Ofsted has become the tool for the ‘forced conversion’ of Muslim kids, writes Dr Abdul Wahid.
Britain’s “counter-extremism” policy, Prevent is a lie. It has nothing to do with protecting the public from bombs, guns and knives. Over the past few years, it has slowly exposed itself as an exercise in demonising political and religious views by calling them “extreme”, so making “Joe Public” fearful that the people who hold those views are only a step away from acts of ‘terror’.
Once upon a time British politicians used to pretend that they wanted to see Islam “adjusted” to fit into modern Britain. Now they’ve dropped this pretense in favour of muscular liberalism, meaning that they won’t be satisfied until a Muslim leaves his or her religion at home, espouses secular liberal values and is unquestioningly loyal to Britain’s colonial policies in the Muslim world.
Ofsted was once the impartial schools inspectorate. Now it has become one arm of the Secular Inquisition to force Muslims to convert to liberalism, transforming its role from inspecting school standards to dictating values.
The Witchfinder-General in the anti-Islamic witch-hunt is Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw. In June 2014, after his investigation into the so-called “Trojan Horse” affair, he apparently told concerned parents in a closed-door meeting in Birmingham that the sum total of his investigation that there was some evidence of “bullying of teachers” and some issues of “preaching conservative Islam”. So it was Islam that was his problem – not “extremism”.
People would be forgiven for missing the actually conclusions of all the inquiries in the Birmingham case because of all the media sensationalism. The former head of the Metropolitan police’s counterterrorism command, Peter Clarke, who had been asked to investigate the “Trojan Horse” affair, concluded that there was no evidence of “terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern in Birmingham”.
This week Wilshaw has once again triggered sensational headlines – alleging that pupils at independent Muslim faith schools in Tower Hamlets may be vulnerable to “extremist influences and radicalisation” and called on the government to act with urgency!
Once again the details that eventually emerged didn’t quite match the alarmist nature of the headlines before and after, which passed their message by using different combinations of the words “Muslim”, “extremism”, “schools” – throwing in the term “radicalisation” for good measure!
The latest reports conclude the schools are “not actively and systematically promoting fundamental British values” – values that as yet remain ill-defined.
One Church of England School in the area, formerly ranked as “outstanding”, has been downgraded for failing to protect pupils from extremism. The school’s sixth-form Islamic society’s Facebook page allegedly had links to a speaker who apparently might once have said something critical of homosexuality.
In 21st century Britain, no one bothers to look beyond a selective quote of what a speaker may or may not once have said. That is usually enough to pin an “extremist” label on any speaker, and indeed anyone inadvertently tainted by a tenuous associated.
Today, the mere mention of the word “extremist” has the same effect as saying “Communist” in 1950s America. The term is defined so broadly it can be used arbitrarily, creating a hysteria that allows governments to pursue almost any policy they wish – whether it is to invade another country, institute police-state measures against Muslims or (as in this case) to force a community to change their beliefs and views.
By deliberately conflating the views of socially conservative or politically outspoken Muslims with violence, successive British governments have justify deeply oppressive and bigoted policies, in a manner that would make Moscow or Beijing proud.
Speaking in June 2014, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, ”we need to be far more muscular in promoting British values”. He has advocated this “muscular” approach before, against those who hold Islamic values and are critical of state policy towards Muslims and the Islamic world.
But it now appears that children are their biggest target. It is as if they have accepted they have no hope with the over 20s, so are intent on forcibly converting young Muslims to their values. Ofsted has become the thought-police in implementing these policies – targeting the souls of the children, not just their minds.
Numerous anecdotes have emerged as evidence for this over several months. Inspectors have allegedly interrogated primary school children alone about matters of sexuality. They have allegedly told teachers at Muslim primary schools that posters depicting statements of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) opposing racism or promoting environmentalism are “too Islamic”, and should be replaced by statements by Mandela, Gandhi or Martin Luther King.
Anyone who resists this forced conversion either has to go through a form of compulsory re-education – known as the Channel programme – or be punished in one of a series of ways like being ridiculed or demonised.
The Prophet of Islam and the earliest Muslim community in Makkah faced a similar situation. They were labelled as dissenters, agitators and traitors. They faced verbal and physical abuse, as well as economic sanctions.
But eventually, the general public from amongst the non-Muslims of Makkah oppose the sanctions and vilification encouraged by their leaders. Despite the propaganda, the abuse meted out to Muslims exposed the oppressors as failing to have an argument to counter the Islamic argument – as well as being a nasty and vindictive bunch.
Amongst all this, there is one thing people should not forget. In bullying Muslim children, the state cannot expect that Muslim parents will simply shrug their shoulders and accept a narrow set of values to be forced on their kids.
It may well be that these unjust rulers will hear more than a word or two of truth from the Muslim mums and dads!
Dr Abdul Wahid is a regular contributor to New Civilisation. He is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain. He has been published in The Times Higher Educational Supplement and on the websites of Foreign Affairs, Open Democracy and Prospect magazine.
You can follow Dr Wahid on Twitter @abdulwahidht