- Imams are trained in schools accused of promoting intolerance, report warns
- Secret Government report claims emerging preachers hold extreme views
- Mail on Sunday has identified 48 Darul Ulooms that follow strict syllabus
Young imams are being trained in a network of Islamic schools across the UK that have been accused of promoting intolerance and misogyny, a secret Government report has warned.
The report claims preachers emerging from some of the dozens of Darul Uloom madrasas scattered across Britain have views as extreme as those held by radical clerics who move to the UK from Islamic countries – and may spread them to worshippers.
The Mail on Sunday has identified 48 Darul Ulooms – which can be translated as House of Knowledge – that follow a strict syllabus called Dars-E-Nizami.
It espouses the literal following of the Koran and is used by the hardline Islamic movement Deobandism, whose training schools produced the Taliban in Pakistanand Afghanistan.
At least four Darul Ulooms have previously been criticised by the education regulator Ofsted. Inspectors found students being taught that music and dancing comes from the devil and that women do not have the right to refuse sex to their husbands.
The ban on music is similar to the one imposed by Islamic State, which carried out public floggings on those who broke the rule.
Last night, a source familiar with the report said: ‘UK-based training provided by Darul Ulooms results in the development of extremist views because the institutions are highly conservative and often fail to address the challenge facing Muslims in modern Britain. It means imams trained in Britain will be no better equipped than foreign-born imams in providing satisfactory support to British Muslims.’
Haras Rafiq, an anti-extremism expert at the Quilliam think tank, said: ‘British-trained imams are not any better than the ones trained in the Indian subcontinent because both are taught the same Dars-E-Nizami syllabus. The Darul Ulooms have a problem with extremism.’
The madrasas operate in many cities, including London, Manchester, Glasgow and Leicester, but the report cites the Darul Uloom High School in Birmingham as an example of an ‘extremist madrasa’.
Four years ago, it was investigated by Ofsted after leaflets stating that music and dancing were ‘acts of the devil’ were found on its premises. The school, which has around 175 pupils, was also exposed by a Channel 4 investigation in 2011 that found pupils being taught to hate Jews, Christians and Hindus.
Defending his school last night, head teacher Dr David Bone said: ‘If you examine our latest Ofsted report, you will find that the school is rated as good in every area. In the past leaflets [on music] were found in the mosque that had been left by an outsider and these were removed and destroyed, as we would any such literature.’
Boys at the Darul Uloom in Leicester were taught ‘stereotypical views on the roles of men and women’ which staff did not challenge, said inspectors in 2015.
A spokesman for the school said: ‘That Ofsted report has been superseded by more recent inspections which highlight the progress the school has made. Inspectors said that teachers ensure pupils understand the importance of freedom of speech and individual liberty.’
Ofsted has been concerned by other madrasas, including the Jamia Al-Hudaa Darul Uloom for Girls in Nottingham. Aliyah Saleem – a former pupil who turned whistleblower after she was expelled in 2006 for behaviour including possessing a disposable camera – likened life at the school to a prison and claimed girls were taught that it was permissible for husbands to beat and rape their wives because it made ‘Allah happy’. The school did not respond to a request for comment.
Another Darul Uloom, in Chislehurst, South-East London, narrowly escaped being closed down by the Department of Education last year after knives, a toy gun and £400,000 were found there. A spokesman for the school, nicknamed the ‘Muslim Eton’, insisted the ‘safeguarding and welfare of children are always of paramount concern’.
Some British jihadis have been former Darul Uloom pupils. Sajid Badat, now 40, from Gloucester went to Afghanistan and trained to be a suicide bomber for Al Qaeda. He was sent to Britain to be a shoe bomber but aborted his mission.
The ex-pupil of the Blackburn Darul Uloom was arrested and served 13 years in jail.
One of Britain’s leading moderate imams urged Darul Ulooms to reject radicalism. Ibrahim Mogra, who trained at a Darul Uloom, said: ‘If they promote isolationism and segregation from society, that will not be acceptable.’
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