The ‘Trojan Horse’ Plot And Exposing The Cracks of Liberal Secular Values
The article was originally written on the 30th April 2014 subsequently an ofsted report has been leaked that has labelled some schools as inadequate with a major failing in protecting their students from “extremism”. Mainstream politicians have been clambering over themselves to condemn those schools governors and staff even though little actual evidence exists.
In the suburbs of Middle England, expressions of conservative beliefs are considered as nothing more than a desire to safeguard traditional values against a relentless wave of liberal reforms. Single sex state schools are not an uncommon sight. Anti-gay campaigns have been conducted in schools with the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church and more recently, David Cameron triggered a national debate with references to Britain as a “Christian country”.
Yet a trend is emerging; reservations by conservative parents of Islamic backgrounds are giving rise to much more sinister associations. The British government have appointed a counter-terrorism expert to investigate 25 schools in Birmingham that are allegedly at risk of an “Islamic takeover plot”. Concerns about teaching on homosexuality, girls and boys mixing, and the reciting of prayers have induced panic and hysteria. Reports of opposition to Christmas parties in Birmingham schools, where more than 9/10 children are Muslim, is being perceived as a scandalous attack on secularism itself! The irony of it being a Christian celebration seems to be lost on them.
Never mind that the source of these allegations comes from an unknown person(s). Even the chief constable of West Midlands police, Chris Sims claim that the documents could be a hoax. Neither does it seem to matter that Park View School hit the headlines for achieving an “outstanding” ranking from Ofsted despite a few years earlier being one of the worst performing schools in the region.
The Rev Oliver Cross, who also happens to be vice-chair of governors at Regents Park school, one of the schools named as among those “infiltrated”, has categorically refuted the allegations and called the appointment of Peter Clarke a “disaster for community cohesion”. He says Birmingham Muslims are now “used to accusations of ‘Islamism’ or ‘extremism’ being hurled at them, not because such things exist, but for the simple crime of being Muslims”. With Gove looking to rip up the rule book to make it easier to fail schools as no rules have been contravened in this case, it is natural to question the motives.
Protecting Islamic Values
The systematic demonisation of Muslims has become an important part of the central narrative of the British political and media class; it is so entrenched, so much part of normal discussion that almost nobody notices. Protests go unheard and unnoticed. Like a modern day version of the medieval Church, it is imagined that Muslims will undergo a forced conversion and adopt the secular beliefs of a jittery ideological government. The threat is Islamic expression itself, in any outward form. It is perceived a precursor to a grand vision and invitation to a distinct and comprehensive way of life. Extensive “policies” that amount to little more than state harassment and to curtail Islamic activity were advocated years ago.
“There is a definite urge; don’t you have it?” the author Martin Amis told Ginny Dougary of The Times: “The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order. Not letting them travel. Deportation; further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or Pakistan. Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children.” Recent news of UK police asking mothers to report their children going to Syria do not dispel concerns within the Muslim community.
In 7th Century Makkah, the Prophet (saw) and Companions (ra) endured an oppressive campaign devised to intimidate and break their resolve. This reached the extent that Abu Jahl, a leader of Quraysh, broke rank from social customs and was determined to prevent Muslims from praying in the precincts of the Sacred Kaabah. Abu Jahl understood the rituals of Islam not as harmless, abstract actions but as symbols advertising a reference point for all actions away from himself and towards Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saw). Allowing a public opinion for Islam to flourish was a challenge to his authority. The sacrifice of the Muslims in this turbulent period built the foundation from which Islam reached the corners of this world. This is what unsettles the West and demonstrates the weakness of liberal secular values to win over the Muslim population through the strength of its ideals. Ultimately, the loss of the battle of ideas is demonstrated by the coercive actions by the British Government.
In part, the desire of parents and teachers to introduce a greater Islamic ethos in schools is simply borne from the shortcomings of liberalism itself. An unhealthy dose of secular values have left British children running amok with inconceivable reports of children raping other children within schools premises. A thousand school children have been caught with deadly weapons in the last 3 years alone; 80 were at primary school. Compounded with massive rates of teenage pregnancy, ‘feral’ children from broken homes stamped with ASBOs, a regressive drink and drug culture, or reports of students stabbing to death their teachers – it desperately raises the question; how does the British government assess safety and educational interests? It is natural then that Muslims would seek other avenues to protect their children, finding comfort in tried and tested methods, the sublime and unchanging values of Islam.
What Does Islam Offer?
Rather than developing children to feel ‘free’ to express themselves in any form they wish, Islam develops a character built on accountability, good manners and taqwa (God consciousness).
The Prophet (saw) explaining the importance of character and morals explained that:
“I have only been sent to perfect righteous behaviour.” (Musnad Ahmad)
These moral characteristics themselves are built on taqwa (God consciousness).
“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth, He will direct you to do righteous deeds and will forgive you your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great achievement.” [Al-Qur’an 33:70-1]
Islam shuns individualism and instructs children to look after and care for others as part of the natural state of Muslims. The Prophet (saw) said:
“Whoever relieves a believer of distress in this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection. Whoever makes things easy for those who are in difficulty, Allah will make things easy for him in this world and in the next. Whoever conceals (the faults of) a Muslim in this world, Allah will conceal him (his faults) in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah will help the slave so long as the slave helps his brother.” (Muslim)
Similarly, the hedonistic utilitarian yardstick used to measure actions is replaced with the Halal and Haram, motivating children to seek the worship and Pleasure of Allah (swt):
“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Qur’an 57:20)
Accordingly, Islam provides cohesive values for Muslim children and immunises them from a decadent and corrupt culture. The bankruptcy of British values and inherent failure of secularism in solving problems mean that the aspiration to give Islam a more assertive role is only instinctive.
“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” (Qur’an 66:6)