PRESS RELEASE: NY Times Trojan Horse Podcast Revives Call for Resolutions

The New York Times podcast published in February 2022, by Brian Reed and Hamza Syed, has reignited discussions about the Trojan Horse Scandal, amongst the Birmingham community.

On 30th March 2022, a large number of West Midlands mosques and organisations arranged a panel discussion – ‘Trojan Horse: The Impact’, held at the University of Birmingham (UoB).

As part of a series of events titled ‘Under the Lens’, the events aim to discuss pertinent issues in the Muslim community, ensuring educated and specialist views. This particular event was organised by the UoB Islamic Society and the UoB Chaplaincy.

The event provided the audience with an educated discussion on the impact that the Trojan Horse affair had on the Muslim and wider community.

On the panel discussion was Tahir Alam ex Park View Education Trust governor. He spoke explicitly about the impact the affair had on him personally and other teachers involved, as well providing key facts on the consequently deteriorating results in Park View School.

Professor John Holmwood, an expert witness for the defence on the affair, labelled the affair as having created a change in the Prevent Strategy.

The discussion covered many significant issues for the Muslim community, from Prevent, to negative media discourse surrounding Muslims and to child safeguarding.  Some of the most striking comments came from an ex-government counter terrorism advisor, Jahan Mahmood, who said (with the recent Ukraine war…) “the Russians are the new Muslims, suddenly there are no Muslim terrorists in the media.”

Panellist Dr Rehana Parveen a lecturer in Law, added her concerns on the representation of Muslim women and said – “If you want to be an ally for Muslim women, then give them the microphone” Parveen explained that in her opinion, Muslim women are stereotyped and not accurately represented within media.

The indication of poor media representation was one that ran through the event. Prof Peter Moray, a lecturer in English and author/co-author of Rohinton Mistry (2004); Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11 (2011), and Islamophobia and the Novel; expressed concern over dovetailing between political and media agendas.

Nasir Rafiq, a Chartered Accountant / Internal Auditor, who was engaged to help the Park View Trust navigate through the forensic audit of the Trust commissioned by the DfE, was also on the panel. He voiced his concerns in light of the New York Times Podcast, which alleged the burying of the Birmingham City Council Audit report. He declared a need for an “immediate Public Inquiry into the handling of the affair”.

Organisers of the event commented;

“The Trojan Horse Affair was a definite scar on the Muslim community. It is important these controversial occurrences are considered in an academic and honest manner. There is a need for people to be heard and it is vital we have discussions so that lessons are learnt and we can support the community in moving forward.”

The impact of the Trojan Horse Affair, harmonised by all panellists, were devasting consequences on the children at the time and to the present where the schools involved have dropped in their national average grades. The event at the University of Birmingham befittingly, ended on a pressing need for education and calls for the community to educate themselves and to provide better representation in all areas of society – in particular within the media.

  Supporting Organisations:

  1. Students Islamic Society, University of Birmingham
  2. FOSIS – Federation of Student Islamic Societies
  3. Muslim Council of Britain
  4. Green Lane Mosque and Community Centre, Small Heath, Birmingham
  5. Birmingham Central Mosque, Highgate, Birmingham
  6. Jami Mosque and Islamic Centre, Birmingham
  7. Witton Islamic Centre, Aston, Birmingham
  8. Al Hijrah Masjid, Small Heath, Birmingham
  9. Sultan Bahu Trust, Birmingham
  10. Muslim Students House Masjid, Balsall Heath, Birmingham
  11. Masjid Al Falaah, Kokni Muslim Association Birmingham
  12. Paigham-E-Islam, Trust Masjid, Sparkhill, Birmingham
  13. Kowneyn Community Center and Masjid Attarbiya, Nechells, Birmingham
  14. MahmudSabir Masjid (Al Furqan), Tyseley, Birmingham
  15. Wisdom Islamic Cultural Centre, Nechells, Birmingham
  16. Masjid Attarbiya, Nechells, Birmingham
  17. Masjid esa Ibn Maryam, Hall Green, Birmingham
  18. The Abrahamic Foundation, Smethwick, Birmingham
  19. Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif, Small Heath, Birmingham
  20. Makki Masjid, Handsworth, Birmingham
  21. Jamia Masjid & Madrassa Faiz ul Quran Ghousia, Stechford, Birmingham
  22. Unity FM, Birmingham