Two staffers at a British high school have claimed that the school has been infiltrated by radical Sunni Muslim extremists who are sympathetic to al-Qaida and promote the terrorist group during assemblies.
The school is Park View Academy in Birmingham, the second most populous city in England.
The anonymous staffers told the Daily Mail that at least one senior official at Park View Academy has endorsed the beliefs of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula known as the “the “bin Laden of the Internet.” A Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone killed al-Awlaki in 2011.
The unidentified staffers also say the taxpayer-funded school segregates male and female students from each other and isolates non-Muslim employees.
Park View describes itself as a “multi-faith school,” but most of the teachers and administrators are Muslims of recent Pakistani descent — many of them apparently related. The Islamic call to prayer allegedly plays routinely in the school’s hallways.
Based on these claims and other evidence, Great Britain’s Department for Education has launched a full-fledged inquiry, the Daily Mail reports.
The other evidence includes a somewhat mysterious letter referencing a “Trojan Horse” plot. The letter was received by local Birmingham government officials. It claims that several schools in the Birmingham area are attempting to indoctrinate students with hardcore, terror-sympathizing Islamic beliefs.
The British education department is interviewing employees and investigating financial records at more than a dozen schools — both secular and faith-based.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is reportedly following the investigation closely.
Officials at Park View are denying the allegations, according to the BBC, which launched its own investigation at Park View Academy.
When a BBC journalist showed up at Park View investigate, Tahir Alam, chair of governors at the school, assured her that his school is no breeding ground for terrorists or al-Qaida sympathizers.
Alam, the school boss for 17 years and himself a graduate of Park View, suggested that the charges are part of a “frenzy” grounded in “anti-Muslim, anti-Islam sentiment.”
“You can go round the school, you can have a look at the school, and you will find there is no evidence for these things whatsoever,” Alam told BBC reporter Sima Kotecha.
At the same time, Alam insisted on accompanying Kotecha at every moment. He also would only let her speak to certain staff members.
Birmingham’s Labour Party MP Khalid Mahmood is a big critic of Park View Academy.
“These are state schools, not Islamic,” Mahmood said, according to the Mail. “I am very concerned at the way non-Muslim staff have been dealt with and the effect on the children.”
Mahmood, who chairs the United Kingdom’s Tackling Terrorism All-Party Parliamentary Group, said the school’s leadership appears to be devoted to the fundamentalist Wahhabi movement, according to the Mail.