The so-called Trojan Horse plot, an alleged Muslim conspiracy to Islamise schools in Birmingham, was led by a man who was not only a fundamentalist, but also an Ofsted inspector.
According to reports in the Times and Telegraph, Tahir Alam, who had qualified as an Ofsted inspector in 2010 and was a chairman of governors at Park View School, was also the leader of HISAM — Harakat Islah Shabaab Al Muslim, the Movement to Reform Muslim Youth.
The Times described HISAM as a ‘fundamentalist group which had aspired to turn Britain into an Islamic state’, imposing Sharia law and promoting gender segregation.
In the April edition of Evangelical Times, we reported on the BBC investigation, which first uncovered the alleged plot, after a letter sent from someone in Birmingham to Bradford boasting of a ‘Trojan Horse’ scheme was leaked by a Muslim to head teachers across Birmingham.
The letter only became public in February, when the National Association of Head Teachers told the BBC that it was investigating a suspected Islamist plot to oust head teachers at schools in Birmingham and replace them with Muslims.
The letter allegedly boasted that up to four schools have already been taken over and more have been set up for a fall, and claimed that such methods could be implemented in Bradford to help take over schools.
It is also said to have claimed that Muslim parents at the schools were being used in the fight, and said the most orthodox Muslims, the Salafi, were being ‘enlisted’ to help the cause, by ‘turning parents against the head teacher and the leadership team’.
Investigations by Ofsted in 21 schools found evidence of an organised campaign to target certain schools by Islamists, and that head teachers have been ‘marginalised or forced out of their jobs’. Five schools were placed in special measures after inspectors found systemic failings including failure to safeguard pupils against extremism. Three schools were commended.
However, Mr Alam has denied any wrongdoing, and claimed that the Trojan Horse controversy is politically motivated. The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has also issued a statement to the effect that racially motivated forces have fabricated this conspiracy to drive out Muslim teachers from schools.
In a statement, the IHRC said, ‘We believe the investigations have been prompted by official indignation over the fact that the religious profile of the boards of governors at the schools mirrors that of their majority Muslim pupils.
‘A preponderance of Muslim governors running the schools in line with the expectations of Muslim parents is being treated as a threat to the secular British education system, with Islamophobic tropes of misogyny and extremism trotted out as a pretext to attack the Muslim management of the schools’.