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Religious extremists ARE infiltrating other schools in the same way as in the Trojan Horse scandal, integration tsar Louise Casey warns MPs
Different newspapers have picked up on different aspects of Dame Louise's report; the Daily Mail has homed in on her observations about schools and Muslim influence on them.
Religious extremists are still infiltrating British schools in the same way as happened in the Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham, MPs have been warned.
Government integration tsar Dame Louise Casey published a major review on community integration across Britain last month, revealing a shocking picture of 'ghettos' in some British towns. In evidence to the communities committee, Dame Louise today told MPs it had been 'easy' during her probe to find troubling examples in schools.
She said many bore a resemblance to the Birmingham Trojan Horse scandal where Islamists infiltrated and took over three schools. Dame Louise told MPs today: 'Yes, it is happening elsewhere...In terms of some of the things seen in what's called the Trojan Horse, we did not find it very difficult to find things like segregation of girls, what I would describe as anti-equal opportunities or anti-liberal values.'
The veteran civil servant warned MPs that headteachers were on the 'front line' of policing the influence of community leaders on schools. Dame Louise said it meant deciding in secular schools the extent to which religious requests were 'reasonable' and which would cause harm.
She said: 'Should a secular school close at 1pm on a Friday for religious reasons? I know what my view is on that but I know that headteacher has to have a very difficult set of conversations with 'the community' which often turns out not to be the parents.'
Dame Louise said in some parts of the country public officials did not take the threat seriously and even believed the Birmingham scandal to be a hoax.
She warned: 'Now, Trojan Horse is a set of issues - they go from girls being split off from boys, through teachers essentially teaching extremism. I'm not sure I'm saying that end is everywhere but do I think some of the dynamics that happened in Trojan Horse are at play in other areas of the country, yes I do. More importantly when does a teacher running a secular school say it's fine for you not to do theatre or music or those sorts of things? When is that OK?'
Dame Louise said there was a 'grey line' between talking about Islamic extremism and far right extremism.
She told the MPs: 'Everybody is frightened of being branded a racist - there are some nasty people on the right who clearly aren't - but most normal people are frightened of being branded a racist.'
She has to bring in these 'far-right' extremists, just as she has to compare Islamic calls for homosexuals to face the death penalty and place that on the same level as traditional Christian teaching that it is a falling short of either marriage or celibacy as the desirable states in which to live. There is an element where she is almost saying that if you are no longer frightened of being called racist, then you are one. Many of us are ceasing to be so frightened, the situation being that desperate now. But five years ago she wouldn't have dared criticise Islam or immigration, and now she is telling immigrants it is their duty to integrate and they must make the effort.