It was interesting to hear the radio debates on all sides of the so called trojan horse scandal schools.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about it.
What seems to be clear is there have been moves at the schools to target staff members and make them uncomfortable enough to leave. Whether that's down to them being useless or something more sinister, its hard to say.
Forget for a moment that non-Muslim pupils seem to have been badly catered for at the school, which on its own should indicate poor management and be a reason for major changes.
The fact that someone with recognised extremist views was allowed to talk at one school does set alarm bells ringing. Now the school's supporters can shout until they are blue in the face that the speaker didn't speak on an extremist topic, but the mere fact that he was allowed to speak at the school at all shows there is systemic failure to grasp what that says about the schools and the regime there. There would be a huge outcry if a far right extremist Neo-Nazi was able to address pupils at a school, so now the shoe is on the other foot what's the difference?
There were a number of interviews with "moderate" muslims saying that extremist viewpoints wouldn't be tolerated and that it was a travesty that the schools should be investigated in this way... yadd yadda, the same old apologists saying there's nothing to see, move along.. But they have only themselves to blame. If "moderate" muslims don't like the interference, then they should police their own religion. If they don't, then by association we must all assume that they agree with extremist views. Otherwise the statements saying they don't hold with such views are just hollow.
I'm glad that the schools will be put under special measures. Hopefully they can be turned around and cleansed of any radicalism.
In the long term, moderate muslims in the UK need to start walking the walk as well as talking the talk. They need to claim back their religion from the ideological zealots and prove by deeds and not words that they do not hold to extremist views. I don't care if an Imam from Pakistan has a very good reputation. If he's asked to speak on any subject in the UK, it should be a viewpoint compatible with UK society. He should not be preaching extremist, mysogenistic and hateful viewpoints.
And before anyone pulls the free speech card, lets look at how everyone else has had to curtail their own free speech. Decades ago it was ok to be racist, to use the "N" word and others. Its no longer acceptable and rightly so. We've done our part in making the country more tolerant.
Muslims in the UK should start to make similar changes in their attitude and their religion too to reinforce the moderate message.
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