There have been some interesting developments in this story, although I am not sure whether they bring a solution any closer. Tahir Alam, one of the people named in the leaked documents, has now issued a press statement denying their authenticity. There are indeed, as he asserts, reasons for suspecting ‘Trojan Horse’ may be a hoax. However one argument he uses is perhaps not fully convincing.
The detail concerning Adderley Primary School in this document is of significant importance. The headteacher at Adderley is a Muslim. If the plot was to take over schools run by non-Muslims then it is odd that Adderley should be targeted as its current governing body and leadership team are predominantly Muslims.
The leaked documents clearly differentiate between zealous ‘good’ Muslims, and other Muslims who are less reliably on message. Perhaps a fabricated document would be more likely to identify as a target a school with a non-Muslim headteacher. On the other hand, as people were quick to point out when the story was first aired, one can’t help but suspect, like Richard Bartholomew, ‘that such a comprehensive ‘smoking gun’ is too good to be true’. And is it normal practice to refer to Salafists as though they were quite distinct from Sunni Muslims rather than a subset?
These documents can now (apparently) be read in full, here.
I noted in my comment to Richard Bartholomew’s post that there was something counterintuitive in the way people have responded to this story. Many who are inclined to be critical of Islam/Muslim extremism, have been rather sceptical, whereas some Muslim advocates have seemed unwilling to dismiss the allegations out of hand. Inayat Bunglawala takes this cautious approach in his own recent post:
Where lies the truth? Two good friends of mine who have long worked to challenge Islamophobia have written to me to say they are convinced that the leaked document is a forgery.
My view? I am sadly not so sure
I can only agree with his endorsement of the Birmingham Mail’s editorial
We make no judgment on the truth – or otherwise – of these very serious allegations.
But it is clear that they need thorough investigation, that the inquiry must be transparent and that appropriate action must be taken if the claims are proved.
Update I should have acknowledged an important point which many made when this story first emerged. It is entirely possible that this story is a fabrication, but one which (to a greater or lesser extent) documents genuine problems. If this is the case, it shouldn’t be assumed that the ‘hoax’ was driven by an anti-Muslim agenda.