Inflammatory leaflet found at British Islamic girls’ school

The document advertised a controversial 1994 conference organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir

Radical cleric Omar Bakri, on bail in Lebanon on charges including incitement to murder, attends a sit-in in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on June 29, 2012, demanding the disarming of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, considered the most powerful military force in the country. The Syrian-born cleric and holder of Lebanese nationality, who earned notoriety by praising the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, was banned in 2005 from returning to Britain, where he was based for nearly two decades, under government curbs introduced following the London underground and bus bombings that year. AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD ZAYYAT (Photo by MAHMOUD ZAYYAT / AFP)
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Inspectors claimed that girls at a British Islamic school were not safe from radicalisation after they discovered a “seriously inflammatory” leaflet backed by Hizb ut-Tahrir that promoted an Islamic state.

Inspectors rated the school “inadequate” after finding the 26-year-old document openly displayed in its library.

Officials from the school in Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, were unable to say how it got there, the report published last week said.

The leaflet appeared to be an advertisement for a 1994 conference in Wembley, London.

“Today we find that the sons and daughters of Islam are under continuous attack by the forces of non-Islam," the report stated, according to inspectors.

“Leaders have not made sure that pupils are protected from this type of material," the inspectors said. "This means that pupils are not safe.

“A web-based search of the meeting could lead pupils to views promoting the proposed supremacy of Muslims in the world.”

The report appeared to refer to the International Muslim Khilafah held in Wembley in August 1994, where delegates discussed the creation of a single Islamic state.

Contemporary news reports identified the main organiser as Omar Bakri Mohammed, then Hizb ut-Tahrir’s national organiser in Britain.

The international group, which advocates the return of a caliphate, has been banned in some European and Middle East countries but remains legal in the UK.

“We will conquer Britain not by killing or stealing but by undermining the thought of the media and western civilisation, which pollutes Islam,” the Syrian-born activist said on the eve of the 1994 meeting.

The meeting went ahead despite late efforts to stop it after lobbying from Jewish groups. A car bombing less than two weeks before at London’s Israeli embassy wounded 14 people.

Mr Mohammed later quit Hizb ut-Tahrir to set up the now-banned group Al Muhajiroun, which has extensive links to a generation of British extremists who travelled to fight in Syria under the ISIS flag.

He fled abroad and was banned from returning to Britain in 2005.

The discovery of the leaflet will mean Birchfield Independent Girls’ School will be subject to closer scrutiny by authorities because of concerns about the welfare of children, but it will remain open.

The head teacher at Birchfield, where more than 100 girls aged 11 to 17 pay fees of £2,250 a year, said the school was not to blame for the leaflet and has apparently started legal action because of the inspection report.

Rehana Mogra told the Birmingham Mail newspaper that inspectors were responsible for "draconian and inconsistent" practices.

“The leaflet identified has no place in our teachings, curriculum or ethos,” Ms Mogra said. “We work hard to promote fundamental British values and the rule of law at our school.

“Our pupils are well equipped to combat radicalisation and inspectors were able to verify this as part of the inspection process.”

The publication of the report comes a month after another Islamic school in Birmingham was shut down because the head posed a “potential risk to pupils” and inspectors identified more than a decade of management failures.

A government-backed counter-extremism commission last year highlighted the role of Hizb ut-Tahrir in exploiting tension over teaching practices at Birmingham schools “to promote their belief that western liberalism is a threat to Islam”.