Daily Mail Claims Alleged “Operation Trojan Horse” Plot Goes Back To 1990s

The Daily Mail has a front-page follow-up on the “Operation Trojan Horse” story (which I discussed yesterday), by Lucy Osborne:

Muslim school headmistress reveals she was driven out of job by fanatics who ‘saw her as the enemy, because she was too moderate’

…In a letter seen by the Mail, a fanatic brags about enlisting four radical parents to help oust her in 1993.

She said: ‘I was the victim of a pernicious, well-orchestrated smear campaign I have never been able to recover from.

‘People need to know this is a dangerous, well-organised and sinister group who have the capacity to destroy. They are producing fear in society and playing on paranoia. They are extremely powerful.’

The 69-year-old believes she was seen as an enemy because she was too moderate a Muslim. She was confronted with a number of allegations, including one of financial mismanagement.

Despite protesting her innocence her dismissal followed in 1994.

Details of the case were reported at the time by British Muslims Monthly Survey, and are available on the website of Birmingham University. It recorded in 1994 that:

Mrs [Noshaba] Hussain was appointed in unusual circumstances whilst having had no paid primary school teaching experience and being under investigation concerning financial irregularities at the Muslim Women’s Training Centre which she used to manage.

The Birmingham Post revealed (23.10.93) that there had been a series of three advertisements for the post when Mrs Hussain was appointed, the first two carried the standard requirement for appropriate teaching experience but the third, which had apparently not been approved by the Authority and on the basis of which Mrs Hussain was appointed, did not carry any mention of such a requirement. Further, the same newspaper reported that irregularities had been found in Mrs Hussain’s record of service which she had thrice been asked to clarify but had declined so to do.

The Mail does not go into any of these details, let alone explain how the whole thing was actually a conspiracy by fanatics. Indeed, the report avoids even mentioning the name of the ex-head or of the school. The Mail article also contains a text box with excerpts from the document, introduced as “The letter brags of the ‘Trojan Horse’ plan working ‘perfectly’ as early as 1993. Below are selected extracts”, but the material then given instead refers to recent events in two other schools.

Frustratingly, the complete text of the “Operation Trojan Horse” document is still (apparently) not available online, although the same four pages from it have been uploaded to Scribd by users with the names “Wigwammer” and “Truthy101” – Wigwammer has uploaded photos of photocopies, and these same photocopies appear to have been scanned independently by “Truthy101” (with some redactions added). The relevant passage is on the third page:

The parents MUST be given direction and told not to discuss this with anyone, you only need a maximum of 4 parents to disrupt the whole school, to send in complaints, to question their child’s education and to contact their MP and local Authority. We did this perfectly to Noshaba Hussain from Springfield School. However the Governors reappointed her so now we have another plan in place to get her out.

“Truthy101” has also uploaded a new copy of the 1994 article from the British Muslims Monthly Survey, as well as a press release by Tahir Alam, who is currently chairman of the governors at Park View School. Alam was named in the document as one of the plotters – he has already dismissed the document as a “malicious fabrication” in comments to the media, and in the statement on Scribd he apparently adds:

The document refers to a headteacher at Springfield School and how the alleged ‘plotters’ attempted to remove her but did not succeed; and how they are still trying to remove her now. A simple Google search has revealed that she was headteacher of Springfield Primary School around 1993 and has not been at the school for a very long time. My involvement in education started in 1997. This factual inaccuracy further undermines the veracity of the whole document and shows it is a complete concoction.

…Finally, I have managed to obtain four pages of a scanned copy of the original ‘Trojan Horse’ document, which I have attached so that you can make your own mind up.

UPDATE (12 March): The Times has a delved a bit deeper, in a piece by Dominic Kennedy, Greg Hurst and Ruth Gledhill (re-posted at Islamophobia Watch):

Raghib Ahsan, a former Labour councillor for the area who went on to become chairman of governors at the school, was astonished to be told about the claim in the letter. “That’s a total lie,” he said: “We got rid of Noshaba Hussain. There was no religious issue. There was no such thing, if they are trying to take credit for it I was Sparkhill councillor at that time.”

The story raises some unfortunate difficulties for Lucy Osborne at the Daily Mail: why did she not contact Ahsan herself, and why was her report so lacking in specific and highly relevant details that were readily available elsewhere?

The Times also suggests that the document authors appear to be unaware that Hussain’s dispute was as long ago as 1993 (a point obscured by the Mail‘s text-box intro), and suggest that this is evidence that the document may be a forgery. Also:

The crudeness of the apparent forgery is underlined by another error. The letter identifies two Birmingham schools where the plotters claim credit for removing head teachers late last year. However, the author appears to have muddled up their departure dates.

Correction: I originally overlooked the reference to Hussain on the third page.

One Response

  1. Hi Richard.
    Only just started looking at the Trojan Horse story. So I do a Twitter search that asks the obvious question by including the words Trojan Horse Letter Leak – and I find you were the first asking that, and I am now reading you back in 2014! By the way, the first to tweet about it was Harry’s Place. Thanks for all that great work 8 years ago. Also I note about the 1993 factual inaccuracy: it exculpates Tahir Alam – which I don’t think was really reported (need to check)

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