This one is being widely reported; from the Birmingham Mail:
An alleged plot by Islamic fundamentalists to take over Birmingham schools by ousting headteachers and staff through dirty tricks campaigns is being investigated by education chiefs.
The city council and the Birmingham Mail have received documents which purport to show Jihadists are targeting schools and orchestrating false allegations against staff, including non-Muslims, in an operation dubbed Trojan Horse.
…The documents claim to be leaked written correspondence from one Birmingham fundamentalist to another in Bradford and details plans to roll out Trojan Horse to Bradford as well as Manchester.
…The alleged plot is said to involve recruiting Salafi parents and staff – hard-line followers of Islam – to help spread false allegations about school leaders, including claiming sex education is being promoted to Muslim schoolchildren or Christian prayers.
…Peter Hay, Strategic Director for People at Birmingham City Council, alerted city councillors to the anonymous documents on February 10 and revealed some heads had also received them.
If genuine, the documents would provide important and sinister new information about the context of some events that have recently occurred at schools in Birmingham: the letter suggests ”planting the seed” of false allegations of SAT-cheating against Tina Ireland, the head of Regents Park Community School, and we know that Ireland was forced to resign due to just such an allegation. The documents also appear to predict that Balwant Bains, the head of Saltley Schools, would “soon be sacked”, and Bains resigned in October due to conflict with governors.
The Birmingham Mail is careful to use quotation marks in its headline (“‘Jihadist plot to take over Birmingham schools’”) to reflect the fact that the origin of the documents is currently unknown; the Daily Mail, however, goes with “Revealed: Islamist plot dubbed ‘Trojan Horse’ to replace teachers in Birmingham schools with radicals”, consigning the detail that authenticity has not yet been established to several paragraphs into the story. The earliest source, an article by Richard Kerbaj and Sian Griffiths in last week’s Sunday Times, slips from “an apparent plot” in the lead-in to “the revelation” shortly thereafter. That piece also describes the “anonymous documents” as having been leaked to the paper.
The alleged correspondence is variously described as “documents” or as just “the leaked document” or “a letter“. Several pages have been uploaded to Scribd by someone using the name wigwammer (H/T Islamophobia Watch); they are typed photocopies, and the document appears to be one continuous item.
Co-ordinated efforts by hardliners may be the key to understanding what’s happened in Birmingham, but it seems to me that there’s a good chance that such a comprehensive “smoking gun” is be too good to be true: the plot is laid bare in detail, while the author’s malice is made unambiguous through conspiratorial language worthy of a villain in a pulp thriller:
We have caused a great amount of organised disruption in Birmingham and as a result now have our own academies and are on the way to getting rid of more headteachers and taking over their schools. Whilst sometimes the practices we use may not seem the correct way to do things you must remember that this is say ‘jihad’ and as such using all measures possible to win the war is acceptable.
Yet the identity of the writer remains impossible to pin down.
There are also a couple of other concerns: the name “Operation Trojan Horse” is generic and again clunkily conspiratorial, and seems an unlikely title for Islamists to adopt; second, aside from the vague reference to “jihad”, the letter lacks the kind of insider religious rhetoric and self-justification one might expect to see in correspondence between fundamentalists.
Of course, the letter may indeed be genuine – but I think it’s a bit early to be pronouncing on its “revelations”.