British Prime Minister David Cameron allowed unannounced assessments dubbed “dawn raids” in schools across the English Midlands on June 9 after education inspectors filed a report highlighting evidence of Islamist infiltration in several schools in Birmingham, the second largest city in England, after London.
Before the report was filed, inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, also known as Ofsted, examined six schools that were accused of spreading Islamic extremism. Reportedly, one of the schools took advantage of an advance notice of inspection and hurriedly arranged special lessons for its pupils on Christianity. Thereafter, Cameron instructed Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, to assess suspect schools without prior notification. Now the schools will be subject to special measures including unannounced early morning inspections.
“Protecting our children is one of the first duties of the government, and that is why the issue of alleged Islamist extremism in Birmingham schools demands a robust response,” said Cameron.
David Hughes, vice chairman of Park View Educational Trust, the organization that heads three of the schools that have been at the center of the dispute, reacted angrily saying none of the schools under his supervision would tolerate or promote extremism.
The scandal dubbed Operation Trojan Horse is an organized attempt by Islamist radicals to co-opt schools across England and run them according to extremist ideals. Since information about the dispute was leaked earlier this year, the story has been dominating the front pages of all British papers, television news bulletins and radio channels. While some have blamed skewed and biased reporting for the magnanimity of the event, others believe there is too much evidence proving Islamist infiltration in educational institutions.