Three disturbing reports about Muslim extremism in the UK have emerged this weekend.
The first alleges that the Birmingham City Council has uncovered plans by fundamentalist Salafists to take over secular schools and turn them into into faith-based academies run on Islamic principles.
Documents, purportedly from “disaffected Muslim parents” who want the faith-based schools, call for an end to:
Corrupting children with sex education, teaching about homosexuals, making their children say Christian prayers and mixed swimming and sports.
If proven bone fide, the documents will be a further blow to the government’s free school’s programme, dogged by the closure of the Al-Madinah school in Derby after Ofsted found it failing in every respect, and reports children were being segregated by sex and non-Muslim members of staff being told to wear Islamic dress.
The second report says that anti-terror experts in the UK fear children as young as nine are exhibiting signs of Islamic extremism.
Police have revealed a total of 2,653 young people aged 15 to 24 were referred to government-funded de-radicalisation programmes between 2006 and 2013.
Cases quoted include:
A nine-year-old schoolboy in east London who was referred to the authorities after allegedly showing signs of extremism – the youngest case known in Britain. He was ‘deprogrammed’ according to a source with knowledge of the case.
The strategy is designed to tackle the problem of terrorism at its roots, preventing people from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves.
In 2006/07 just five individuals were referred to a “multi-agency panel” to deal with potential terrorists but that figure had increased to 748 in 2012/13 with the overall total reaching 2,653 cases in just seven years.
The third is that that a controversial Islamic rights group fronted by a man charged with attending a terror training camp in Syria is being bankrolled by two mainstream British charities.
CagePrisoners, an organisation founded by Moazzam Begg – who has just appeared in court on terror charges – has been given £120,000 by the Anita Roddick Foundation, which distributes part of the former Body Shop owner’s £100 million fortune.
Moazzam Begg is charged with providing instruction and training for terrorism and funding terrorism in Syria, plus terrorism funding offences. Photo courtesy of: The Free Thinker
A second charity, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker-run fund set up by the chocolate-maker and philanthropist a century ago, has also paid CagePrisoners £305,000 over six years.
Last week, Begg, 45, who became director of CagePrisoners after his release from Guantanamo Bay in 2005, was one of four suspects picked up in Birmingham over alleged links to terrorism in Syria.
On Saturday he appeared before Westminster magistrates’ court charged with providing terrorism training and instruction over a six month period, and of being involved with funding terrorism as recently as August last year. Begg denied all charges.
He was one of dozens of British Muslims to be arrested and stopped in the last year over security chiefs’ fears that the conflict in Syria may lead to terror attacks in the UK.
CagePrisoners, which has recently changed its name to Cage and rebranded its website, is funded by a range of institutional and private donors. It has organised a demonstration outside the headquarters of West Midlands police calling for an end to the “harassment and intimidation of communities under anti-terrorism legislation”.