There are various inquiries being carried out investigating claims of Islamist’s infiltrating schools seeking to run them along Islamic lines.
Once these investigations have been concluded and the dust has settled there needs to be one other investigation. An investigation into the BBC’s role in this affair.
I use the term ‘The BBC’ here because it is clear that what is happening is not one or two journalists imposing their own interpretation on events, there is an obvious direction from above….when so many BBC journalists refuse to report something as important and damning as the MCB’s 2007 ‘Advice to Schools’ it can only be because an editorial message has gone out not to, conversely when all journalists start using the same phrase, such as ‘cultural conservatism’, you can be similarly assured that there is another editorial guideline passed down from on high setting the correct narrative.
The BBC hasn’t just stood back and reported events impartially, it has actively sought to mislead its audience about those events, it has downplayed not only the events themselves and the activities of the Islamists, but the importance of them in regard to society as a whole, not only that but the BBC has set out to damage Ofsted and especially Michael Gove…damaging them it hopes to also to damage the credibility of the investigations by Ofsted and the government into ‘extremism’ and Birmingham schools. Worse, the BBC has actively promoted the takeover of schools by Islamists saying ‘…once you accept that certain schools are Islamic schools, you can then think about constructing a governing body with proper representation and management processes to prevent the problems in Birmingham.’
The BBC suggests this is a good way to both promote cohesion but also control the ‘extremists’….perhaps somewhat naive of the Journalists deep inside the BBC bubble. Such journalists should take their own advice and heed the ‘warning from history‘ they are so keen on usually….German politicians and industrialists thought they could control Hitler…they couldn’t.
The BBC is muddying the water….on the one hand they report that there is no evidence of a Muslim plot but then report there is evidence and Gove ignored it…. trying to downplay the significance of the plot and yet use the dangers of the plot to attack Gove.
One major and obvious ‘mistake’ in the BBC’s coverage is omission of the central question that set Gove and May at loggerheads…how to define ‘extremism’? May wanted a narrow definition, Gove a broader one encompassing not just violence or threats of or incitement to violence but what might also bring Islam itself into question. Is extremism solely violence or does it also include the various social and judicial imperatives inherent in Islam for example in regard to the status of women especially in regard to rape or their harsh and restrictive demands on women in the name of ‘modesty’, or else FGM, or the treatment of apostates, gays and other religions or non-Muslims? Cameron takes a line more akin to Gove’s in his 2011 Munich speech…Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries.…the “doctrine of state multiculturalism” has failed.
The BBC has recognised that there is the danger of Gove’s definition taking hold despite May apparently winning the argument….it’s hard to hold back the tide of reality when it is blatantly obvious what is going on. The BBC’s answer? As mentioned below they have adopted a phraseology that they hope will deflect criticism of Islam and place the blame for events at the schools on ‘conservative cultural practices’ as they often do with many stories that would otherwise highlight uncomfortable truths about Islamic justice and attitudes.
The BBC will report what many people tell of very serious issues in Birmingham schools and of a plot to Islamise schools, for instance, ‘Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr, believes there are reasons to be concerned. “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,” he said.’
The problem comes when we get the BBC’s own interpretation….all that ‘evidence’ is suddenly forgotten, the BBC claiming: ‘The focus is not on a “conspiracy”. The “Trojan Horse” letter is now widely assumed to be a forgery, and appears to have been written to alarm people.’
The BBC is rather casual when it comes to those facts, or reporting relevant facts that might change perceptions. Here they report this, ‘A chair of governors at one of the schools involved described the reaction to this letter as a “witch hunt”. ‘ But who was that ‘chair of governors’? Tahir Alam, the man at the very centre of the conspiracy claims, which immediately puts into question his claim of a ‘witch hunt’.
Why did the BBC hide that fact?
The BBC is very keen not to tell you some things about Tahir Alam that might set the alarm bells ringing…for instance the Times revealed that he had been a member of an Islamist extremist group, he also wrote a document laying out the Muslim Council of Britain‘s demands to schools as to how they should adapt their schools in order to suit Muslim pupils.
Whilst the BBC has never reported the existence of that important and revealing document it has reported that Alam was in fact an Ofsted inspector. Why would the BBC report that fact but not the others? The suspicion must be that they are attempting to undermine Ofsted by saying the man at the centre of its investigations was in fact employed by them and therefore must be a credible and respectable person.
The BBC is hiding Alam’s islamist tendencies whilst publishing something that they might believe would help his case.
What of that ‘conspiracy’, or in the BBC’s opinion, ‘Non-conspiracy’?
‘The Ofsted results also support the notion that this is really about a clique of governors.
The leaders of four of the schools expected to go into special measures are good friends, who speak a lot via WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app.
The idea that there is no wider conspiracy has support: people working in counter-extremism in Birmingham also do not think there is an acute broader problem in the city.’
‘The problem is really about a small clique of governors’? Well yes…and no. That surely is the central thrust of the claims anyway…that a group of governors has been inserted into schools so that they can ensure that they are run along Islamic lines. But it doesn’t rely solely on governors, it requires the help of teachers, parents and pupils….in other words there must be a conspiracy if such events are in fact happening.
Tahir Alam is in fact a classic ‘Trojan Horse’ himself…..having infiltrated Ofsted as an inspector, he runs a Trust which controls numerous schools as well as being a governor of Park View School.
The BBC not only seeks to mislead audiences by omitting facts such as Alam’s Islamist tendencies, or by downplaying other facts such as whether it is a deliberate conspiracy or whether the Trojan Horse letter is real or not, or by adding other facts into the mix to muddle things up such as Alam being an Ofsted inspector but it also manipulates the language used so that certain concepts are pushed to the fore and others are pushed to the back and out of people’s minds.
You may have noticed that the BBC is now frequently using phrases such as ‘cultural conservatism’ rather than islamic extremism, ‘For Ofsted, the issue in these schools is that they are socially conservative.’
This form of words is intended to move audiences away from the idea that the problem stems from Islam itself, the problem is social or cultural….ignoring the fact that such societies or cultures are defined and governed by Islam in every way. Everything the BBC does is with the intention of downplaying the influence of the Islamic beliefs that drive these plots. The BBC believes that if the public realises what is actually happening they will no longer be supportive of a growing, separate, Islamic culture and society within their own and that this will lead to conflict. The BBC’s alternative is to keep a lid on things, sit back and do nothing and allow the Islamists to take control, as evidenced by the BBC’s promotion of Islamising schools for a quiet life.
More evidence of the BBC’s dangerous and highly political game can be witnessed by listening to Evan Davis on the Today programme (08:33:40) ostensibly examining the events surrounding the schools, Oftsed, Gove and May.
Who does he invite on to comment? Labour’s Tristram Hunt and Islamist Salma Yaqoob.
Hunt was allowed free rein to attack Gove and to claim that it was outrageous that he hadn’t investigated claims of Islamists trying to take over schools made in 2010, and that Ofsted was clearly not working properly.
Davis didn’t challenge any of this and in fact encouraged the narrative about Oftsed being unfit for purpose after having given Park View School an outstanding classification in 2012 but now possibly going to be placing the school in special measures.
Firstly this is what a teacher from Park View said of that 2012 inspection: “They were very analytical, razor-sharp; these people really knew their stuff.”
So Ofsted ‘knew their stuff’. The teacher was there, he saw the inspection being done, he liked what he saw. I might suggest he knew more than an opportunist politician with perfect hindsight and a biased journalist.
But what of Hunt’s claim that Gove or Ofsted did nothing in 2010 when warned of the Islamist threat?
Davis might well have leapt in there, but didn’t, and demanded why Labour had done nothing in 2008 when Birmingham Council was warned of a similar plot: “Many demands were made that were simply impossible to meet and it began to appear like there was some sort of organised attempt to undermine the management of the school.”
Davis could also have asked why Labour, in power for 13 years, did nothing about the approaching disaster that Headmaster Tim Boyes said has been bubbling away for 20 years:
“Back in 2010, I had a whole series of colleagues, other head teachers, who were reporting concerns about governance and things that weren’t going well in their schools.
“Over 20 years… tensions and politics have exploded and as a result head teachers have had nervous breakdowns, they’ve lost their jobs, schools have been really torn apart,” he said.
Sounds quite serious but Evan Davis decided such questions were irrelevant and didn’t bother to derail the Labour politician’s anti-Gove narrative….maybe because the BBC recognises that ‘Mr Gove and Mrs May are two of the “biggest beasts” in the Conservative Party’ and to damage them would have many beneficial results for the BBC’s own narratives in regard to Labour and Islam.
What about that Ofsted inspection in 2012 and the subsequent downgrading in 2014? Davis suggested that this indicated that Ofsted may have serious problems…but does it?
So was that 2012 classification of ‘outstanding’ wrong…or is the new one wrong?
There are some points that might be relevant in deciding how Ofsted came to its conclusions in 2012 and subsequently came to change them two years later.
- Firstly the inspection was done with two days notice given to the school prior to the inspection, time enough to tidy things up and get the story right.
- Secondly the inspection may not have been an aggressive, hard hitting one…the teacher who praised Oftsed above said this, ‘Outside the lesson, the history teacher, Lee Donaghy, praises the approach taken by the Ofsted team that visited the school in January. This is a view many other heads and teachers dispute – but Donaghy warmly describes the inspectors as “collaborative”. “It was more ‘done with’, rather than ‘done to’,” Donaghy says.’ So the inspectors were ‘collaborative’, doing the inspection in close cooperation with the staff…..a recipe for a bit of a fudge?
- Thirdly there is political correctness, the thinking that multi-culturalism is to be positively encouraged and that Islam especially should be welcomed if it helps with integration and cohesion. In other words the fact that schools were introducing Islamic practices would not have raised alarm bells, quite the opposite in fact….the actual, damaging, effects of such an Islamic culture being adopted and enforced by the schools in relation to the wider society may have been ignored, Islamic values being seen as beneficial and Muslim pupils under its yoke not alienated by being forced into a ‘Western’ style education.
- Fourthly we are now told by the BBC that there is ‘no evidence’ of a conspiracy…..so even now despite all the ‘evidence’ and numerous credible claims the BBC can sit there and say there is nothing to see….if so…why should Ofsted not taken a similar stance in 2012…or indeed in 2007 when they last fully inspected the school and proclaimed the school to be ‘good’ ….or the Department of Education in 2010?
Tristram Hunt demands to know how a school classed as oustanding in 2012 can two years later be downgraded so far…and yet he has no questions about a school classed as good in 2007 and then in 2010 in an interim inspection still classed as only good which can be reclassified as ‘oustanding’ two years later in 2012.
This report from the Mail may give a clue as to how Ofsted classifications can jump so readily between grades based on, well, very little of substance:
Payhembury Primary in Devon was criticised by Ofsted for being insufficiently ‘multicultural’.
So the 68-pupil Church of England school is asking parents to pay for their children to make a two-day trip to a school with a wide mix of ethnic backgrounds.
The visit – described by one parent as patronising and bizarre – has been sold to parents as a way of boosting Payhembury’s Ofsted grade from good to the top rating of outstanding.
So that was the BBC’s platform for Labour’s tub thumping rhetoric but what about Salma Yaqoob? Yaqoob is an Islamist herself, ‘radicalised’ by 9/11, and so it must raise a few eyebrows that the BBC should bring her, an Islamist, on to reassure us that there is no Islamist plot to take over our schools and that it is in fact a government conspiracy with right wing media that creates a hysterical anti-Muslim witch hunt…her standard reply when Islam is criticised in any way whatsoever.
Davis allowed her to rant on only interrupting to feed her a question that she could then answer with another rant. Not a lot of journalism going on as she went completely unchallenged.
Davis remarkaby came up with that old phrase we’ve been hearing a lot on the BBC recently…’cultural conservatism’…trying to suggest that this wasn’t a bad thing really but often confused with that bad old ‘extremism’…‘people often mix them all up together’ don’t you know old chap.
Davis referred to a Daily Mail article which he said talked of such ‘cultural conservatism’…however read the article and if that is cultural conservatism it boggles the mind as to what you would have to do to be considered ‘extreme’ in Davis’ eyes.
Yaqoob said, ‘she had yet to see “a shred of evidence” that pupils were being radicalised. “The kids of Birmingham are already damned as being extremist,”‘
She kept referring to the ‘kids’ but they aren’t the issue…the issue was with the governors and teachers. Making ‘kids’ the ‘victims’ of this ‘witch hunt’ as the basis for her defence of the schools was a rhetorical trick purely designed to distract attention and create a particular negative emotional reaction against Ofsted and those who make claims of a conspiracy.
Yaqoob claims that she ‘Doesn’t want to see extremism in the schools‘…and yet she is a hardened Islamist herself:
Salma Yaqoob, one of the best known activitsts in the moribund RESPECT Party, cut her political teeth campaigning for the British jihadists who were imprisoned by the Yemeni authorities for their terrorist activities.
She also wrote a playful article in Inayat Bunglawala’s “Trends” magazine, in which she imagined Britain as an Islamic Republic. The piece ended with a terrified Salman Rushdie fleeing the country.
You’ll also remember that at Ken Livingstone’s “Clash of Civilisations” debate, Salma Yaqoob called the 7/7 terrorist murders “reprisal attacks“.
‘Harry’s Place’ claimed in 2008 that, ‘Salma Yaqoob’s entire political career has been devoted to stirring up sectarian hatred.‘
and added, ‘Salma Yaqoob is invited to write op-eds for the Guardian. She is a favourite of the BBC, and is repeatedly invited on programmes like Question Time, where she is presented as a serious politician and a spokewoman for Britain’s muslims. In reality, she is a marginal politician, for a tiny party, whose interventions in local and national politics have been poisonous. Let us hope that we hear a lot less of Salma Yaqoob in the future.’
Well, obviously not so far.
Yaqoob laid into Gove claiming that this was in fact a government conspiracy against Muslims and that the spectre of an Islamic ‘Trojan Horse’ had been haunting Gove’s imagination for a long time as evidenced by a chapter titled ‘Trojan Horse’ in a book he’d written.
However on that basis let’s have a look at something Yaqoob has written and use it to judge her intentions and motivations…a tract in an Islamic magazine run by MCB man Inayat Bunglawala happily imagining an Islamic state of Britain:
Guess it is pretty clear exactly where her loyalties lie and her intentions.
The question might be asked exactly where the BBC’s loyalties lie and what are their intentions as they promote Islamist takeovers of schools, hide evidence that this is happening and attempt to do political damage to elected politicians?
You may want to read Charles Moore’s piece in the Telegraph:
We have now become accustomed, unfortunately, to the painful discovery that children were abused in the state system – in some schools, hospitals, children’s homes. When these things are exposed, we all agree how disgraceful it was that the authorities turned a blind eye. The danger from Islamist extremism is comparable. It too is an abuse of children, and yet we still dare not face it.
And Damian Thompson:
“Students’ understanding of the arts, different cultures and other beliefs are limited.” That’s one of the complaints about Birmingham schools made by Ofsted in their leaked report. It sounds like a relatively mild criticism.
Not so. What the Trojan Horse scandal has revealed is that leaders of the Muslim community in Birmingham have been creating a Wahhabi-inspired counterculture in secular, not faith, schools.
I expect plenty of controversy in the days to come, as the Ofsted report is published and its implications sink in. The BBC will try to dampen it down. We mustn’t let that happen.