Around 80 parents and teachers protested at short?notice in central Birmingham last Saturday against racist government attacks on schools.
The Tories ordered investigations into several schools there after an anonymous letter claimed that Islamists were plotting to take them over (see pages 10&11). Ofsted inspections found no evidence of a plot.
Hanna, whose husband works at one of the schools, was on the protest. “It’s completely outrageous,” she told Socialist Worker. “They couldn’t find any extremism so why do they keep calling the schools extremist?”
Farzana used to teach at Bordesley Green Girls School. She said that the witch hunt had created “tension in the air”.
“This is not happening to Jewish and Christian schools, so why to Muslims?” she asked.
Speakers said criticisms of the schools were a racist attack on Muslim students’ right to their religion.
NUT union member Bridget Parsons said Michael Gove’s “British values” were not hers.
Teachers said other teachers and governors had been too afraid to join the protest, having seen their colleagues witch hunted in the media.
Many people were angry at racist stereotypes of Muslims in much of the mainstream media. As one teacher put it, “My sons did drama and music. If I’m an extremist, who isn’t?”