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TV probe into Islamic Blackburn primary school aired
THE undercover TV documentary featuring Blackburn’s Muslim Olive Primary school was aired last night.
It was immediately branded ‘a total misrepresentation’ by Tauheedul governor Solly Khonat.
The Channel Four investigation into faith schools nationwide included secret footage of teaching assistants and teachers in the Olive staff room discussing what was appropriate for Islamic education.
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The fliming was undertaken by volunteer teaching assistant ‘Rehana’ who told the documentary she was shocked at teachings ‘far stricter’ than her devout Muslim upbringing.
In a piece of footage of a counting exercise it appears one pupil claps and was told off by a member of staff.
Asking about a lack of applause and music in the school, she filmed staff saying they had heard some people say that: l Clapping was ‘ a form of entertainment for Satan’; and l Music in school was discouraged as non-Muslim.
The programme revealed trust schools hosted lectures by three extremist preachers, including Mufti Ismail Menk banned from six UK universities for preaching same-sex acts were ‘filthy’.
It showed him saying of gay people: “With all due respect to the animals, they are worse than animals.”
The school said in the documentary it had revised its policy about speakers since March.
The documentary for the ‘Dispatches’ programme ‘Faith Schools Undercover: No Clapping in Class’ also looked at Birmingham Islamic schools and illegal ultra-orthodox Jewish schools in London.
It featured Professor Ted Cantle, author of reports into community cohesion in Burnley and Blackburn with Darwen, stating: “I think faith schooling adds to the problem of segregation’. The Tauheedul Schools Trust hopes reports from an emergency Ofsted inspection of the Olive School and its girls and boys secondaries expected tomorrow will give a positive picture.
The documentary followed the ‘Trojan Horse’ controversy over alleged attempts to radicalise Muslim schools in Birmingham.
Dispatches sent ‘Rehana’ to the Olive to film footage, edited into eight minutes of the half-hour programme.
Shear Brow councillor Solly Khonat said: “This was totally hyped up. It was a total misrepresentation of the Olive school.”
Blackburn with Darwen National Union of Teachers secretary Simon Jones said: “I am concerned the film showed Tauheedul pushing a narrow view of Islam. I agree with Professor Cantle.”
In the documentary the Trust said it had never made reference to Satan or Haraam in any of its classroom practices.
If this belief is held by a teacher it is a personal belief and not the policy or the belief of the school, it said.
A Tauheedul statement said: “We were very disappointed to be targeted by an undercover journalist, who pieced together a story based on private staff room chats.
“Clapping is not banned in our schools. It happens every day.
“Music, both accompanied and unaccompanied with instrum- ents, is used for educational purposes during lesson time.”