The published report was focused on Muslim schools’ websites in the UK. The fact is we were pertinent enough to make screen grabs of every website months ago as the investigation progressed - knowing that the schools would attempt to destroy the evidence as soon as the report emerged into the public domain. Mukadam knows that he presides over certain schools which are not fit for purpose - schools which have no place in the United Kingdom. He should be ashamed and embarrassed and resign his position immediately. Mukadam, Head Teacher of Madani Islamic High School in Leicester, has a history of saying one thing when the truth is something completely other:
His school became an object for controversy when it passed a ruling that non-Muslim girls would have to wear hijab, then announced that it would not take any non-Muslims after all. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-410312/Non-Muslim-students-Islamic-school-forced-wear-headscarves.html)
‘…when the Madani Islamic High School in Leicester put itself forward to receive state funding, there were objections from the local population who thought it would endanger community relations. An adjudicator was brought in to rule on the objections and was reassured by the school’s founders that they would take a ten per cent quota of non-Muslims in order to encourage “community cohesion”. The adjudicator believed them, and said in his report, that approved the school: “One further tangible expression of the school's inclusiveness lies in its commitment to reserve 10 per cent of its places for non-Muslim pupils. Well, the school is now open and the ten per cent promise has gone by the board. Madani’s head teacher, Mohammed Mukadam, said later that non-Muslim pupils will only be accepted once demand from Muslims has been “exhausted”. But as there were 400 applications for the 120 places in year seven this September, all pupils will be Muslim.’
This contrasts with expectations contained in the British Government’s Faith in the System, p. 15:
‘The (British) Government would normally expect any new faith Academy (other than one replacing an existing faith school) to give priority for at least 50 per cent of their places to pupils of other faiths or none, in order to promote parental choice and to ensure that parents with a wide range of beliefs have the opportunity to send their children to the Academy. The providers of faith schools that give priority to members of their faith recognize and accept that where they are undersubscribed with members of their faith, they cannot keep places unfilled.’
Rather than attempting to make up your minds for you on Mr Mukadam or the new report, I have copied the Civitas press release below and left a link for you to access the full report. (Our findings were often so shocking they were left out of the report and passed to the relevant authorities - in an effort not to disrupt social cohesion).
The Civitas press release reads:
Some Muslim schools are threatening the social cohesion of Britain by promoting a fundamentalist version of Islam that encourages children to despise the British society in which they live and to confine themselves to enclaves. In Music, Chess and Other Sins, Denis MacEoin presents the findings of his study of websites belonging to Muslim schools in Britain and their links.
'When a fatwa bank linked from a school tells a boy that dreaming of playing cricket for Pakistanis forbidden because it is a sacrilegious waste of time, or stipulates that reading Harry Potter booksis prohibited; or another argues that pupils must not read 'shameless novelsand fiction books', that Ludo, Monopoly, draughts and chess are forbidden because 'the Holy Prophet stated the person who plays chess, is like the one who dips his hands in the blood of a swine (pig)', and condemns 'the evil system of the Western culture'; or when a site run by an educational institutionwrites an article stating: 'One should abstain from evil audacities such as listening to music'; and when a graduate of the last institution speaks of the 'evils of music', calls the Royal College of Music 'satanic', and claims that music is the way in which Jews spread 'the Satanic web'to corrupt young Muslims-how are we to respond?
'It means that no child attending an all-Muslim school of this nature will ever visit an art gallery, attend a concert of classical or non-classical music, experience the transcendence of listening to a great operatic tenor perform, pass an evening mesmerized by a production of Romeo and Juliet performed by the National Ballet They represent some of the greatest achievements of Western civilization. To deny young Muslims access to the finest things in our culture, for what are the most puritanical of reasons, is to undermine the very foundation on which our education system is built If literature, art, dance, drama, and music are closed off, where do the most talented young Muslims go in order to achieve the things that so many young Jews and Christians take for granted?' (pp.31-34)
Nor is it only the artistic culture of the country that some schools are criticising. On the website of the Madani Secondary Girls' School, East London, we read: 'Our children are exposed to a culture [i.e. British culture] that is in opposition with almost everything Islam stands for.'
'This is a bruising comment that indicates what a negative picture of Western life and civilization will be imparted to pupils. To see everything Western as the clear opposite of all one is taught to believe to be right has the potential to damage young minds for life. This should be taken seriously in the light of the 7/7 bombings, where hatred of what non-Muslims stand for was adduced as an excuse for massacre. We do not say that schools teach terror, but we do ask if they do not make some of their pupils likely to fall prey to even greater extremism. If all that is Islamic is right and lovely, and all that is non-Muslim is corrupt and evil, how might an impressionable mind understand his or her role in British life?' (p.52)
'Be the lovers of death'
In a small number of cases, Denis MacEoin has found evidence of links between Muslim schools and those advocating jihad, for example in the case of Feversham College, Bradford of which the website links to islamworld.net, that contains a section of papers on jihad. In one of these papers, Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, writes: 'Jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim... [Jihad] involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship and smashing their idols... Today, my brother, the Muslims as you know are forced to be subservient before others and are ruled by disbelievers... Hence in this situation it becomes the duty of each and every Muslim to make jihad... Therefore prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death.' (p.99). Themina Ahmed, the creator of the history curriculum for the two Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation schools, in Slough and Haringey, North London, has written: 'The world will witness the death of the criminal capitalist nation of America and all other [infidel] states when the army of jihad is unleashed upon them.'
However, the principal objection raised by the report is not that Muslim schools are linked in any significant way with terrorist activities, but that some of them create in children a ghetto mentality that will make it difficult for them to function in British society:
'Many Muslim schools in this country try to recreate the milieu of South Asia, creating a closed environment which means children will live in a surrogate Pakistan or Bangladesh at home and school, even though they actually live in Bradford or Birmingham (p.53)... No child raised in close contact to this kind of thinking has much hope of developing into a balanced British Muslim, someone with non-Muslim friends, perhaps a non-Muslim partner, a job in a mainstream place of work, love for English literature and international sport, and a freedom from neuroses that can only be addressed by backing away into the safe realm of the ghetto.' (p.103)
One obvious aspect of the process of ghettoization is the wearing of hijab by often very young girls. For example, the website of the parent body of the al-Mu'min primary school in Bradford contains the following statement:
There are three grades of Purdah (veiling):
· The first is that the woman covers every part of her body except her face, her hands and her feet.
· The second is that the woman covers her face, her hands and her feet also.
· The third is that woman keeps herself indoor or keeps herself hidden in such a veil that no-one can ever see her clothes. This stage is the greatest of all the three.
'This will strike most readers as excessive, yet it is part of a site run by a primary school. Hard questions must be asked by government as to how healthy it is to allow hard-line Puritanism like this to inform the lives of young and vulnerable children. There is little question that a girl brought up under such restrictions may never be psychologically robust enough to enter ordinary British life; may never be able to take up employment in the mainstream world; may never be capable of interacting with men at any but the most circumscribed levels. If a young girl is made to wear hijab and taught that adopting it is the only way a woman may comport herself in the world, by the time she grows up and leaves school, a broad psychological barrier will have been planted between her and 99 per cent of British society.' (pp.79-80)
The status of women
The issue of veiling is only one aspect of a worrying concern about the relatively low status that is ascribed to women by a number of those associated with fundamentalist Muslim schools, which may not prepare girls and young women for life in mainstream British society in which women are regarded as the equals of men. Ask-Imam is an online site providing authoritative rulings on all matters pertaining to Islam which can be accessed through the website of al-Jamiah al-Islamiyyah Darul Uloom, Bolton(which has now closed down its website following queries relating to this report). It carries extensive rulings on women, such as:
· Women may not attend mixed-gender universities. Men should try to avoid them.
· Rather than study, women should remain at home unless forced to go outside.
· A woman who has been raped is jointly responsible for the crime with the man who raped her if she 'does not cover properly and wears revealing clothing, which seduces men'.
· Men have authority over women. A woman is not permitted to serve as the head of any organisation.
· A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man.
· Men are more intelligent than women.
Similarly, the Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester has a direct link to a fatwa site, Darul Iftaa, run by the school's own patron, Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari. He places severe restrictionson male doctors treating female patients; he rules that women may not swim (even for medical reasons) where a male lifeguard is present, or where there are non-Muslim women; using tampons is 'disliked' (makruh-a classification in shari'a law); a woman may not travel beyond 48 miles without her husband or a close relative accompanying her; a female is encouraged to remain within the confines of her house as much as possible; polygamy is permissible. If anyone were to ridicule polygamy, he would become an unbeliever; it is a grave sin for a woman to refuse sex to her husband; it is forbidden to have close, intimate relations with or have love for non-Muslims; Muslims are not to sit, eat, live or mingle with them; the legal punishment for adultery is stoning.
'Rulings such as these would, if applied, reduce the lives of women to something not known in Western society since the Dark Ages. That they may have an impact on British-born Muslim girls and young women runs directly contrary to the whole purpose of providing equal educational opportunities to both sexes, and makes a mockery of the basic principle of Western education, which is to prepare children for a future life in mainstream society.' (p.85)
Where are the inspectors when you need them?
The questions that are raised by this report are of the sort that would normally be part of the remit of an Ofsted team of inspection. It is therefore of great concern that some of the schools about which questions have been asked have received glowing reports from Ofsted, sometimes from Muslim inspectors. According to Denis MacEoin:
'Some inspectors are missing the most crucial facts about the schools and writing glowing reports that might mislead the DCSF and the public. It's not their fault in the least, since a close knowledge of Islamic doctrine and practice won't have figured in their training. One may ask harder questions about Muslim inspectors who may have been expected to catch on a lot more quickly but who also present largely favourable reports.' (p.93-4)
The failure to spot problems is all the more surprising in view of the fact that Music, Chess and Other Sins is based on material found on schools' websites, and the website is part of a standard Ofsted inspection. Some of the material cited is from the school websites themselves, and some is from sites linked to them. It could be objected that this is to imply guilt by association, and that schools are not responsible for material on other sites. However, as Denis MacEoin argues:
'The problem is that we are dealing with schools. Mainstream schools do not invite representatives of the BNP or the IRA to speak, they do not make links to their websites on the school site, and they do not ask them to attend their prize days. Schools have to be much more careful than other institutions in society not to expose those in their care to extremism, to hate speech, or to religious fanaticism Let us be frank: if similar views were held by schoolteachers, head teachers, governors, or trustees of non-Muslim schools, we would expect an enquiry and a great many reforms. Yet Ofsted, not knowing where to look, provides most Muslim schools with a clean bill of health.' (pp.102-3)
The need to distinguish between moderates and fundamentalists
The aim of Music, Chess and Other Sins is not to attack Muslims, but to draw attention to certain problems in schools run by fundamentalists. Its aim is to 'stand up for all the young Muslims who are cajoled or bullied into adopting a way of life that reduces them to lookers-on in their own country' and to 'help roll back the tide of fundamentalist and radical Islam from places where it deserves to exert no influence: the British educational system and British schools' (p.101).
The report makes a number of recommendations, including the following:
· A sufficient number of Ofsted inspectors, non-Muslims and identifiably moderate Muslims, must be trained properly in all relevant aspects of Islam, so they can identify suspect lessons or connections.
· Ofsted must consider how to tackle the problem of how to inspect Urdu-speaking, Arabic-speaking, or Bengali-speaking schools without depending exclusively on Muslim inspectors. Transparency is vital.
· Imams and preachers currently associated with schools as principals, sponsors, trustees etc. must be vetted for fundamentalist tendencies. If the views they hold are opposed to the basic values of British society, their role in schools must be restricted or terminated. If someone is incapable in conscience of teaching loyalty to Britain and love for the majority of its citizens, their competence as educationalists must be called into question.
· The recent proposal that imams should lead citizenship lessons in state schools should remain in mothballs until a reliable method can be found to distinguish moderate from extremist clerics.
Music, Chess and Other Sins: Segregation, Integration and Muslim Schools in Britainis published online by Civitas at the following web address: http://www.civicsociety.co.uk/MusicChessandOtherSins17Feb09.pdf.
Apart from the media contact this week relating to “Music, Chess and Other Sins”, there has been a relentless onslaught from journalists, bloggers and amateur sleuths trying to get me to release information about a subject as alien to me as asking my wife to walk ten paces behind me in the street. Curiously, these individuals are enquiring whether I am the very same man as a fellow called Richard Tims.
I can’t be bothered to go into the full story here as it has been examined and re-examined in microscopic detail over recent weeks by the likes of the Guardian (even featuring on Private Eye) as well as by myriad bloggers of different political persuasions. Here is a synopsis of the allegations and counter-allegations so far: http://the-sun-lies.blogspot.com/2009/01/letter-writers-turned-into-islamic.html
I’d just like to get the message out there once and for all - especially to those journalists and bloggers who intend to ask me the same dull, repetitive questions this week - I am not Richard Tims! I have never used this name. I do not know any Richard Tims. I know a few Tims and several Richards but no Richard Tims. I AM NOT RICHARD TIMS! If you happen to work for the BBC, please spread the word that Mr Tims is not Mr Whiteman and make sure that those who are covering the story desist from wasting my time from now on. I’ve had at least three separate communications from the BBC so far - don’t any of you people talk to each other?!
Let me also publicly clarify a few other points here and now which the curious can refer to in the future so you don’t have to call me or block my inbox with more tiresome questions (if the Dick Tims story has the legs to continue that is).
1) Glen Jenvey - I met Glen Jenvey in the summer of 2006. I have met him in person on five occasions in my life. We worked part-time together (mostly using telecommunication) on the recording of Omar Bakri Mohammed’s Paltalk lectures - giving the recordings to Scotland Yard in November 2006 and passing some recordings to the media - between the summer of 2006 and March 2007 (notably contributing together to the BBC Newsnight programme of November 14th, 2006). We’ve not collaborated on any projects together since - Glen is more into internet and video research while my team and I tend to use physical sources to collect pointers.
2) Paltalk- Glen, along with nameless others, ran the aforementioned Bakri Paltalk recording project. This project involved recording Bakri’s lectures online and identifying lecturers (voice recog and statement linkage) on the Paltalk chatroom, which came to be known as Bakri’s cyber mosque. Amongst the cyber mosque lecturers were the (now both jailed) Abu Izzadeen (Trevor Brooks) and Mizanur Rahman. The project was a spoke (NB spoke is not the same thing as spook) of a hub collectively known by the name VIGIL. Glen initiated the Paltalk project and saw it through to its end. Glen and the nameless others comprised this particular spoke but were never part of the VIGIL hub.
3) VIGIL - I was European hub director between October 2005 and May 2008 - was formed to harness the power of retired and private experience (primarily) against extreme Islamism in Britain. VIGIL was set up so none of its spokes would ever know or communicate with each other and each spoke was involved in a separate project. Take for example VIGIL’s infiltration and description of Croydon’s Hizb ut Tahrir thugs (same BBC Newsnight, November 14th 2006). Glen Jenvey - operating in one spoke - never met others operating in another spoke focusing on this infiltration and so it was that the Newsnight revelations of a VIGIL infiltration of HT came as news to him only when the programme was aired. There were only ever two people on the planet who knew the depth and operational structure of VIGIL in Europe at its peak and none of these individuals will ever go into any real detail about VIGIL back then. I am confident of this because one is me and the other is dead. Our projects were always made clear to the respective authorities, who we were set up to aid - so, yes, we were invigilated.
4) In March 2007, the Glen Jenvey spoke - after the 2006/7 Paltalk project was completed - ceased to be a VIGIL spoke. We parted company. Glen looked elsewhere primarily because VIGIL was comprised of volunteers and could not fund his spoke at the level demanded by his team.
5) Since March 2007, I have exchanged the occasional email with Glen Jenvey. Usually to have a laugh at some Anjem Choudary concoction about us. I recall having a good chuckle over email with him when this desperate effort at character assassination was spread around the web by Choudary in 2008: http://forums.islamicawakening.com/showthread.php?t=11697 At the time both Glen and I found it amusing - if anything such fabrications by the foe are a badge of our (except for Paltalk) separate successes against extreme Islamism in Britain. Even my Mrs had a good chuckle at it. Needless to say, I am not of the inclination to strike up that kind of relationship with Glen Jenvey. Glen has no daughter or any other kids and, as far as I know, Glen has never been one to indulge in cassock-lifting.
6) Following the humiliation of infiltration and exposure by VIGIL in the autumn of 2006, Hizb ut Tahrir Britain’s (since demoted) “Dr Evil” - the portly Imran Waheed - fabricated and issued a shabby blog document entitled “VIGIL Exposed”. This has been spread around the web in various forms - not that many have been so short of interesting things to do as to read it. In it, it is claimed VIGIL members included Glen Jenvey, Jeremy Reynalds, Jonathan Galt and Dominic Whiteman (apparently I was a recent recruit to VIGIL yet I was a founder member. Muppets). They claimed that VIGIL was a Zionist conspiracy to paint them in a bad light - Zionist Conspiracy? (To extreme Islamists, who believe the weather is controlled by the Pentagon, a pigeon crap hitting them is a Zionist conspiracy, as is 9/11). These “VIGIL exposed” sites and documents are bogus and way off the mark. I have no idea who Galt is. Jeremy Reynalds is someone who knew Glen - I once did a radio interview on his New Mexico radio station and he seemed like a nice chap (I never got to know him well enough to ask him for his views on homosexuality just as I never asked him if he was a Zionist transexual). Hizb ut Tahrir Britain on the other hand is a pipeline organisation for Islamist terror. Its former members have gone on to be suicide bombers. It hardly needs an outside force to paint it in a bad light. It is a proscribed entity in most countries. Its members are extreme Islamists, who the decent majority of Muslims across the globe disown, just as they disown websites like Islamicawakening or Islambase which are the natural home of weirdo hotheads like Ibn Myatt or tragic fools like Iqeel Ahmed (aka Islambase’s porn-loving Hamza).
7) My work. My role is to organise fieldwork - on a private contractual basis - for investigations into particular subjects. Some of these subjects happen to involve extreme Islamism; some do not. In the last two years these subjects have included investigations as fascinating as terror fundraising networks in London through to themes as dull (albeit worthwhile) as exposing Islamist hate literature in Britain’s libraries. Most of the UK team I work with are Muslim. With the aforementioned Civitas project, Music, Chess and Other Sins, there was a network of eleven individuals involved investigating Muslim Faith Schools in the UK and nine of us were Muslim. (This is what the likes of Waheed and Choudary can’t get their heads around - that British Muslims are their undoing. This is why they flood the internet with fabrication - to dismiss the harsh reality of their own, and extreme Islamism’s, relentless and pathetic failures. They live in a permanent state of denial.)
8) I know nothing illuminating about Glen Jenvey’s role in the Abu Islam Sun newspaper story. I was out of the country and with only intermittent internet coverage for the best part of two months as the Tims stories broke and know no more than what I’ve seen in the public domain since. All I know is that when Glen and I worked together on the Paltalk piece in 2006 there were often two or three recordings of lectures being made simultaneously (making fabrication impossible) and Glen’s work was always highly professional. He is one of the best (and most patient people) in the world at collecting hidden videos off jihadi websites. Who he is in contact with now, I have no idea.
9) I have never heard of sellyourstory.org and I have no Wikipedia account although one appears to have been set up without my permission in my name. As stated publicly before, personally I wish Glen all the best. Whatever the result of the PCC investigation I look back on the excellent work we did those years ago together with considerable pride and satisfaction, knowing it was solid and waterproof - that it caused Bakri and his ragtag benefits claimants some considerable strife.
10) Finally, this week there have been many questions by journalists and bloggers about my politics. In short, I’m a member of the Conservative party and generally inhabit the centre (i.e. the BNP is certainly not my cup of tea). I have worked part-time - without taking any income - for Tory MPs in the past. I would do exactly the same again now to help the party but for a massive (always apolitical) workload coming on the back of the success of past investigations. I used to offer select counter extremism advice to one Tory MP, whilst listening in to Bakri and his friends - giving him an idea of how this particular group of Britain-haters used to scheme. When I moved fulltime onto private work for media, industry, think tanks and others, this work stopped. The political work I used to engage in was all off my own bat - without any help from any network, group or other individuals. I am looking forward to seeing the new Tory government take a harder line on Islamist extremism and terrorism in general next year (it has fewer swing seats than Labour where Islamists are of any relevance) and also looking forward to the eradication of some of the crazy laws brought in under Labour of late which have seen our liberties as Brits eroded and freedom of speech threatened.
I do hope this statement sorts out all the issues. Thanks for not calling but if you can’t resist then give me a call on (0845) 2626786 any time of day or night. You’re most welcome.