Birmingham school probe finds anti-Israel views

By Simon Rocker, July 22, 2014

An investigation into allegations of Islamist extremism in Birmingham has found that some teachers harboured anti-Israel views.

Education Commissioner Peter Clarke, in a report published today, uncovered no evidence of radicalisation or violent extremism.

But there was clear evidence, he said, of a number of people in positions of influence who espoused, sympathised with or failed to challenge extremist views.

There had been a co-ordinated attempt to introduce “an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos” into a few non-faith state schools in the city, he concluded.

Mr Clarke’s evidence included a social media forum used by some teachers which gave a “clear and disturbing insight” into their attitudes.

Apart from references to hardline preachers and homophobic views, on two occasions “offensive images that can only be interpreted as anti-Israeli” were posted on the online discussion group.

“They portrayed lavatory rolls imprinted with the Israeli flag,” he said. “These images are available on the internet, but it is significant that they did not attract any form of challenge from other forum members or the administrator on either occasion that they were posted.”

In one school, Mr Clarke reported, "a three year-old in nursery said recently that his family was poor because, 'All the Jews and Zionists have all the money'. A ten-year-old was aghast when his friend drew some stars by overlapping two triangles saying, ‘You can’t draw that! It’s haram [sinful] because it’s Israel’."

Last updated: 2:49pm, July 22 2014