UK Prime Minister authorizes "dawn raids" on schools suspected of Islamic extremism
British Prime Minister David Cameron has authorized unannounced inspections of schools over what he calls the infiltration of Islamic extremists in some schools in the Midlands.
Cameron’s authorization of the "dawn raids" came in the wake of allegations that six schools in the Midlands city of Birmingham, England's second largest city after London, are ‘promoting extremism.’ In addition, Cameron announced that he was setting up a meeting of the government’s extremism task force to discuss the situation in Birmingham.
The prime minister’s moves follow recent inspection reports by Britain’s school watchdog, Ofsted, that the six Birmingham schools are allegedly spreading Islamic extremism. According to Ofsted, after one of the schools received a prior inspection notice, it hastily arranged special lessons for its students on Christianity.
In response to the inspection reports, local education officials reacted angrily to Ofsted’s allegations, saying no school in the area tolerates or promotes extremism.
The accusations that Midlands’ schools are spreading extremism began in March, after an anonymous, unverified letter known as Operation Trojan Horse was made public. The unsigned and undated letter claimed a small group of Muslims were pursuing their own agenda in the classroom.
British authorities have since launched a probe into the alleged plot and appointed Peter Clarke, a former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, to head the investigation.The appointment of Clarke has faced criticism, with critics saying the move has resulted in rising fears over a possible government crackdown on Muslim communities in the UK.
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