PRESS RELEASE: UK – Allowing teachers to retain BNP membership greenlights racism in schools

Islamic Human Rights Commission

12 March 2010

PRESS RELEASE: UK – Allowing teachers to retain BNP membership greenlights racism in schools

IHRC is deeply disappointed by the UK Ministers’ acceptance of review recommendations that will allow school teachers to retain BNP membership.

The review was initially called by the Education Minister Ed Balls, to supposedly, ‘keep racism and BNP activity out of schools.’

Various studies including IHRC’s own, have identified both explicit racism (in the form of racist incidents perpetrated by teachers, school staff and students) and institutional racism (assumptions about culture and religion, curriculum issues, exclusion from school culture etc.) [1]  

In such a climate it is clear that racism is an issue in British schools.  To allow members of a rightwing party that advocates racist ideas to become or remain teachers in state schools, effectively mainstreams and legitimises these ideas as acceptable to students.  Further it undermines the ethos that all students should receive equal treatment and not face discrimination.

Given the preoccupation of the British government in targeting so-called Muslim extremism through programmes such as PREVENT, the acceptance of BNP teachers in state schools is yet another example of double standards.

IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh said:

“Recent prosecutions of rightwing extremists involved in planning major violent and terroristic incidents has revealed that these people have had some type of link with the BNP.[2]  It is bizarre that a party with this type of reach and influence should be allowed in schools and remain recognised as a legitimate political party.”

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44)798522196, email:

Note to Editors:

[1]  ‘Secular or Islamic? What Schools do British Muslims want for their Children?’ (2005)
surveyed students and parents.  Many students highlighted negative experiences at the hands of teachers or school policies, as well as systemic problems e.g. the non-reflection of other cultures and religions in the curriculum. 

For a soft (PDF) review copy of the report, please email
‘Secular or Islamic? What Schools do British Muslims want for their Children?’ A report by Saied R. Ameli, Aliya Azam, and Arzu Merali for the Islamic Human Rights Commission.  Publication date: 6 July 2005, ISBN 1-903718-27-9, 82 pp, £8.50

[2]  In 2007, two former members of the BNP, appeared in court after police discovered in their homes a cache of firearms, chemical explosives, rocket launchers, crossbows, a nuclear biological suit, documents outlining plans to blow up mosques and Islamic centres throughout the UK, notes regarding assassinating the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and talk of an impending civil war against immigrants in Britain. Cottage received a two and a half year sentence for his crimes. Jackson was acquitted.

In 2009, Neil Lewington was convicted after police found a bomb factory at his home.  It was found that amongst other role models, Lewington wanted to emulate former BNP member David Copeland, the Soho Nail Bomber.[ENDS]

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
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