Two reports into the “Trojan Horse” Islamist plot to take over various schools in Birmingham have just been published.
The problem is that they're said to “contradict” each other. In actual fact, however, it's more a case that several of the people involved in the affair have said that the two reports contradict one another. That may simply mean that the dissimilarities between the two reports have been overplayed for political reasons.
Take the case of a Shabina Bano, the Chair of Oldknow Academy Parents' Association. (Oldknow Academy's all-Muslim – bar one recent and token councillor - set of governors “drove out”, according to The Telegraph, its last non-Muslim governor some months ago.)
Shabina Bano said:
"The Birmingham city council report totally contradicts what Peter Clarke is saying. The authorities need to pull their socks up. I've lost complete faith in Peter Clarke.”
I suspect that Shabina Bano never “lost complete faith in Peter Clarke” simply because - judging from what I've read of her views - it's far more likely that she never had “faith” in him in the first place.
So what of that report written by Peter Clarke?
One can understand Shabina Bano's problem.
Clarke's report states that there was a “co-ordinated effort” to bring about an “Islamist ethos” is some of Birmingham's schools.
As for Birmingham City Council, it also commissioned a report. That report was written by Ian Kershaw of Northern Education.
Ian Kershaw has been quoted as saying that there's “no evidence” of a “conspiracy”.
As we shall see, all this depends on what exactly is meant by the word “conspiracy” and on whether or not this denial of an outright Ian Fleming/Bond-like conspiracy actually amounts to anything.
Nonetheless, despite Ian Kershaw saying there's no evidence of a conspiracy, he did, rather vaguely, state that “key individuals” had been “moving between schools”.
Now I hope it's not crude to say that it was Birmingham City Council which appointed this “independent Chief Advisor” to look into the affair; and that it just so happens that this council-appointed investigator has produced a report about schools which were run by Birmingham City Council itself. In other words, this report being less critical (or simply more vague and diplomatic) than Peter Clarke's isn't that much of a surprise.
It won't help Birmingham City Council's case that Ruby Kundi - a Headteacher of Highfield School in Birmingham (which was investigated in one of the reports) - has said that Ian Kershaw has
“played some of the findings down, though he did suggest the council are not really giving the full picture and are too frightened to upset Islamists or Muslim people”.
Conspiracy or Plot?
In the end it much of this discussion boils down to the terms which Ian Kershaw uses in his report. In fact much of what he says is quite vague. Sure, that vagueness may well be dissipated if the report is read in full. However, perhaps the vagueness (or delicate diplomacy) was at least partly intentional.
Firstly, Ian Kershaw says that there is "[n]o evidence of a conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation in schools".
That all depends on what Kershaw takes a conspiracy to be.
For example, say that the Islamist school-plotters did everything they did in the open (so to speak). Now would that automatically mean that there weren't any conspiracies or plots? It may just mean that these Islamists didn't think what they were doing was wrong. Alternatively, they might have believed that they'd never be investigated. This means that they might not have conspired or plotted in a Ian Fleming/James Bond-like manner. They planned, sure; though they didn't conspire. In other words, they didn't meet in dark rooms and then burn the transcripts of their various plots and plans....
Of course they didn't! One of the plotters ( Mr Tahir Alam) published his “plan” on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) website.
One other reason for Mr Kershaw's rejection of a conspiracy seems to be that the plotters - or even the conspirators - worked alone or in twos (or in threes, or in...). That means that according to Ian Kershaw, for something to be a conspiracy or a plot it must involve groups of people (not individuals) working together.
Yet what Kershaw writes elsewhere in the report does seem to suggest group-cooperation as well. For example, his earlier denial of any conspiracies seems to be contradicted by the following words:
"There are a number of key individuals who are encouraging and promoting certain Islamic principles in schools in the Birmingham area, and we have noted a pattern of these individuals moving between schools in the area."
Despite the above, according to Kershaw “a number of key individuals” who were “encouraging and promoting certain Islamic principles in schools in the Birmingham area” doesn't itself constitute a conspiracy or a plot. As I noted earlier, is that because it wasn't a secretive promotion and encouragement of “Islamic principles”? Or is it that promoting and encouraging something as seemingly benign as Islamic principles simply can't constitute a conspiracy?
Nonetheless, what these Muslim governors and teachers did might still have been wrong. And it might still have been some kind of conspiracy or plot - even if it was all, so to speak, out in the open. Indeed it would have been out in the open because, at that point, no one was investigating these schools. Or, alternatively, the individuals involved might have believed that any possible investigation that did occur would never come to anything. And since some Muslims, Leftist councillors and Islamism apologists are still questioning the evidence (as well as the investigations themselves), it's not a surprise that the plotters didn't need to conspire in any overtly Bond-like manner.
Ian Kershaw also “noted a pattern of these individuals moving between schools in the area”.
Again, is this a non-conspiracy (or non-plot) because it wasn't carried in secret? In other words, is it the case that simply because the individuals involved didn't hide anything, that this automatically means that there were no plots?
It also depends on what Mr Kershaw takes to be “anti-British”. After all, since most establishment figures believe that Islam is pro-British (or at least not explicitly anti-British), then having mono-religious assemblies and anti-Christian chanting, or banning music, Christmas festivities, Easter eggs, three-dimensional imagery, discos, etc. may not be taken by Kershaw - and others - to be “anti-British”. In fact he may not take anything that Muslims do to be particularly anti-British. All this will depend on Ian Kershaw's politics and what he thinks about Islam.
As for promoting “violent extremism”: that depends too. It's clear that Muslim governors and teachers wouldn't be suicidal enough to explicitly teach violence towards non-Muslims or propagate what others would quickly see as blatant “Islamic radicalism”. (At least not in front of any adult non-Muslims.) However, there's a lot of evidence that some of these schools did invite scholars, imams and speakers who did indeed explicitly promote Islamic violence and radicalism. (Actually, some of the teachers - such as Park View's Monzoor Hussain - have done this too.) Thus this Islamic extremism and propagation of violence was largely done by proxy. This, when you think about it, is quite a clever move.
As was the case with the widespread sexual grooming of young girls up and down the country (as well as the investigations into Islamist activities and Islamic terrorism in the UK), Birmingham City Council didn't “address these problems”, according to Ian Kershaw, because “there was a risk it may be accused of being racist or Islamophobic”. Here again the fight against racism trumped all other concerns, standards and values – quite literally.
When this obsessive desire to to fight all manifestations of racism (actual, possible and fictional) is taken to its logical conclusion (which indeed it has been on many occasions), what happens is that no matter what Muslim individuals and Islamic groups do, they will never be investigated just in case the investigators - whether the police or councillors - are “accused of being racist or Islamophobic”. This effectively means - and has actually meant in the past - that many Muslims have been able to do exactly what they like. Or at least that was the case until roughly 2010/11 in the Muslim grooming-gangs case (after twenty or more years of positive/inverted racism from councillors, police, journalists, etc.). And in the case of the Islamisation of some British schools, Muslims teachers and governors have effectively been given a free reign until recent months.
Indeed even now the investigations have been held back and questioned by Muslims and their Far Left apologists. Yes, after all the articles, investigations and personal testimonies relating to the Trojan Horse affair and similar cases, it's still the case that a Birmingham Headteacher (Ruby Kundi) thinks that Birmingham City Councillors “are not really giving the full picture and are too frightened to upset Islamists or Muslim people”.
This fear and trembling about real, possible and often fictional racism has meant that all sorts of British people – from all walks of life - have been let down by the authorities. In all these cases, the supreme and (self)righteous fight against racism has taken first place in the pecking order of politics.
The permanent revolution that is the fight against racism has often become fanatical, extreme and puritanical. Anti-racism, it seems, takes no prisoners and permits no compromise. And neither does it follow the principles of fairness and justice. What I mean by that is that it's often the case that many other rights, values and standards are saacrificed in order to cleanse society of not only real and possible racism; but often fictional racism too. You only need to read the testaments of Oldknow Academy's Shabina Bano (as quoted in Socialist Worker) for evidence of that.
1)The Ian Kershaw report doesn't completely or categorically deny the plots and the Islamisation of Birmingham's schools (as some have made out). In fact it may only be the wording of the two reports that's different.
It can even be said that even though Ian Kershaw's language is more diplomatic (therefore vague), it says many of the same things as Peter Clarke's report. In other words, because Kershaw was commissioned by Birmingham City Council (as well as the fact that he works within the education system), he couldn't be too explicit or strong with his words.
Nonetheless, Kershaw does talk about plots (if in a roundabout way); he does say that Birmingham City Council was scared of being classed as 'racist'; and he did think there was an Islamisation process - just not a 'conspiracy'...
The thing is that schools in Birmingham were Islamised without the need for any melodramatic conspiracies. That's simply because no one, at that time, was keeping an eye on what was going on. There was never any need for these Islamists to plot in dark rooms because Birmingham City Council (as a whole) didn't really care about what these Islamists were doing. Either that, or it was unprepared to tackle them for fear of being classed as 'racist'.
And anti-racism is a supreme virtue in many councils. So much so that the young victims of Muslim grooming gangs were left to suffer. And that's why the Birmingham CCTVs were taken down. It's also why places like Alum Rock (or parts thereof) are virtually self-ruling Muslim "enclaves" (as the Parisian police call Muslim ghettos).
Not "offending" Muslims is, as always, the prime imperative.
... And guess what: the investigation has indeed been classed as "racist' and 'Islamophobic'.