Leaked Trojan Horse report reveals 'aggressive Islamist ethos' in Birmingham schools

Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Park View School in Birmingham, one of three schools inspected as part of the "Trojan Horse" investigations, has been placed in special measures.

A government investigation into the "Trojan Horse" controversy in Birmingham schools will release its findings today, reportedly revealing a "coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos".

Though the findings are not due to be released until later today, a leaked draft of the report was procured by the Guardian newspaper. It has printed comments from the report written by Peter Clarke, former deputy assistant commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police and leader of the Counter Terrorism Command.

According to Clarke, the inquiry found a "sustained and coordinated agenda to impose upon children in a number of Birmingham schools the segregationist attitudes and practices of a hard-line and politicised strain of Sunni Islam".

"Left unchecked, it would confine children within an intolerant, inward-looking monoculture that would severely inhibit their participation in the life of modern Britain," he notes.

Though no evidence of terrorism has been found, the report does indicate "very clear evidence that young people are being encouraged to accept unquestionably a particular hard-line strand of Sunni Islam that raises concerns about their vulnerability to radicalisation in the future".

The results follow concerns that radicalised Islamists are promoting an extremist form of the faith among British young people, though the schools in question have repeatedly denied the allegations.

Former education secretary Michael Gove, who was demoted to chief whip earlier this week, recently warned that Britain must step up its defences to counteract the rise of Islamic extremism across the country, insisting that "liberal values are our best protector".

His approach to the controversy has been criticised, however, as many suggested that treating it as an issue of terrorism rather than of localised school governance merely served to increase tensions. Birmingham MP Shabana Mahmood has thus called on his successor, Nicky Morgan, to deal with it in a more appropriate manner.

Mahmood told the Birmingham Mail: "What we had under the previous regime was a complete unwillingness to engage in an evidence based discussion about what has really been going on in Birmingham schools.

"Michael Gove's belief in the 'conveyor belt' from religious conservatism to extremism meant that the whole Trojan Horse debacle has been seen through the prism of national security, rather than through the prism of good governance.

"I sincerely hope to meet Nicky Morgan as soon as possible so that we can make rapid progress on the job of fixing the governance issues in a few Birmingham schools, rather than spending valuable time trying to fix a problem of extremism in schools which simply does not exist."

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recently suggested that a "national culture of fear" has gripped the UK with regard to Islam.

"I think we're in danger of slipping into a very fearful culture in which we see everyone against us and us against everyone and we're constantly trying to defend ourselves. This country is much bigger than that, and much better than that," he told Andrew Marr.

"I think we've been becoming too hysterical about this subject for some considerable period, and it is a worry because we have huge differences with Islam as Christians, but that is absolutely no reason for hostility, quite the reverse."

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