- Headteacher at Birmingham school received death threat on social media
- Around same time dead dog was strung up on railings at school's entrance
- Hardline Muslims are thought to be behind the shocking acts
- Comes in wake of Trojan Horse scandal, which exposed attempts by militant Muslims to infiltrate state schools
Death threats: Headteacher of Anderton Park School in Birmingham Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson
The scene which greeted staff arriving at Anderton Park School in Birmingham before morning assembly was chilling.
A dead dog had been left outside — not just left but, with medieval brutality, strung up on the railings at the entrance and displayed like something you might see in a horror film.
We now know it was not simply a random act of sadistic animal cruelty; Anderton, whose catchment area covers Sparkhill, a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood, was chosen deliberately.
The school had received an anonymous call the previous day warning headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson about what was going to happen.
It was spelt out in a death threat sent to her on social media at around the same time, in which someone had written: ‘Any headteacher who teaches my children it’s alright to be gay will be at the end of my shotgun.’
Of 700 pupils at Anderton, 99.8 per cent are from minority ethnic backgrounds, the majority of them Muslim. Many believe there is little doubt where the threat originated from.
Meanwhile, a petition organised by hardline Muslims, objecting to a new anti-homophobic bullying programme at Anderton, has been circulating outside the school.
The vendetta against Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson has been going on for at least two months, the period in which these sinister incidents occurred.
Details only emerged last weekend when Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson, 44, addressed the annual conference of the National Association of Headteachers in Liverpool.
She spoke about the climate of ‘fear and intimidation still prevalent’ in Birmingham in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, which exposed attempts by militant Muslims to infiltrate state schools to impose an Islamic agenda.
No one has stood up to the extremists more courageously — or been more vociferous in opposing them — than Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson. Many — including the newly re-elected Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood, himself a Muslim — believe this is one of the main reasons why she and other heads in Birmingham are now being targeted.
Almost from the first day she was appointed in 2012, Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson has fought a running battle with a small but significant minority of hardline governors and parents who tried to undermine her and the ethos of Anderton Park (some Muslim children, for example, were discouraged by their parents from playing with white pupils).
The headteacher also gave evidence to last year’s Clarke inquiry — led by former counter-terrorism police chief Peter Clarke — into the Trojan Horse controversy.
His report found evidence of an ‘aggressive Islamist agenda’ and recommended better systems to check on those who were governors at schools.
But the union backed a resolution raising concerns that the recommendations of the Government-commissioned report have not been fully implemented.
The union specifically raised concerns that recommendations limiting the number of governing bodies one person can sit on, and preventing certain individuals from being involved in running schools, have not been acted on.
Rob Kelsall, NAHT senior regional officer, said: ‘That has left the door open and allowed the resurgence of some of the key operators to try and start to intimidate some of the headteachers who are not necessarily the ones who are going to be speaking out.’
Following the report and investigations by Ofsted and Birmingham City Council, a string of governors left Anderton. The leadership of five other schools in the city were also replaced.
It was supposed to be the dawn of a new era for education in Birmingham. But Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson’s experience proves otherwise. ‘Trojan Horse has not gone away,’ she told the Liverpool conference.
‘Those of us who were involved knew it was the tip of the iceberg. We still have dead animals hung on gates of schools, dismembered cats on playgrounds.
‘We have petitions outside schools, objecting to teachers teaching against homophobia.’
She said she has reported the ‘Facebook death threat’ to police but did not disclose where any of the other incidents she referred to in her speech took place.
Monzoor ‘Mozz’ Hussain was headteacher of Park View before being suspended over the Trojan Horse plot
Our own inquiries in Birmingham have established that the dog was, in fact, left at her own school.
The slaughtered pet was taken down from the railings before children arrived.
But the gruesome discovery outside the school gates has nevertheless become common knowledge among some pupils.
The fact a dog was chosen was not a coincidence, Muslims appalled at recent events told us. In the eyes of hardliners, dogs are viewed as unclean.
Some Muslim zealots in Sparkhill viewed Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson in much the same way.
Leaving a dog (or ‘kutta’ as a dog is called in Urdu) on her doorstep was meant to insult and humiliate as well as intimidate her.
Anderton Park is not the only school to be subjected to a campaign of intimidation.
The mutilated cat Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson spoke of was left in the playground of Springfield Primary School, we were reliably informed by a number of sources, although the school’s headteacher this week denied this.
A third incident took place in nearby Dudley a few months ago when a male Staffordshire-mastiff cross was found suspended by its lead and tied to a railing 15ft above the pavement, just yards from Kates Hill Primary.
These incidents are symptomatic of a culture based on a perversion of Islam — alien to the vast majority of decent, law-abiding Muslims — which has been allowed to take root like a cancer, not just in Birmingham but in many other parts of inner-city Britain as well.
Birmingham City council admitted, in the wake of the Clarke report, that it had shied away from the problem out of ‘a misguided fear of being accused of racism’.
Another widely held view, shared by a head forced out of her school by the hardliners, is that the ruling Labour council was prepared to ‘sweep things under the carpet’ because the Trojan Horse plotters were all Labour supporters.
‘The vast majority of the Muslim community close their eyes and vote Labour,’ she told us this week. This former head, it should be pointed out, is herself a Muslim.
What is now becoming all too apparent, though, is that many of the individuals at the centre of the Trojan Horse affair are still agitating in the community, despite Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s announcement, in the aftermath of the supposed crackdown, that ‘we have got to the bottom of the issue’.
One is running a parental ‘advice’ service, another is a director of a recruitment agency supplying teachers to city schools, and others have joined forces to set up a private academy and continue to teach children.
And reinstated to the board of Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson’s own school, it emerges, is a governor who was suspended for ‘bringing the school into disrepute’ over his role in making collective worship at Anderton more Islamic.
So much for the clampdown.
One need not read far into the so-called Trojan Horse ‘conspiracy’ before coming across the name Tahir Alam.
Alam was once the chairman of governors at Park View school, where Department of Education inspectors found that girls were made to sit at the back of the class.
GCSE syllabuses were restricted ‘to comply with conservative Islamic teaching’ and an extremist preacher was invited to speak to pupils.
Scene of grisly act: A dead dog was left outside Anderton Park School in Birmingham
— not just left but, with medieval brutality, strung up on the railings at the entrance and displayed like something you might see in a horror film
Alam, a 46-year-old father of two, was removed from his influential position in July. A controversial organisation called the Muslim Parents Association, set up to ‘empower Muslim parents to advance the education of their children’, and of which Alam was a director, also closed.
In February, however, after the publicity surrounding Trojan Horse had subsided, an almost identical sounding group, Muslim Parents Association C.I.C, was incorporated, according to Companies House documents, with former BT engineer Alam listed as a director.
Among its aims is to ‘provide schoolteachers, governors and other relevant parties with a community perspective on meeting the religious and cultural needs of Muslim schoolchildren’.
A 72-page guide, Meeting the Needs of Muslim Pupils in State Schools, co-authored by Alam, is featured on a Muslim Parents Association website.
It amounts to a blueprint for the ‘Islamification’ of Britain’s entire education system. One excerpt reads: ‘Most Muslim children will find little or no educational merit or value in dance or dancing after early childhood and may find it objectionable on moral and religious grounds once children have become sexually mature.’
Another says that schools with significant numbers of Muslim children should stop swimming lessons during Ramadan as ‘the potential for swallowing water [when fasting] is very high’.
Mixed-gender swimming sessions, even for primary school children, are ‘unacceptable for reasons of modesty and decency to Muslim parents’.
It goes on to say that school discos and fashion shows could be ‘inappropriate’ as they ‘might inadvertently exclude pupils and parents from the Islamic faith background’.
Even more alarmingly, the guide adds that Muslim children should not be expected to take part in Nativity plays or any acting ‘that involves physical contact between males and females’.
Monzoor ‘Mozz’ Hussain was headteacher of Park View when Tahir Alam was chairman of governors.
The Clarke report revealed how Hussain established the ‘Park View Brotherhood’, a closed discussion group for certain teachers on messaging service WhatsApp, which suggested that both the killing of Woolwich Fusilier Lee Rigby and the bombing of the Boston Marathon were faked.
Members of the brotherhood, Clarke concluded in his report, tried to introduce ‘an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos’ into schools in the city.
Hussain is currently suspended on full pay and subject to an interim probation order, administered by the Department of Education, preventing him from teaching in mainstream schools.
In September, Hussain’s wife, and another suspended teacher, established the Aim-High Private Tuition Centre in Wolverhampton offering ‘specialised intensive courses’ for children.
No one was available for comment when we contacted the number given for the centre.
When confronted by ITV News recently, Hussain denied any involvement with Aim-High, but in a secretly recorded call with a reporter he thought was a parent, Hussain can be heard agreeing to tutor a child, saying: ‘If you’d prefer me, I can take him, no problem at all.’
Hussain’s brother, Akhmed Hussain, is deputy head of Moseley School in Birmingham.
Businesswoman Najma Begum also belonged to another messaging network with ‘Mozz’ Hussain and other key figures in the Trojan Horse plot, according to a Sunday newspaper report at the time.
In a message on December 15, 2013, she called Father Christmas ‘Satan,’ and attacked fellow Muslims for celebrating the ‘pagan’ festival ‘without knowing what is the truth behind this’. Other messages expressed extremist anti-Semitic views.
Members of the messaging group, she said, could ‘network’ with ‘Muslim governors and school leaders’ to achieve its objectives.
Ms Begum now runs Transform Training and Recruitment (TTARC), supplying teachers to city schools, from her home in the suburbs of Birmingham.
Her white Mercedes with personalised number plate was on the drive yesterday but a young woman who answered the door said Ms Begum did not wish to be interviewed.
Many of the extremists linked to Trojan Horse activities adhered to Salafism, a puritanical interpretation of Islam. Salafis oppose all Western cultural influence and advocate a unified Islamic state ruled by Sharia law.
O ne young mother, a former parent governor at a Trojan Horse school, told us how she was persecuted by Salafis. Still too afraid to be identified, she said: ‘We tried to stand up to them but our children were beaten up and we had bricks thrown through our windows.
‘Guys stood at the street corner watching our house. I would love to speak out publicly but I have a family. Despite my colour and my faith I am seen as an outsider. It’s really sinister.’
The resurgence of intimidation against headteachers in Birmingham, it is argued, is due to a failure to implement the recommendations of the Clarke report, including banning discredited governors from schools in the future.
One name springs to mind: Muhammad Hashim, 51, the individual referred to earlier who was suspended (for six months) as a governor at Anderton Park ‘for bringing the school into disrepute.’
Hashim is now listed as a governor again on the Anderton Park school website.
‘There are still people out there who want to continue trying to force Islamist ideals into our schools and we have to be aware and have rules in place to check their advance,’ Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson said when we spoke to her this week.
Recent events suggest that, if anything, the campaign of intimidation has got even nastier.