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A lockdown on dissent

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Issue 2724
New guidance will target Muslim organisations
New guidance will target Muslim organisations (Pic: Flickr/DFID)

There was justified anger from the left in response to new government teaching guidelines that ban anti-capitalist teaching materials from classrooms.

Department for Education guidance on teaching the relationship, sex and health curriculum said, “Schools should not under any circumstances use resources produced by organisations that take extreme political stances on matters.”

This includes any organisation that has said publicly it wants to overthrow capitalism. But as with every government attempt to tackle “extremism” in schools, the main targets are likely to be Muslims.

The guidance bans organisations that have failed to “condemn illegal activities done in their name or in support of their cause, particularly violent actions”.


It potentially places an obligation on every Muslim organisation to condemn terrorist acts or risk having their materials banned from schools.

Demands on Muslims to condemn terrorism intend to make them collectively responsible for every terrorist act. Organisations that refuse to go along with that face accusations of extremism.

Schools have already become a site of state-driven Islamophobia.

The government’s Prevent strategy requires teachers to report students for expressing “extremist” views.

The “Trojan Horse” scandal of 2014—based on a hoax letter—claimed there was a Muslim extremist plot to take over a Birmingham school.

Part of the claims— that were wholly false—said there was “extremist” material in the school.

The new government guidance could be used to set up another such attack.

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