Wednesday, 23 February 2022

The Birmingham Trojan Horse Scandal

Another evening, another break from writing I'm sorry to say. But there's always plenty of good stuff worth viewing. Such as this Novara piece on the Islamist Trojan Horse "plot" in Birmingham's schools, how a pair of New York Times journalists did some proper journalism and uncovered the fakery, and how The Observer's Sonia Sodha has provided liberal cover for the press and the politicians who lapped it up. A reminder, as if we needed one, about how we must build the depth and reach of our own media.


Jim Denham said...

Everyone involved in education in Birmingham knows that although the initial Trojan Horse letter was a hoax, it was drawing attention to a real problem of ultra-right Islamist influence in Birmingham schools. The evidence of misogyny, homophobia and antisemitism (plus some real child protection concerns) is demonstrated by posts on the email group run by some of the leading figures. When one of the dismissed teachers took a claim of unfair dismissal to an Employment Tribunal, he lost. Sonia Sodha does an excellent job in debunking the New York Times /'Serial' account.: "One half (of 'Serial''s presenter duo), a Muslim journalist from Birmingham called Hamza Syed is explicit about his mission from the beginning: he wants to prove his suspicion that a female Muslim headteacher wrote the Trojan Horse letter for her own parochial reasons because he thinks it would show 'everything that comes after doesn't matter'."

"Syad and his American co-presenter Brian Reed also try to discredit the findings about what went on in the schools Alam [Tahir Alam - boss of the academy chain that ran the schools] was responsible for, including the misogyny and homophobia they tellingly lump into a 'grab bag of Islam-adjacent allegations'."

Sodha concludes: "As journalists, our work has real-world consequences beyond the entertainment value of a gripping story. By all accounts, these communities have been healing and the schools recovering, but the people I spoke to fear this podcast series will reopen old wounds and sow new divisions. The 'New York Times' owes them an apology."

Anonymous said...

Really, shame on you. An example of why the far left is every bit as bad as the far right. A plague on both your houses.

Jim Denham said...

I commented in August 2018:

Razwan Faraz should have quit while he was ahead: he is one of five school leaders accused of misconduct who had the cases against them dropped last year, after the NCTL (National College for Teaching and Leadership) disciplinary panel concluded it had no option but to end the hearings due to an “abuse of justice”.

Supporters of the five (accused of organising to impose a “narrow faith based ideology” upon Birmingham state schools), including Islamist organisations, the Guardian and, in particular, its education editor Richard Adams, the SWP and the Tory journalist Peter Oborne, proclaimed the collapse of the cases to be a vindication of their stance that the Trojan Horse affair was a witch-hunt based upon a ‘forged’ document and fuelled by Islamophobia.

In fact, the collapse of the cases proved nothing of the sort: it was necessitated by legal technicality (an important technicality, but a technicality nonetheless) resulting from the incompetence of the NCTL’s lawyers (Nabarros, now re-named CMS) who failed to disclose evidence used as part of its prosecution.

What the collapse didn’t show (despite the dishonest claims of the likes of the SWP, Oborne and Adams) was that the evidence against the five was untrue. But that’s what entered the “common sense” view of many decent, anti-racist people on the left and the liberal-left.

So Razwan Faraz would have been well advised, once the NCTL case against him had collapsed, to have left it at that. I strongly suspect (but do not know for sure) that his very capable legal adviser during the NCTL hearing, the barrister Andrew Faux, would have advised him to do exactly that. But no, Mr Faraz insisted upon bringing a claim of religious discrimination and unfair dismissal against Birmingham Core Education Trust (who’d dismissed him from his job as Deputy Head of Nansen Primary School in 2015) at an Employment Tribunal.

The Tribunal published its decision and its reasoning, last month.

It found that Mr Faraz was fairly dismissed because of comments he made on a Whatsapp group called ‘Park Hill Brotherhood’ in which he described gay people as “animals”.

He’d written: “These animals are going out in full force. As teachers we must be aware and counter their satanic ways of influencing young people.”

The Employment Judge, Richard Henderson, said his (Faraz’s) comments were “demonstrably homophobic” and described Fraz as “evasive” and “not a credible witness”.

Concluding, Employment Judge Henderson explained why Faraz’s claim of religious discrimination also failed: “We take note that both the disciplinary and appeals panels (each differently constituted and including Muslim members) all concluded unanimously after a full consideration of the case that the claimant’s explanations were not credible. They were satisfied that the claimant was not expressing a religious belief in his comments. The comments were homophobic. This tribunal is satisfied that his dismissal for making homophobic comments had nothing to do with the expression of any religious belief.”

The tribunal did not deal with the antisemitic comments also exchanged on the Whatsapp group to which the five school leaders subscribed.

Richard said...

Anonymous, your comment is foolish. I know that Jim Denham knows the facts of the Trojan Horse case as do I. Jim has set them out clearly and dispassionately. Have you read the Faraz Tribunal judgment? Do. It's online. You will learn some of what really happened.