Dilly Hussain says that the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, is either the author or the “brains behind” the Trojan Horse letter which claimed that Muslim extremists were plotting to takeover schools in Birmingham.
All the facts that I am about to present are well-known and well-documented.
The factors stated below may not be considered as “stone-cold facts” but they are more than adequate indicators based on the nature of the recent scandal involving 21 Birmingham schools that were wrongfully accused of harbouring “extremism.”
1. In 2009, Michael Gove (Shadow Secretary of State at the time) spoke about the “effective policing” of Muslim schools which promote an “extremist ideology” counter to “British values”. This was in context to a BBC Newsnight report on two schools with alleged links to Islamic political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir. Five years later, and Gove is still using the same terminologies in relation to the Trojan Horse scandal. You can watch the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxeNEwDq3Pk
2. Ishtiaq Hussain who was a former senior member of the counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam Foundation (QF), is an advisor for the Department for Education. Though he left QF after a fallout with Maajid Nawaz in 2009, he is still renowned for his right-wing Islamophobic views on mainstream Muslim organisations.
Speaking to a number of chair of governors in Birmingham earlier this week, they all stated that they believed Ishtiaq Hussain played a key role in blowing up and instigating the Trojan Horse scandal. The DfE did not wish to comment on Hussain’s involvement in the investigation or his connection with the QF.
3. Gove appointed the former national head of counter terrorism, ex-Met Chief Peter Clarke, to lead the Trojan Horse investigation. Chief Constable Chris Sims said: “Peter Clarke has many qualities but people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism.” Is Peter Clarke’s appointment a manifestation of “effective policing” which Gove spoke about back in 2009?
4. The education secretary is linked to the pro-Zionist and anti-Muslim organisation, Henry Jackson Society. He is one of the “Signatories to the Statement of Principles” for HJS (http://henryjacksonsociety.org/about-the-society/signatories-to-the-statement-of-principles/). Gove is also a proud supporter of Israel. In his own words: “I was born, will live and die proud to be a Zionist.” http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/55213/gove-tells-ujia-i-am-a-proud-zionist
5. One of the main assertions behind why Gove is directly linked with the inflammatory Trojan Horse document is because in his book Celsius 7/7, Chapter 8 is entitled “Trojan Horse”. In this chapter, Gove writes how radical Islamism is on the rise and creeping into mainstream British society, including the education system.
Once again, Gove states that the way to tackle this is to “effectively police the ideological threat from a young age”. Many have pinned the Trojan Horse dossier on Gove solely based on this. Is it just a coincidence? Most certainly not.
6. In the official Ofsted report which was published this Monday, it stated that “15 schools were specifically investigated at the request of the Secretary of State”. Gove called for these investigations and all that was required was an unsigned and unsourced fabricated letter.
7. Whitehall sources have said that Gove is using the Trojan Horse scandal to further his own career by politicising the education system with an anti-Islamic agenda whilst seeking Tory leadership at the same time. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/michael-gove-accused-of-using-trojan-horse-row-to-push-antiislam-agenda-9488549.html)
8. When the Ofsted reports were published, there was no indication by the government that the origin of the Trojan Horse letter which caused a media frenzy and damaged community cohesion by further demonising Islam and Muslims would be investigated.
Even though no evidence was presented by Ofsted confirming an organised plot or “bloodless coup” by Muslim hardliners, the subject of where or who authored the Trojan Horse letter has been conveniently brushed under the carpet. In the words of Cllr Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council: “I don’t think the origins of that document will ever be determined.”
9. One of the reasons why some of the schools were downgraded from “outstanding” to “inadequate” was because the teachers had not received enough training in the government’s anti-extremism PREVENT programme. This claim is untrue as I spoke to governors and teachers of the schools in question who showed me their certificates of the PREVENT courses they took in very short notice upon Ofsted’s orders.
Yet, Gove still insists on further PREVENT training for teachers and governors even after no evidence of extremism was found at any of these schools. Why would the DfE apply the government’s counter-terrorism strategy in schools where no evidence of “extremism” was found? “Effective policing”? More like PREVENT is the conveyor belt to radicalising young Muslim children.
10. The DfE has introduced a new “safeguarding” framework within Ofsted reports. Prior to this, Ofsted measured “pupil safety” from the perspective of physical harm, abuse, health and safety. The new “safeguarding” framework specifically deals with the “vulnerability and exposure of pupils to radical extremism”. Will this new safeguarding framework be applied in state schools with high numbers of Sikh, Hindu, Jewish and Christian children or will it specifically target overachieving schools in deprived areas with a Muslim majority?
If the facts presented above aren’t enough to at least initiate the possibility of a legal case and a police investigation into the origins of the Trojan Horse letter, which has affected the pupils currently sitting their GCSE exams more than anything, then starting off with Michael Gove would be a step in the right direction.