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Media Myopia
Grey Lady Wises Up on Radical Islamist Influence in British Schools

An alleged “takeover” of several British schools by radical Muslims caused a scandal in the UK, though the worst of the allegations have since proved unfounded. News outlets like the NYT were largely dismissive of the claims and attributed the investigation to a witch hunt by former Education Secretary Michael Gove, but now it seems the Grey Lady has come around to the idea that there may be something to this controversy. From its most recent article on the investigation:

According to the report by Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command, there was “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.” […]

Islamic hard-liners had gained influence on school boards, he said, “installing sympathetic head teachers or senior members of staff, appointing like-minded people to key positions, and seeking to remove head teachers who they do not feel to be sufficiently compliant with their agenda.”

Among the concerns highlighted in the report were calls to Friday Prayer broadcast over loudspeakers that were apparently stopped during a school inspection and complaints that female members of staff were not treated equally.

Somewhat buried in the story, we find this:

Particularly shocking, [newly-appointed education secretary Nicky Morgan] said, was evidence of a social media group, called the “Park View Brotherhood,” used by some staff members of Park View [one of the Birmingham schools under investigation]. According to Mr. Clarke’s report, the group’s online chats included explicit homophobia; offensive comments about British soldiers; a stated ambition to increase gender segregation in the school; and a constant undercurrent of anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment.

The schools’ actions and attitudes are worrisome but probably not dangerous; as Clarke said, there is no evidence that the schools promoted violence or terrorism. An Islamophobic panic would be an inappropriate response to stories of this kind, either in the UK or in the United States (where interfaith relations are, on the whole, much better, and where Muslims have had more success entering mainstream society). So would a willful blindness to the existence of what can, without careful and thoughtful action, become a serious problem.

If this story is any indication, writers and editors at the NYT are coming to realize that a careful and openminded approach leads to a more accurate and useful view of this issue than blind, lockstep PC denial. Good. In the end, among the greatest victims of radicals and their attempted school takeovers are the millions of Muslims seeking to be true to their faith and values and to raise intelligent, believing children able to honor their vision of God while taking their place in a pluralist society.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    If moderate Muslims saw themselves as “among the greatest victims of radicals”, we’d have far less of the radicals. Please don’t kid yourselves and us with made-up pablum like the last sentence. The Islamic “vision of God” does not include the “pluralist society” part.

  • Duperray

    Naïve dreams: Can anyone tell us whether it exists one single muslim country in which, whilst being in power, this religion accepts the existence and public pratice of other religions?
    Do they know what is ISIS?

  • PKCasimir

    Would someone please instruct the interns writing for this blog that the NY Times is not an authoritative voice and never has been; except in the eyes of fuzzy minded liberals. Had the author followed this story through the British Press he would immediately know that the NY Times’ reporting was way off the mark. There was an active plot to take over the Birmingham schools and indoctrinate its students into a militant form of Islam. Christmas couldn’t be mentioned, classes were segregated and, of most interest to Americans, the children were subjected to anti-Christian, anti-Western, and anti-American rants.
    Again I am absolutely struck just how entwined this blog is the corrupt “mainstream” liberal media mentality and its total lack of awareness that there are news sources out there that are not controlled by multi-cultural liberals totally oblivious, sometimes purposely, to the threats that Western civilization faces.

  • Enemy Leopard

    I’m confused. Is the New York Times a British newspaper? Have its offices moved to Canada or Australia? Because here in America, we don’t have “grey” ladies – though they may be “gray.”

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