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British Muslims must confront the truth of the ‘Trojan Horse’ schools

24 July 2014

10:15 AM

24 July 2014

10:15 AM

The Trojan Horse reports are in, and they make for damning reading.  ‘An aggressive Islamist agenda… a coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos’. Teachers who claimed that the Boston marathon bombing and the murder of Lee Rigby were in fact hoaxes and an ‘Attack on Islam’. And so on. The grim details are out. But there is a story behind this story which has not been thought about, though it ought to be. That is the response of Britain’s Muslim communities to these awful revelations.

Ever since 9/11 a considerable appeal from the non-Muslim majority in the West has been ‘where are the moderates? Where are the moderate voices who are willing not just to excuse or remain silent in the face of their religion’s extremists, but to actually stand up and say ‘these people are bringing our faith into disrepute, we recognise it, we hate it, and we are going to actually push them out of the faith.’ The unwillingness of more than a tiny number of Muslims to actually stand up and speak out as well as push out the extremists is very noticeable to non-Muslims. Indeed, I would suggest that it is one of the largest contributing factors to the hardening of attitudes across Europe towards Islam in general (see here for some interesting polling on this).

So when the story of Birmingham schools emerged – with stories of the most appalling racism against white people and disgusting bigotry against Christians, gay people and others – it should have provided a fine opportunity for what is generally termed the ‘moderate majority’ to make their voices heard. Granted, the ‘Trojan Horse’ story started strangely and plenty of us were uncomfortable about writing or speaking about it until we knew what the facts were behind the allegations in the original document. But, once the press and then the official investigations got underway, it became clear that, whatever the origin of the document, what it alleged was true. It has now been repeatedly found to be true.

Yet the response of Muslim communities has not been to accept this and to do something about tackling it. Far from it. The official responses have almost to a man and woman been denial, evasion and a fall-back onto claims of ‘Islamophobia’ and racism.


I can think of only two people of Muslim background who have had a consistent, brave, outspoken and truly moral response to these events. One is the Labour MP Khalid Mahmood (who has again urged Muslims to face up to the challenge and not to pretend the plot is a fake). The other is the Quilliam Director and prospective Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz, who has been equally principled in his consistent opposition to what has been unearthed in Birmingham.

Both these men have recognised that there exists a real problem: that some schools in Birmingham have been caught in the process of being taken over by hardline Islamic fundamentalists. Both men recognise that such fundamentalists are a threat to everyone in society – Muslim and non-Muslim – and that those who teach hatred and suspicion of the wider society must be opposed.

There might be other examples I have not come across. But, otherwise, it seems to have been evasion all the way from almost every other Muslim group I have looked at. There has been the anti-Gove crusade led by the Birmingham-based erstwhile leader of the ‘Respect’ party, Salma Yaqoob. And then there has been all the accusations of ‘witch-hunts’ and more from most other Muslim journalists, broadcasters and politicians. On radio and TV, I have had a number of exchanges with Muslim spokesmen and women about this, and the level of denial is not so much shocking as deeply concerning. For instance, this story has produced a lot of appearances by someone called Myrriam Francois-Cerrah, a student, blogger and convert to Islam, who insists that there is nothing to see here and that the reports into Birmingham schools – rather than the schools themselves – are the problem.

As it happens, I have had quite a few conversations with various Muslim leaders off record in which I have tried to persuade them that failing to face up to this problem now is going to lead to far bigger problems down the road. After all, I understand, like most people, how inevitable it is that when your faith, community or group comes in for criticism, one natural response for many people is to protect themselves and their people. The instinct is to close ranks, to deny the ‘outsiders’ any ‘victory’ over them and not to give their ‘detractors’ any ‘ammunition’. Plenty of other faiths and groups have done this. When the Catholic Church started to become aware of the paedophile scandal within its ranks, its immediate instinct seems also to have been to try to avoid airing its ‘dirty laundry’ in public. As I have suggested to various people over recent months, Britain’s Muslim communities might learn from the Catholic Church, among others, and see that trying to avoid such an airing always ends up causing a far worse and more visible scandal to emerge at some later date.

But there seems almost no willingness to recognise this. The official reports are in, and their conclusions are fairly unanimous. The majority of the population will be utterly shocked by them, as they have been by the revelations of this story from the outset. But Britain’s Muslim communities, spokespeople and representative groups appear to be content in denying the facts, ignoring the problem and pretending that it is ‘Gove’ or Peter Clarke or anyone else who is the problem, rather than the people who are trying to make little Talibans of British children in Birmingham. Some are crying ‘racism’, yet it is what has been unearthed in some Birmingham schools that is the real ‘racism’ of our time.

Of course, the denial and smoke-blowing may seem like a sensible strategy now. But, at some point in the future, people will rue the day that such evasions were thought sensible. After all, when the question ‘Where are the moderates’ is asked after this episode, it will not have escaped the wider public’s notice that we seem to be able to count the true, outspoken, moderates on a couple of fingers.

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Show comments
  • Tellytubby

    Very late on this – just seen the article. Where are the moderates you ask? Very simply, they don’t exist. The author is looking at Islam through Western eyes, in essence, looking at it as a religion in the same way Christianity is – full of grey areas, interpretations and get outs for those of us who are not as pious as we should be to appease our consciences.
    Islam is not like this. It is more akin to a autocratic political system such as fascism or communism than it is to Christianity and thus to Western culture in general. This is why we have failed to engage with it, and failed to really understand the issue for so long.
    In the mind of a moderate Muslim, an attack on someone who denigrated the Prophet is entirely justified. They might not say it but you will notice they will not refuse to condone it. This is because they know that their religion actually expects them to do this (i.e. kill people who denigrate the Prophet for example by cutting their heads off). It is a very clear instruction. They cannot condemn it without going against the law of God himself – thus being guilty of apostasy (the unforgivable sin). Thus they keep quiet. Of course not every muslim is as pious as the zealots in the Islamic State – they are normal human beings and don’t want people to suffer or destroy the West by and large, but the fact remains that they feel like “bad muslims” for not living in a manner that Muhammed ordered them to. This is something they have to deal with as part of their own conscience. They worry about it and pray that their soul be saved because of it. That’s why you don’t hear them condoning these atrocities – because on some level they know that they are a necessary evil if one intends to live according to the law of God.
    Thus it is absolutely clear that Islam is incompatible with the values and culture of the West. We must be more forthright in defending our own culture and belief systems (such as freedom of expression and individual liberty) and acknowledge that they are OUR beliefs. For too long the subversive “liberal” left has undermined our own belief in our culture – brainwashing our children to believe “all cultures” are equal and that they can exist on an equal footing within a Christian, Western democracy. This nonsense has led to the dangerous situation we see today.

  • Duncan_McFarlane

    We also need to deal with the neo-conservative far right Trojan Horse groups like Douglas Murray’s Henry Jackson society which backed war on Iraq, still want war on Iran and claim torture is justified. Especially when senior Labour and Conservative MPs are members of it.

  • Gwangi

    Yes, but Muslims will always support Muslims against non-Muslims IN ANY situation. That is the way Muslims always think (and why they never protest when Muslims kill Muslims, only when Jews or Christians do! For good reason, mostly, or because Islamists fire missiles from schools…)

    There are maybe 15% of Muslims in the UK who are the enemy within. Another large number support them passively. Maybe a third to a half of UK Muslims are decent citizens though – but are too scared to speak up and confront the Jihadists.
    But who to blame really? The white middle class liberals hypocrites from the NUT and other unions, councils, the government, the BBC who are too busy celebrating the diversity of anyone with a dark skin and a religion (and a nice suit of Emperor’s clothes) that they cannot see what is in front of them: dangerous, treacherous, disgusting extremists who want to destroy this country, despise its values, and live to brainwash and abuse children.

    I’d like to see these white middle class hypocrites charged with wilful neglect – as I’d like to see members of the university where Lee Rigby’s killers were radicalised also charged with the same. Wilful neglect makes these useful idiots collaborators with the enemy within and they should be tried as such.

  • Omar

    Gender apartheid, forced veiling and hatred of the kuffar are all part of canonical islam. . . . . Why would they object?

    The real problem – as evidenced by this article – appears to be our own collective inability to process that simple fact.

  • fretslider

    Some would point to New Labour’s MCB as the voice of moderation

    Funny then that Tahir Alam was the chair of the MCBs education committee.

    There is no such thing as moderate Islam, that is a myth.

  • litesp33d

    British Muslims must confront the truth of the ‘Trojan Horse’ schools.

    News just in: British Muslims who are practicing their religion (not the hidden apostates of which there are many) do not care about the Trojan horses. This is just a blip on the forever road to turn the World Islamic and it does not matter if it takes 1000 years. I actually doubt it will take that long as long as we keep acknowledging that today’s Religion have anymore merit than we would those who claimed to worship Odin. Every day we go by not educating all children together in a secular environment where all religious beliefs and none are taught on an equal footing is a day closer to violent insurrection.

  • MeowBahrain

    Its not the British Muslim who needs to face up to the reality of Trojan horse like issues. It’s the west that needs to wake up and smell the roses! Muslims are ‘just’ practicing their Faith as it really is.

  • abdousset

    saif rahman did a chart comparing the accusations in the letter to the actual findings, and basically breaking down what the report said. it was very informative.

  • dazy Juno

    There is only one way to deal with the Muslim problem. Enforce a 2-child per woman law. No woman can have more than 2 children. This way, the Muslim population (and every other population) will reach a peak and then remain constant. But at least they’ll never be able to become the majority. In the minds of Muslims, they have a right to take over any non-Muslim country they so wish, and if you attempt to stop them, you are an ‘enemy of Islam’ and should therefore be dealt with (no prizes for guessing how).