This article was published as the ‘Birmingham Brief’ on Thursday 17th April 2014. Whilst the first few paragraphs are reproduced below, the full article can be read here.
Operation Trojan Horse: examining the ‘Islamic takeover’ of Birmingham schools
It is believed that at least 25 schools in Birmingham are now being investigated in response to allegations of what the media and city council are routinely describing as ‘takeover’ bids by ‘hardline Muslims’. Birmingham City Council has subsequently announced that it intends to freeze the recruitment of school governors and appoint a new chief adviser to deal specifically with the allegations.
This action comes in the wake of Operation Trojan Horse, a leaked anonymous letter – which some say is a hoax – that claims to reveal a plot to ‘overthrow’ existing teachers and governors in various non-faith state schools across the city and replace them with ‘Islam-friendly’ individuals who will run the schools in accordance with orthodox Islamic principles.
Much has been made of the dossier; some believe it is a conspiracy against Muslims while others cite it as evidence of a concerted effort to ‘Islamify’ Britain or, to use a phrase preferred by some on the far-right, as evidence of ‘creeping sharia’. Trying to disentangle the conspiracy from the connivance is, understandably, extremely difficult.
From my own research into Islamophobia, Operation Trojan Horse would not be the first time that spurious claims have been made about Muslims and Islam in recent years. Such claims have included allegations of Muslims wanting to ban everything from Christmas to piggy banks. In 2005, the Daily Express claimed that Muslims were seeking to ban Jesus. What the journalist behind the headlines overlooked was that such claims could never be true, given that Jesus is recognised as a prophet of Islam and held in great esteem by Muslims.
Read on here.