Skip to content

In the Press

  • The former assistant headteacher of a Birmingham school at the heart of the so-called Trojan Horse scandal described how Christmas was “cancelled” as the school became more “Islamised”.
    Hilary Thompson, previously assistant head at Nansen Primary in Alum Rock, said celebrations from non-Islamic faiths were “squeezed out” – just two months after the failing school was taken over by Park View Educational Trust in October 2012.
    Mrs Thompson’s claims as she was today giving evidence at a National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) hearing, where five senior teachers from the Trust face allegations of professional misconduct.
    The Trust also runs Park View and Golden Hillock – schools also plunged into special measures in April last year during investigations into an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to take control of governing bodies.
    Mrs Thompson said a move to regular Friday Islamic prayers were also impacting on pupil achievement – with teachers and children alike missing half an hour of class to attend prayers.
  • The launch of a campaign aimed at generating support for LGBT Muslims and promoting dialogue about homosexuality has received mixed reactions from the Muslim community.
    The new Support LGBT Muslims campaign, established by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, attracted both criticism and support at the launch on Wednesday. “Some LGBT Muslims have complained that they’ve received harassment from their fellow Muslims,” said Tatchell, a prominent LBGT rights campaigner. “We want to challenge that by pointing out that both gay and Muslim people suffer prejudice and hate crimes – therefore we should be working together.”
    The campaigners drew disapproval from some pedestrians at the launch in Whitechapel, east London, which has a large Bangladeshi community. One middle-aged man asked if the campaigners would approve if he walked naked down the street.

    “Muslims believe in the prophets and we follow their teachings,” said Mariam Miah, a local woman. “Nowhere in those teachings does it say that it’s acceptable to be gay or lesbian. I accept those are feelings they have but it’s not something I want to promote.”

    But a 25-year-old man, who gave his name as Ali, said: “If people are gay, let them be gay. If they want to marry, let them marry.”
  • A rabbi who has called for the state of Israel to be "dismantled" and an Islamic preacher with extremist views were allowed to speak at assemblies at a school at the heart of the Trojan Horse scandal, it has been claimed.
    Aaron Cohen, a rabbi from Neturei Karta - an anti-Zionist orthodox Jewish religious group - was among the speakers invited to talk to Alum Rock's Park View Academy, said Andrew Colman, a barrister for the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).
    Sheikh Shady Al-Suleiman, a renowned Islamic preacher, also gave talks to pupils at the school, said Mr Colman.
    The Sheikh has been known to publicly call on God to "destroy the enemies of Islam" and to "prepare us for the Jihad".
    Mr Colman's claims came as part of the NCTL's case against five senior senior staff from the former Park View Educational Trust, which ran three Birmingham schools at the heart of the so-called Trojan Horse scandal - Park View, Nansen and Golden Hillock.
  • Charities are free to continue funding an advocacy group that called an Islamic State murderer a “beautiful young man”, the High Court has confirmed.
    Cage was thrust into the limelight when it emerged that among the terrorist suspects and jihadists it had supported was Mohammed Emwazi, who has been seen in Isis videos with the severed heads of western hostages.
    Cage and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust took the Charity Commission to a judicial review yesterday, complaining that the regulator had gone beyond its remit by telling the charity not to fund Cage. The commission claimed that there had been a misunderstanding.
  • Instead of starting school last month, Reuben Murphy found himself back in his Dublin nursery for another year as his mother, Nikki, re-embarked on her quest to find a place at a local state primary for her four-year-old son.
    She has already applied to 15 schools. But, following rejections from nine last year, Murphy is far from confident that a place will be found for Reuben. In a country where more than 90% of state schools are run by the Catholic church, unbaptised children like him are at the bottom of their admissions lists.
    “I’m desperate,” said Murphy. “I’ve met tons of parents who’ve baptised their children just to get a school place. We thought about it, but it goes against our conscience. I feel it would be an abuse of other people’s deeply held religious beliefs.”
  • David Cameron today backed allowing big retailers and supermarkets to open for longer on Sundays, despite opposition from religious leaders and some of his own MPs.
    The Prime Minister told the Commons this afternoon it was “time to modernise” the current laws, which restrict larger shops to only serving customers for six hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays.
    Earlier this week, the Church of England claimed extending the hours would “erode” family life, while it has been reported at least 20 Tory MPs could vote against the measure.
  • Nearly 700 recruits have returned to Kenya after quitting militant groups, a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.
    The report warns that a failure to reintegrate returnees may lead to further radicalisation.

    Somalia's Islamist al-Shabab militants are believed to be recruiting heavily in neighbouring north-eastern Kenya.
    Kenya has seen a series of militant attacks with one at a university earlier this year killed 148 people.

    Although the report does not mention where the returnees came from, Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) Hassan Ole Nadu has confirmed to the BBC that they were fighting for al-Shabab.
  • A Muslim couple accused of trying to take their four young children to Syria to join Islamic State should not have their children taken away, the head of the family court ruled yesterday.
    Sir James Munby found that Asif Malik, 31, and Sara Kiran, 29, posed no threat to the welfare of their children, who are all younger than eight. The family’s passports will be returned, despite the fact that they were arrested in Turkey last April as they headed for the Syrian border. Sir James said they had “put the incident behind them”.
    The judgment, made the day after the government announced a raft of plans to strengthen powers to stop Britons travelling to Syria, is thought to be the first of its kind.
  • Michael Gove’s plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a new British Bill of Rights risks encouraging childish “fantasy”, the head of the Government’s equalities watchdog has suggested.
    Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, the philosopher and chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), said any new charter which eventually replaces the Human Rights Act is likely to contain virtually the same principles as the controversial legislation it supersedes.
    The idea that the Government could come up with a completely new set of rights to those contained in the Act is, she said, like a child fantasising that there could be new set of colours to paint pictures with.
    Her remarks came as she delivered a lecture on freedom of religion and freedom of expression, hosted by the Christian think-tank Theos.
    She said the murders of the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this year vividly illustrated the dangers of the increasingly prevalent belief that people have a “right not to be offended”.
  • French National Front leader Marine Le Pen has appeared in court in Lyon, to answer charges of inciting racial hatred, for comparing Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation.
    She made the comments at a rally in the city in 2010 when she was fighting for the leadership of the party.
    Ms Le Pen insisted on Tuesday she did not commit any offence.

    And the prosecutor called for her acquittal, saying she was not referring to the whole Muslim community.

    The National Front (FN) leader had only spoken about a specific number of people and was exercising her freedom of speech, Bernard Reynaud told the court.


Subscribe to our emails