Birmingham city council is investigating an alleged plot to oust headteachers in the city, replacing them with people who will run their schools on “strict Islamic principles”.
A letter, passed to the Birmingham city council late last year as well as various schools in the area, outlines a plan dubbed “Operation Trojan Horse” and claims up to four schools in the city have already been “taken over”. The West Midlands counter-terrorism unit said it was aware of the letter and was working with the council to identify whether a police investigation is warranted.
A copy of the undated and unsigned letter, seen by the Guardian, offers a five-step plan to take over schools in communities with large Muslim populations with the help of what it calls “hardline” parents who follow the strict Salafi branch of Islam. However one of the alleged plotters, Tahir Alam – a former chair of the education committee of the Muslim Council of Britain – told the Guardian on Friday evening that the letter was “a malicious fabrication and completely untrue”.
The story originates in a Sunday Times report. The few quotes the paper published from the letter, which proposes to “parachute in” Muslim governors in order to “drip-feed our ideal for a Muslim school” and stresses the importance of having an “English face among the staff group to make it more believable”, didn’t exactly have a ring of authenticity.
The quotes in the Guardian report sound even more ridiculous: “We have caused a great amount of organised disruption in Birmingham and as a result now have our own academies and are on the way to getting rid of more headteachers and taking over their schools. Whilst sometimes the practices we use may not seem the correct way to do things you must remember that this is say ‘jihad’ and as such using all measures possible to win the war is acceptable.”
Which hasn’t prevented the media from taking the story entirely seriously.
Update: You can read the letter here and make up your own mind as to whether it’s genuine.
Update 2: See “Refutation of allegations in ‘Trojan Horse'”, Tahir Alam press release, 9 March 2014
And “Islamophobic hoax exposed”, Islamophobia Watch, 10 March 2014
Update 3: See also “Times discovers that ‘Trojan horse’ letter is a crude forgery”, Islamophobia Watch, 11 March 2014