The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has rather predictably said that it
“unequivocally condemns all terrorism and extremism and we have not seen any evidence to date of such activities in Birmingham schools”.*
I say predictably not only because the MCB is a Muslim Brotherhood organisation, but also because it has been directly connected to this Islamisation-of-schools affair itself.
The MCB, for example, produced it's own “plot” for the Islamisation of state schools in 2007 (which was published on its website - more of which later). It also has many direct connections with some of the Islamist plotters.
And despite the negative findings of Peter Clarke's report, as well as the numerous testimonies and details found in many newspaper articles, the MCB is still talking about “allegations”.
So what would need to happen in order for the MCB to stop talking about mere allegations? What sort of evidence would it require? What kind of trustworthy body (to the MCB) would need to be set up to look into these things? (That's if the MCB believes that they should be looked into in the first place.) Perhaps something run Muslims in conjunction with the Respect Party? Perhaps an investigation carried out by the MCB itself?
That Hoax Letter Again
It's unbelievable that the Muslim Council of Britain is still going on about the “hoax letter” which “purports to outline a plot by Muslims to takeover schools” when virtually all the people involved in this affair - including the strongest critics of these schools - have already and often said that it the letter is probably a hoax. Indeed some have said that it is a hoax. And yet out of desperation or deceit (or both), the MCB, Salma Yaqoob, The Guardian et al are still repeatedly telling the public what the public already knows – that this letter was probably a hoax.
The other ironic thing is that a genuine “letter” - or “plot” - was actually written for the MCB itself (back in 2007) by the now well-known Mr Tahir Alam of Park View school (also a “human rights defender” and Chair of the MCB Education Committee), as well as by Muhammad Abdul Bari (who was the Secretary General of the MCB at the time). That document was on the website until a couple of months ago when the MCB website was revamped. (It may have been erased before that.) I have seen it and so have various journalists and many other people. Indeed I provided a direct link to it in a previous article.
In any case, think of the terrible inference involved here. Because a single letter may well have been a hoax, it seems to surprise the MCB that “accusations of an extremist plot still persists”.
Why can't a plot still have occurred even if that single letter was a hoax? Why is everything dependent on that letter? Indeed why is the MCB referring to a “plot” in the singular when - from the details of the many investigations - there were many plots by many people in many schools? In fact it is argued here that these schools could still have been Islamised without the need for a cloak-and-dagger or a behind-the-scenes plot.
The reason why the MCB's focus is on a single plot is because the MCB is still fixated on the hoax letter which outlined a single plot. Yet the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Express, The Independent, the Birmingham Mail (though not, of course, The Vanguardian), the various investigators and the many people involved in this case who have offered testimonies have made it clear that if anything there have been various plots by various people at various times. In other words, there wasn't a single centrally-planned plot which followed, to the letter, the dictates of a single (hoax) letter. And that's hardly a surprise.
Evidence of Extremism?
So the MCB says that there's no “evidence of extremism in Birmingham schools”. What can you say to that? There is a very large amount of evidence which has been published by our national newspapers and, indeed, in Peter Clarke's report. This evidence includes dozens of testimonies from teachers, parents, MPs, councillors, journalists and all sorts of other people both directly and indirectly involved in Birmingham’s schools (as well as other schools).
I suppose that it entirely depends on what the MCB means by the words “extremism” and “evidence”.
It can be suggested that because the views of the MCB concur with the views of the Muslims involved in the Islamisation of Birmingham's schools, then, evidently, it won't see any anything that's happened as being extreme.
And it follows that if the MCB doesn't see the report's citations of Islamic extremism as extremism, then it won't accept that there's any evidence of extremism either.
The MCB's position really isn't that complicated.
However, there is one statement from the MCB - as well as from Peter Clarke's report - which is difficult to understand.
The MCB itself quotes Clarke this way:
“Mr Clarke says in his report that 'I have seen no evidence to suggest that there is a problem with governance generally' (10.1)...”
I guess - from what I've read and what Muslim teachers and governors have said - that this means that in terms of the academic achievements of these schools, they've done quite well. The argument must therefore be that because these schools have been relatively successful (academically), then either that means that they shouldn't have been investigated or that academic success itself must mean that there can't have been any Islamic extremism (or plots) in the schools. But that simply doesn't follow.
Think about the admittedly extreme theoretical case of a school run according to a National Socialist (Nazi) or a Stalinist “ethos” (rather than the “Islamist ethos” of Peter Clarke's report). This Nazi or Stalinist school, nonetheless, is still academically successful (as Nazi and Stalinist schools were). Would that automatically mean we should leave these schools alone? Would it also mean that the schools couldn't be be extreme simply because many of their pupils have managed to get so many qualifications?
[Tahir Alam, of Park View school.]
The MCB does deign to admit to one thing (though even this admittance doesn't amount to much).
The MCB writes:
“The evidence Mr Clarke cites, for example of social media conversations exhibiting inappropriate behaviour are indeed very disturbing and may constitute grounds for disciplinary, procedural and legal action.”
This is hardly a confession of guilt. That's because the MCB may argue that what happened on social media can hardly be said to have directly involved Birmingham's schools as such. However, it just happens that these “conversations exhibiting inappropriate behaviour” were carried out by Muslim governors and teachers at Tahir Alam's Park View school. All in all, there were 3,000 messages spaced over 130 pages (all administered by Park View's Acting Principle). These comments included:
i) “highly offensive comments about British servicemen”
ii) “scepticism about the truth of the reports of the Lee Rigby murder and the Boston bombings”
iii) “disparagement of certain schools of Islam” (probably Shia and Ahmadiyya Islam)
iv) “a stated ambition to increase segregation in schools” and
v) “explicit homophobia”.
The MCB wants us to conclude that because what they said didn't literally happen inside the investigated schools, that this somehow makes them inconsequential; or, at the least, less relevant. Indeed Mr Alam - when questioned on Radio 4 (at 8 minutes, 20 seconds) – has said that these extreme comments “need to be looked into” (which doesn't amount to much). Nonetheless, he denied any knowledge of the conversations. Yet, as the interviewer said, all of these comments were written by teachers and governors at his own school. Indeed he knows all of them. What's more - and let's not beat about the bush here, these extremists believe exactly the same things as Tahir Alam himself.
In addition, even though these extreme comments were made by governors and teachers at a school in Birmingham (Park View), the MCB still has the audacity to say that we shouldn't “ascribe guilt by association”. That, quite frankly, doesn't even make sense. These extremists were teachers and governors at a Birmingham school which has been under investigation. So how can Peter Clarke – or anyone else - be guilty of ascribing “guilt by association”?
*) It seems that the only ones who've conflated “terrorism” and “extremism” - at least in the case of Birmingham's schools - has been people like Salma Yaqoob and the MCB itself; not Peter Clarke, The Telegraph and the other investigators involved in this affair.)