BBC Panorama on Muslim Schools

As has been widely reported, the BBC’s Panorama ran a report on Monday by John Ware, entitled “British Schools, Islamic Rules”, about how certain schools may be promoting a segregationist mindset; although Ware made no reference to it, the programme came in the wake of a Telegraph report alleging that some Muslim schools in London received good reports from OFSTED due to the religious bias of particular inspectors.

The programme highlighted several case-studies, starting with the Jame’ah Uloomul Qur’an (var. Jamiah Uloom al-Qur’an) girls’ school in Leicester, where the niqab is part of the uniform. The school is associated with the Jame’ah Mosque, and with the Darul Iftaa Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence. Ware highlighted some particularly grim pronouncements from the Darul Iftaa website, such as that women should not leave the home “without need and necessity” and that music is a “direct ploy of the non-Muslims”. Although Ware did not give much background, these are the views of Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, who directs the Institute and who is also a teacher at the school. However, the school told Ware that the Darul Iftaa has no bearing on its “principles and ethos”.

Ware also noted links to between certain schools and controversial individuals: the Al-Risaala Balham Preparatory School, based in the Tooting Islamic Centre, described in a newsletter how Riyadh ul Haq had been an “inspiring speaker”; this was a year after his extremist views had been discussed by Andrew Norfolk in the Times. The school told Ware that ul Haq had not spoken at the school itself, but only in the Islamic Centre, which is in the same building. Meanwhile, APEX Primary in Ilford had a fundraising event involving Haitham al-Haddad, shown in a clip explaining how there was an “ongoing conflict” with the “enemies of Islam”, and that “we should pay the price of this victory from our blood”. APEX explained that this was not how it teaches “citizenship values”. I found this section to be less than satisfactory; a one-off link to an outside speaker with some objectionable views expressed elsewhere may be troubling, but in itself is insufficient to show that a school is hotbed of Islamist indoctrination. Rather than pursue the matter systematically or in any depth, Ware – whose research here appeared to consist of various bits and pieces culled from the internet followed up with requests for statements – quickly moved on to another subject, that of Saudi-influenced weekend schools (see below).

Ware also drew attention to the Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI), which inspects 70 schools connected with the Association of Muslim Schools UK and an organisation (not named by Ware) called the Christian Schools’ Trust.  Barry Sheerman MP complained that this “sub-system” had “slipped through the system before anyone noticed what had happened”. Ware noted that OFSTED has concerns that inspection organisations covering fewer than 350 schools and 5 faiths “might lack rigour and objectivity”; however, he only mentions in passing (and as something BSI has told him rather than as something which can be confirmed) that OFSTED has in fact rated the BSI as “good”. His sole – and somewhat thin – evidence against it is that it gave APEX a good rating despite al-Haddad having spoken at a fundraiser.

The last part of the programme dealt with the separate issue of a network of private weekend schools for young Muslims. Ware explained that there are 40 schools, teaching 5,000 children, and that they sometimes hire out school buildings for their activities. The schools use textbooks imported from Saudi Arabia, and Ware tracked down their distribution to a building associated with the London Saudi School in Ealing. The textbooks are inflammatory, explaining how Jews look like “apes and pigs” and how Zionists plan Jewish domination of the world. For 15-year-olds, there are illustrations to show where a thief’s hand and foot should be amputated, and discussion about the manner by which gay people ought to be executed. Ware notes that former Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal had promised an end to such “intolerance” and “an internal revision and modernization plan”, following the exposure of the same material at the King Fahad Academy (also in Ealing) in 2007. Risibly, the Saudi embassy pretended to have nothing to do with the weekend schools, although Ware had letters showing this to be untrue.

Of course, Ware made some effort not make clear that he was not targeting all Muslims: he began by showcasing Al-Furqan school in Birmingham, which stresses the importance of integration, and later in the programme the Stanley Road Primary School in Oldham, which has an increasing number of white pupils. He also briefly looked over some school websites linked to other religions; in particular, he noted that some ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools appear “locked into their own world”, and he found an Evangelical school website carrying an attack Islam; although he didn’t give the name, this is the Bethany School in Sheffield, which carries a 1992 article from Prophecy Today explaining that

Islam and Hinduism are both deceptions, but very different from one another. The followers of Allah make no secret that they are waging a holy war against infidels on behalf of Allah at both national and international levels, and their militancy is plain to see.

Two of those interviewed for the programme – John Bald, formerly of OFSTED, and Neal Robinson, an academic expert on Islam, contributed a Policy Exchange report entitled Faith Schools We Can Believe In: Ensuring that Tolerant and Democratic Values are Upheld in Every Part of Britain’s Education System, which can be seen here.

19 Responses

  1. It’s a pity that the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) does not reprove the anti-semitism but plays the victim card.

    If a secular or church school said that Muslims were apes and pigs how would the MCB react?.

    When leading Muslims just play the victim rather than address the specific issues they fail to improve community relations by showing that anti-semitism is not part of Islam.

    Unfortunately there is much in the Qur’an and the life of Muhammed to support Islamic anti-semitism
    Qur’an 7:166, 2:65, and 5:60

  2. Neal Robinson supervised my BA dissertation, only he didn’t. The topic was Idries Shah, and he gleefully quoted an academic who said one shouldn’t touch Shah “with a barge poll”, and on that basis, he considered Shah a fake (and there is an argument to be made in that regard). I asked how the academic came to this judgement, to which he replied he didn’t know, but the academic was “highly regarded by her colleagues.” At which point I let rip – to denigrate someone as a fake on the the say so of a colleague, however highly regarded, I berated him, doesn’t count as informed opinion – and quoted Shah’s own defence of an academic attack on him. He ignored me for the rest of the year. Neal likes his own opinions, and doesn’t like ’em robustly challenged.

    • I see that Shah once said that “It is much easier to write a book on Sufism than it is to study it.” I wonder if that’s the source of quote attributed by Christopher Hitchens to Gore Vidal on Shah, which I haven’t been able to source, that “These books are a great deal harder to read than they were to write.” Vidal certainly mocked Doris Lessing for her enthusiasm for Shah.

      • I see that the quote in context actually goes thus:

        “You know, Rumi said that people counterfeit gold because there is such a thing as real gold, and I think that’s the situation we are in with Sufi studies at the moment. It is much easier to write a book on Sufism than it is to study it. It is much easier to start a group and tell people what to do than it is to learn first. The problem is that the spurious, the unreal, the untrue is so much easier to find that it is in danger of becoming the norm …”

  3. The Koran is chock full of anti-semoitism. These schools should be shut down, the teachers and administraters arrested and the children placed in foster homes.

    These people are backward savages, and are far, far worse than those idiot fundamentalist Mormons living in segregated communities in Utah that everyone on the left so loves to denounce and demonise.

    To draw an equivalence between the koran’s virulent anti-semitism and any that happens to be in the New Testament betrays a total ignorance of both Christianity and Islam.

    The Koran is a gross and disgusting document dreamt up by a raving psychopath. It isn’t the schools or the sytaff that are treaching this hate, it is the Koran itself.

    Britons will never accept islamist supremacy, and Muslims will most certainly never accept to live as equals and so civil war will be the eventual result.

    • Wow, June. Are you one of these hate preachers we hear so much about these days?

    • June is just a retarded racist beast. Can’t even spell Semitic right yet insists the Koran is full of Antisemitism.
      i’m betting June is just another knuckle dragging Jewish extremist who thinks God is her real estate agent from 5000 B.C thinking she has a “right” to Palestinian land.

      • I don’t know if you can draw all that from her actual comments. I do notice she advocates something for Muslims akin to the forced child abduction and deculturisation that was done to the aboriginal inhabibants of America and Australia.

  4. @Tom,

    I’ve read enough of June’s comments over the months to determine that she’s a Jewish extremist, but the possibility remains that she could be a Protestant Armageddonist fundie.
    By far, hers are the most rude, racist, profane and dehumanizing comments found on this site. Bartholomew ought to ban this genocidal bitch.

    • Maybe he’s collecting the evidence to put her on trial. She must only be about a week away from completing her own version of Mein Kampf.

  5. Here’s something to chew on. In the 1300 years that Islam has spread throughout the world, be it either thru conquest or mass immigration there is not a single recorded instance where Muslims have NOT called for implementation of Sharia law to govern all or part of their daily lifestyles. Once their numbers are established and embedded in the communities they reside (think 6 ~ 10%+) the demands for Sharia are increasingly made. Self imposed segregation, with no intention of integrating is the order of the day. It is this “stealth jihad” that is the true threat to Western liberal democracy – not Al Queda. This is not a racist viewpoint, for Islam is not a race. It is a clash of mindsets – a clash of fundamental values and beliefs and as June so rightly points out will almost certainly descend into civil war. Muslims, emboldened by the existing apathy think the Islamification of Europe is inevitable. They are mistaken. They need to study European history to realise that once Europeans finally identify and understand the threat to their culture they have a nasty habit of getting extremely violent and murderous.

    • There are, of course, numerous modern countries in which Muslims constitute the religious majority and in which Sharia is not the law of the land. Also, Islam has spread by other means than conquest and mass immigration, among them, voluntary conversion. There are many serious books on the history of Islam, why don’t you read some, rather than getting your information from the internet.

      You do realize that everything you say about Muslims wishing to be governed by their own laws was true of Jews before the nineteenth-century Haskalah, don’t you?

      • @ Bill. Like I said: “there is not a single recorded instance where Muslims have NOT called for implementation of Sharia law to govern ALL OR PART OF their daily lifestyles.”
        To which you replied: ” there are numerous modern countries in which Muslims constitute the religious majority and in which Sharia is not the law of the land.”

        Please name specifically these countries that you talk of. (Remember, for my statement to be false, no part of their legal system or any laws of their land must be based on any part of the Sharia.)

        You also say: “Islam has spread by other means than conquest and mass immigration, among them, voluntary conversion.”
        Often the “voluntary conversion” that you refer to was the result of the choice given: 1. Submit to Islam and enjoy equal rights with fellow Muslims. 2. Keep your religion but pay the Jizya taxes and accept second class Dhimmi status with little to no rights. 3. If neither option 1 or 2 is for you then I’m afraid it’s option 3……Death.
        Gives a whole new meaning to the word “voluntary”.

        Lastly you say: “You do realize that everything you say about Muslims wishing to be governed by their own laws was true of Jews before the nineteenth-century Haskalah, don’t you?”
        Actually I do, but thanks for asking.
        If you countered with that in order to demonstrate some vague attempt at moral relativism then you show yourself to be truly grasping at straws. But of course the left wing apologists for Islam and Muslims can never stop themselves from bringing the Jews into the discussion and blaming the Jews for everything. The reality in 2010 is that the Jews are not fighting a Jihad against mankind wherever you look around the planet. Islam is. The UN currently acknowledges 21 officially designated war zones on earth. 20 of them involve Muslims. Why is that?

  6. Non-sharia Muslim states? Kazakhstan. Pretty much all the ex-Soviet states. Turkey. If your statement is true if any Musim in a given country has ever called for any part of sharia to apply to any part of his or her life, it is of course true, but utterly trivial.

    Islam spread in sub-Saharan Africa mostly through voluntary conversion, beginning with merchants who wished to protected by sharia and often extending to kings who could acquire a literate bureaucracy. Same thing in Indonesia. Of course, the people who really spread their religion by the sword were the Christians, who didn’t offer the alternative of a jizya either. Or perhaps you believe that Latin America is Catholic because the Franciscan missionaries were so darn persuasive?

    Do you have a link on this war zone thing? Because just saying that a war zone “involves Muslims” could mean Muslims were invading, defending against invasion, or, as they were in Sri Lanka, mostly ducking as the local HIndus and Buddhists were shooting at each other.

    I don’t blame the Jews for everything; I do find the double standard existing between sharia and halakah a source of endless amusement, however.

  7. There are, of course, numerous modern countries in which Muslims constitute the religious majority and in which Sharia is not the law of the land.

    That situation only dates from 19th cenutry colonialism and later Soviet colonisation in Central Asia.

    Now that that era has drawn to a close the islamic world is reverting to form.

    Sharia creep ias the order of the day in formerly secular places like Egypt, Iraq, Turkey Algeria etc, etc.

    And Bill’s voluntary conversion thesis is bunk and betrays a crass ignorance of isam’s violent and bloody history

    Islam is theocratic fascism and its headquarters sits in a religious-apartheid state that forbids the practice of any religion but Islam.

    By far, hers are the most rude, racist, profane and dehumanizing comments found on this site. Bartholomew ought to ban this genocidal bitch.

    You should thank your lucky stars, you immature, psycho-sexual nutjob, that I’m not your first wife.… don’t you have a Christmas tree lighting to blow up, or something?

    Surely to Allah, you could find something to explode or someone to fatwa and kill.

    • No, the voluntary conversion thesis is not bunk, its based on the reading of serious, scholarly historians of Islam, not hacks grinding out quickie atrocity compilations.

  8. […] Channel 4 Documentary on Extremism in Muslim School and Violence in Madrassa Posted on February 15, 2011 by Richard Bartholomew Channel 4′s Dispatches has just broadcast a documentary on hard-line teaching in a Muslim school in the UK and violence in a madrassa attached to a mosque, using covert recording over a two-year period. The programme, entitled Lessons in Hate and Violence, can be seen in the UK here; it forms a follow-up to Dispatches‘ 2007 programme Undercover Mosque (blogged here), and complements a BBC Panorama programme on extremism in some British Muslim schools which went out in November (blogged here). […]

  9. If Muslims want respect and goodwill from non-Muslims, then they should forge genuine friendship and relationship with non-Muslims who live among them as minorities. There is no point for Muslims to complain about Islamaphobia if there is Christianophobia, Hinduphobia or anti-Semitism in their home countries. They should stop all covert or overt pressure on their Non-Muslim citizens, stop the harrasments, the political undermining, economic discrimination, start having meaningful political representation of non-Muslims in government and politics, not token representation. Ask every non-Muslim in a Muslim country, he or she will have a list discontents to share with you. Charity begins at home. I know there Muslim governments that have good excuses for not providing these to their non-Muslim citizens, but winning arguments will not create understanding, if you can’t convince people then there is no use of arguing. For a start they can amend their constitutions to say explicitly “All Citizens of this country have equal rights irrespective of their religion.”

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