I was the only teacher to be found guilty as a result of the Trojan Horse allegations in Birmingham. It was one of the most politicised cases in education the country has ever seen.
In December 2014 I received a letter saying that I’d been referred to the government’s National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) for misconduct allegations.
I was the deputy head at Oldknow Academy. I and two colleagues—all Pakistani, male and Muslim—received the letters. We were singled out.
I was born and bred in Luton. But this made me feel like I was never British. I felt downgraded to a second-class citizen, like I didn’t belong.
As a practising Muslim, I am strictly not allowed to criticise any other religion or belief system. It still hurts today that I was painted as a Christian-hating individual.
There was blatant lying. It was said that we cancelled Christmas. But we had Christmas assemblies, a Christmas dinner and Christmas decorations.
Children delivered Christmas cards using a snowman post box.We had Christian, Islamic and Hindu assemblies.
I think Michael Gove was on a mission to bring in more draconian policies and regulatory powers to target Muslims.
After a day of inspections in April 2014, about 15 or 16 staff came to talk to me. They said, “Jahangir—they’re after you.”
Education Funding Agency inspectors had asked staff what I was like with non-Muslim females. They were trying to induce staff into saying something against me.
The NCTL ruled that I “undermined fundamental British values”—which I never did.
If this goes unchallenged, any teacher facing similar allegations will be automatically found guilty.
This case has a huge bearing on the entire profession and I’m still exploring ways to get an appeal.
Jahangir Akbar, Leicester
Christmas carol for the Tories
In solidarity—some adjustment to some seasonal carol lyrics.
Good Queen All-Is-Lost looked out on the feast of Stephen
Wanting something else to snatch to make the books look even.
When a poor man came in sight, cold and wet and freezing
Queenie set her dogs on him, fero-cious-ly whee-e-ezing
“Gimme that fuel and gimme that food! We’re all in this together!
But I’ll let you keep the cardboard box as it’s such lousy we-e-eather!”
Big Queen took Iain (her dog) back home and sang as she fed it,
“Merry Xmas to you all
On Universal Cre-e-dit!”
Her victims stood there in the snow outside her third-best mansion
If any one made a complaint she put them on a sanction
But when they linked arms she was scared
(though she tried to hide it)
Let’s tear the Tories’ system down next year
And bury them inside it.
Julia Richardson, Swansea
A third of parents are still paying off debts from Christmas last year.
Single parents are hit the hardest. We need to fight the Tories for real pay rises and higher benefits.
Debbie Langton, Leicestershire
Vulnerable women and homeless under attack
The welfare state has been consistently attacked since Margaret Thatcher’s governments in the 1980s.
Attacks have targeted homeless services, supported accommodation and women’s refuges.
They put people at risk and driving them further in to appalling conditions.
The latest attack is a change to housing benefit rules—removing the benefit for refuge and domestic violence services (Socialist Worker, 29 November).
Along with the cruel Universal Credit and benefit sanctions, this is austerity-driven murder.
It is wrong to use a market mechanism in the budget to force essential life-saving services to compete for funding.
Many homeless people and women fleeing abusive relationships will be turned away from those services.
Trade unionists and the Labour movement should be at the centre of fighting attacks on them.
Ayesha Saleem, Edinburgh
Don’t fawn over the ‘insolent aristocracy’
How thankful should we be for a royal wedding on the horizon?
As the working class struggles with cuts and the wealthy engage in dodgy tax schemes, this pageantry of inequality is just what we need to keep our spirits up.
Revolutionary socialist James Connolly summed up perfectly the aristocracy and those blind to what they stand for.
“A people mentally poisoned by adulation of royalty can never attain to that spirit of self-reliant democracy necessary for the attainment of social freedom,” he wrote.
“The mind accustomed to political kings can easily be reconciled to social kings—capitalist kings of the workshop, the mill, the railway, the ships and the docks.
“Fellow workers, stand by the dignity of your class.
“All these parading royalties, all this insolent aristocracy, all these grovelling, dirt-eating capitalist traitors, all these are but signs of disease in any social state.”
I wonder will the prince wear the correct attire for his big day, instead of the one he wore a few years ago. [He wore a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party]
Robert Gillan, by email
Where’s the scandal gone?
Anyone know why the issue of the Paradise Papers has gone suspiciously quiet and what can be done to resurrect it with full vigour?
Kris Whatfjord, on Twitter
Syriza shows Lenin is right
Syriza is proving Lenin’s point (Socialist Worker online, 30 November).
“A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism,” he wrote.
“Once capital has gained possession of this very best shell it establishes its power so securely that no change of persons, institutions or parties can shake it.”
Navdeep Virdi, on Twitter
No asbestos, say residents
Hundreds of residents in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, have signed a petition opposing proposals for an asbestos transfer station on their doorsteps in Brick Street.
The petition warns of the potential health hazards associated with coming into contact with asbestos.
John Appleyard, West Yorkshire
Boycott US for Venezuela
The US is sanctioning Venezuela for its socialist policies by embargoes on petroleum exports and materials.
This is crippling the country economically and causing hardship to its citizens.
The imperialist US needs to be stopped by boycotting its products in Britain.
Jonathan Bellini, West London
Solidarity with Palestinians
Solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Sasha Simic, East London