U.K.: Educational watchdog group Ofsted and Charity Commission accused of “whitewashing” reports on Islamic schools; inspectors linked to “radical Islamist organizations”
This story is a continuation of earlier reports that called attention to Islamic schools in Britain where girls as young as 11 are made to wear face veils on trips to and from the school as well as during the day. More damning revelations appear below.
The whitewash of these problems within Islamic schools, which has gone on despite the impact on the lives and health of students and the long-term impact on British society, speaks of denial motivated by fear: fear that the problem could be so widespread and pervasive, fear that reality could be so distant from politically correct fantasies, and fear of the consequences of confronting such schools. After all, someone might get offended, and as a result, become that much more “radicalized.”
The situation is not going to get any better through continued denial and downplaying of the problem. Indeed, one could say that for many things along these lines. “Ofsted praises Islamic schools which oppose Western lifestyle,” by Andrew Gilligan for the Telegraph, November 6 (thanks to Zulu):
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has established that the education watchdog has published positive reports praising Muslim schools for their contribution to community cohesion — even in the case of a school which openly states that Muslims “oppose the lifestyle of the West”.
The Ofsted inspector responsible for many of the reports, Michele Messaoudi, has been accused of having links to radical Islamist organisations.
This newspaper can reveal that another recent Ofsted inspector, Akram Khan-Cheema, is the chief executive of a radical Muslim educational foundation, IBERR.
Its website describes Islamic schools as “one of the most important factors which protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Euro-centrism, homosexuality, racism, and secular traditions”.
Ofsted has also passed the inspection of dozens of Muslim schools to a new private “faith schools watchdog”, the Bridge Schools Inspectorate, which is co-controlled by Islamic schools’ own lobbying and trade body, the Association of Muslim Schools.
The Bridge Schools Inspectorate allows Muslim head teachers to inspect each other’s schools.
Among the schools directly inspected by Ofsted was the Madani Girls’ School, a private Islamic school in London’s East End.
Its Ofsted report, written by Mrs Messaoudi, said it made pupils “aware of their future role as proactive young British Muslim women” and left them “well-prepared for life in a multicultural society”.
However, the Madani Girls’ School’s own website openly states: “If we oppose the lifestyle of the West, then it does not seem sensible that the teachers and the system which represents that lifestyle should educate our children.”
It says that under western education “our children will distance themselves from Islam until there is nothing left but their beautiful names”.
Last month, this newspaper revealed how girls at the school were being forced to wear the Islamic veil, a fact that was not mentioned in its 2008 Ofsted report. The Madani School declined to comment last night.
Ofsted also inspected the Tawhid Boys’ School in Hackney, north London. Its Ofsted report, written by Mrs Messaoudi, said the curriculum was “good … broad and balanced in Key Stages 2 and 3″.
However, the school’s prospectus says that the curriculum is kept strictly “within the bounds of Sharia [Islamic law].” Its art syllabus bans pupils from drawing human beings, animals and objects that Islam deems “unlawful”. The school did not return calls.
Mrs Messaoudi also wrote the Ofsted report cited by Ed Balls, the then schools secretary, as “clearing” schools run by supporters of the racist, extremist sect Hizb ut Tahrir.
The schools, the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation establishments in Haringey, north London, and Slough, Berks, received more than Â£113,000 of public funding and became the subject of national controversy after being exposed in The Sunday Telegraph.
One of the Foundation’s trustees, Farah Ahmed, who is also headmistress of the Slough school, wrote a chapter in a Hizb ut Tahrir pamphlet attacking the National Curriculum for its “systematic indoctrination” of Muslim children “to build model British citizens”.
She criticised “attempts to integrate Muslim children” into British society as an effort “to produce new generations that reject Islam”.
She described English as “one of the most damaging subjects” a school can teach and attacked fairy tales, saying that these “reflect secular and immoral beliefs that contradict the viewpoint of Islam”.
She also attacked the “obvious dangers” of Shakespeare, including “Romeo and Juliet, which advocates disobeying parents and premarital relations”.
Mrs Messaoudi’s Ofsted report on the Haringey school said it was “satisfactory.” [...]
Unlike “mainline” Ofsted inspections, which are carried out entirely by professional inspectors, BSI inspections of Muslim schools are often done by a team of three which always includes one head teacher of another Muslim school.
The BSI report into Bury Park Educational Institute, a mixed but gender-segregated Muslim secondary in Luton, claims that “the quality of education is good” even though the report itself admits that girls at the school get less teaching than boys.
“Some aspects of National Curriculum subjects are in a few respects currently less for the girls than for the boys,” it says, and there is not yet “full, equal access to National Curriculum subjects” between girls and boys.
“Not yet.” A true watchdog group would demand to know what the holdup is, and by which date it will be fully resolved.
Girls, says the report, are sometimes denied the opportunity for PE, “which they say they miss”. There is no suggestion that Bury Park teaches separatist views or opposition to British society.
Lovely: Vitamin D deficiencies caused by staying indoors and being shrouded in a face veil — and these are well-documented where severe forms of veiling occur — get compounded by a lack of exercise and all of the health problems that stem from it. In addition to the damage to the female students themselves, there is the preventable public health cost which will be passed on to the rest of society over these backward practices.
One of the BSI inspectors who wrote the report into Bury Park, Ibrahim Hewitt, is chairman of the controversial charity Interpal, which is banned in the United States having been accused of supporting the terrorist group Hamas.
Interpal insists that it does not support Hamas and the Charity Commission has cleared Interpal. Mr Hewitt is also a headmaster of a Muslim school in Leicester and a senior member of the ruling “shura”, or executive committee, of the Association of Muslim Schools. [...]
Ms Stuart, of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “A whole generation is being brought up to at the very least suspect, and perhaps even despise, the society they will have to live in. This is deeply worrying for the future of community cohesion.
“By whitewashing these schools, Ofsted and the Charity Commission are being negligent in their responsibility to protect children in their formative years.”
There is much more. Read it all.