Trojan Horse teachers should be jailed

Under the previous Labour government, a culture of political correctness meant Islamic extremism was allowed to spread unopposed and unchallenged at every level of society. Those days must now come to an end

Schools for Trojan horses
Steven George-Hilley
On 21 July 2014 11:30

The revelations that radical Islamists were able to infiltrate and effectively control at least 21 schools in Birmingham is a reminder of just how vulnerable Britain has become to home-grown extremism.

If that wasn’t shocking enough, now we learn that many of those implicated in this wickedly evil plot will be allowed to keep their jobs, instead of being sent to jail where they belong.  

However, with so little serious action from the authorities, it should be no surprise that in a country where a British solider like Lee Rigby can be beheaded in broad daylight by two men chanting "Allahu Akbar" we should also find a culture of hatred and Islamic extremism creeping into our education system.

As ministers squabble and try to pin the blame on each other, it seems that nobody is prepared to accept any kind of responsibility for this very serious problem that threatens our way of life.

For many years under the previous Labour government, extremism was allowed to spread unopposed and unchallenged at every level of society, from the authorities to the politicians who were supposed to be keeping us safe.

A culture of political correctness and left-wing practices meant that people could stand in the streets of London dressed as suicide bombers and bearing placards which read “Behead those who insult Islam” without fear of arrest as Police Officers looked on.

Indeed, the likes of hook-handed terrorist cleric Abu Hamza were provided Police protection to stand on the streets and poison the minds of young Muslims. The irony being that Labour’s softy-softly approach actually allowed an increased intolerance by giving those peddling extremist ideology a free platform to speak.

The Islamist education agenda in the Trojan Horse plot, which has now been exposed by Ofsted, and was apparently set to be rolled out to other counties across the country included everything in the Al-Qaeda training manual: Gender segregation, homophobia, anti-Jewish and Christian preaching were all part of the indoctrination of a generation of young Muslims.

School facilities were used to copy and produce DVDs of Osama Bin Laden training videos and children were addressed by Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman, a fundamentalist preacher who has called on God to “destroy the enemies of Islam.”

But what of the authorities and elected officials who were supposed to prevent this kind of thing from happening? So far, Sir Albert Bore, the Labour City Council leader has apologised to the people of Birmingham claiming that staff had ignored the issue due to the fear of being accused of racism.

Worse still, the report concluded, "There is incontrovertible evidence that both senior officials and elected members of Birmingham council were aware of activities that bear a striking resemblance to those described in the Trojan horse letter many months before it surfaced."

When the fear of being labelled ‘Islamophobic’ prevents education professionals and Council staff from intervening in cases as severe as this, you have to wonder what is happening to our country. Are we to believe that anti-gay preaching and verbal attacks on Jewish people are a price worth paying so long as Council staff avoid being branded Islamophobes?

If this is the case, then they too should lose their jobs, for putting pride before the protection of vulnerable and impressionable children at the mercy of an extremist agenda.

There is some hope, as under the strong leadership of Home Secretary Theresa May, we have already seen a much tougher approach to extremism. Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza, two men who basked in the media spotlight on benefits and Police protection during the Labour years, have now been booted out.

This sends a clear signal that the rise of the celebrity extremist preacher is now over and those who promote hatred and intolerance have no place in our society. It would be good to see a genuine collaboration between May and the new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to ensure two great politicians and their departments work together to tackle this problem.

Our country and those elected to protect and serve it can no longer turn a blind eye to the evils of home-grown extremism and the impact it will have on the next generation, if unchallenged.

The job of local authorities and Council representatives is robustly to scrutinise, identify and take action on issues like the Trojan Horse plot. For many, this will mean the need to dismiss teachers who was involved in the plot, to enable the schools to move on and have a fresh start under new leadership.

The fact that many of those involved in this outrage have been able to keep their jobs, “Sends a dreadful and divisive message that teachers in Britain who push warped philosophies, religious bigotry and threaten certain groups in our society will be let off scot free,” according to Suzanne Evans, UKIP's Communities spokesman.

I am not usually a fan of UKIP, but on this occasion she is quite correct.

So if our authorities continue to sit back and do nothing, choosing the easy option of avoiding confrontation, then we are simply abandoning our children to the extremists. Doing so will not only make our country a more dangerous and intolerant place, it will put our national security at risk.

Steven George-Hilley is a director at the Parliament Street think tank and a Conservative Party activist. He is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator

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