Event Report: ‘Countering Extremism in British Schools? The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair’ with John Holmwood

Professor John Holmwood joined us to discuss his book on the huge injustices of the ‘Trojan Horse’ affair and its aftermath on 19 April 2018.

Holmwood and his co-author Therese O’Toole describes the Trojan Horse Affair as an injustice of the magnitude of Hillsborough, requiring urgent redress.

Watch the video below and read more about the event, the Trojan Horse / Hoax Affair and the book beneath.  Buy the book – a must read – from the IHRC Bookshop.

John Holwood (r) in conversation with Arzu Merali (l)

Read more on the Trojan Horse affair here.

Professor Holmwood discussed and took questions regarding the whole affair but particularly some of the post-event details that were little covered in the press. The hysterical narrative reproduced by media and political circles alike promoted an idea of Muslim deviance in the actions of the governors, parents and teachers accused in the matter. Not only were all acting in a manner both legal and commensurate with the actions of the other parents, governors and teachers from different and no faith backgrounds, all the enquiries set up to investigate the matter exonerated all those involved. Nevertheless teachers were suspended and lost their jobs, parents and others banned from being governors and the school in questions had their entire leadership changed.

Tribunals for teachers suspended or sacked found that there had been gross miscarriages of justice yet this has slipped public attention. This compounds the injustice of the situation. Despite those targeted being the victims of a witchhunt in its most basic sense, they were still perceived to be in the wrong.

The affair was and continues to be used to justify a counter-extremism agenda that targets Muslims but impacts many forms of political dissent.

About the book
In 2014 an investigation into an alleged plot to ‘Islamify’ several state schools in Birmingham began. Known as the ‘Trojan Horse’ affair, this caused a previously highly successful school to be vilified. Holmwood, an expert witness in the professional misconduct cases brought against the teachers, and O’Toole, who researches the government’s counter-extremism agenda, challenge the accepted narrative and draw on the potential parallel with the Hillsborough disaster to suggest a similar false narrative has taken hold of public debate. This important book highlights the major injustice inflicted on the teachers and shows how this affair was used to criticise multiculturalism, and justify the expansion of a broad and intrusive counter extremism agenda.
About the author
John Holmwood is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham. From 2012 to 2014, he was President of the British Sociological Association and in 2014/15, he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA. He acted as an Expert Witness to the Court in one of the National College for Teaching and Leadership hearings against teachers arising from the Trojan Horse affair.