concerns and potential issues in our communities. I don’t think it is a narrative of historical fact”.
The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart, has joined representatives from Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu faiths to issue a statement:
“We are profoundly concerned that some of the public media have distorted the discussion on what has become known as ‘Operation Trojan Horse’, demonising sections of the community in a completely unacceptable way”. Read on here.
A more detailed rebuttal of the Mail-style hysteria about Park View School
In the Huffington Post, respected journalist Assed Baig has addressed the issue of the anonymous ‘Trojan Horse’ letter which is being given such credence by the establishment. As he says: the letter that stirred up the recent hysteria about Park View school is an unattributed, undated text, unsigned by anyone. The link given above leads to the school’s latest newsletter in which the issue is discussed at length.
Baig’s article in the Huffington Post opens:
“From the outset I would like to be clear about my interest in the subject. I grew up in Birmingham, in the areas where some of these schools are based. I know Park View, one of the places mentioned, very well. I used to play football there once a week in the evenings as a teenager, and trained on the astro turf on Friday nights with Alum Rock FC. I still have family and friends playing for the local side . . . it was the last place you wanted to go to school . . . “
“The school since then has completely turned around. It is regarded as outstanding.
“There is a waiting list to get into the school. But now this so-called plot has overshadowed the school’s achievements and the hard work of those that have helped it progress. Its success is particularly worthy of celebration due to the fact that it has now become a place where people from poorer backgrounds can develop a brighter future; 72% of the school children are on free school meals. Journalists usually fail to mention this and the fact that the school is in one of the most economically deprived areas of Birmingham”.
He presented some significant facts:
- the executive principal is a white non-Muslim woman.
- the assistant principal is not Muslim
- the acting principal is Muslim.
There is no forced segregation. Children sit where they want: teenage boys want to sit with their male friends and girls sit with their female friends.
Arabic is taught in school, for a simple reason: it’s actually the preferred option by students.
No evidence that a teacher praised an extremist preacher Anwar Awlaki in a school assembly has been presented.
Tahir Alam, chair of governors at Park View, was named in the letter. He is known for his desire to see ‘quality education’ in the school.
Low journalistic standards – the BBC is once again accused of bias
The BBC quoted a former teacher, Mike White, who said the plot started 20 years ago. Assad Baig adds that it failed to point out that Mr White was an inefficient teacher, removed for gross misconduct, a removal upheld by a tribunal.
Radio 4’s Today journalist claimed that there were no pictures of girls and boys together in the school even though pictures are displayed showing boys and girls together.
Baig ends by describing another form of extremism:
“where parents pay tens of thousands a year to have their boys segregated from girls. Where an ideology of superiority is taught, where young rich boys are taught that it is their God-given right to rule over the commoners. Where a skewed version of history is taught, colonialism was a good thing and the empire brought good to the world and civilized the savages. In these schools boys are forced to learn Latin, not Arabic. But we won’t see or hear politicians talking of that kind of extremism or segregation, we won’t see journalists peering through windows there, because it is not Muslims involved. Extremism of the rich is applauded, not questioned”.
Assed Baig ends by thanking the teachers, governors and staff at Park View school for the improvements made, for giving hope to so many children from that deprived area in which he grew up.
Posted on April 16, 2014, in Government, Local government and tagged Alum Rock, Assed Baig, ‘Trojan Horse’ letter, BBC bias, Birmingham CE Mark Rogers, Birmingham Faiths Council, Bishop of Birmingham David Urquhart, Park View School. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.