Books at private Islamic school promoted extremism

Ofsted rates independent school as 'inadequate' after seeing extremist texts in the library

Catherine Lough

school book

Ofsted has rated an independent Islamic boys’ school “inadequate” after inspectors found books in its library that “promote extremist views” and intolerance towards other faiths.

Inspectors rated Jamia Islamia Birmingham as “inadequate” – a lower rating than its previous inspection in 2017, when it was rated as “requires improvement”.

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The report says that inspectors found books with extremist content in the school library, with one book setting out a series of aims that included “To help the Taliban government in the accomplishment of enforcement of Shari’ah in Afghanistan” and “To struggle for the creation of Islamic states in which the Islamic canons will enforced practically [sic].”

On the front page of this book were the words “Don’t make the Jews and the Christians your friends.”

Inspectors also found books that contained “misogynistic messages” or condoned the use of the cane as a form of physical punishment.

The Ofsted report said that the books “are actively undermining fundamental British values and are not compliant with the Equality Act 2010”, and that as any pupil attending the school could access them easily, it constituted a “basic failure to protect pupils.”

School leaders said they were unaware of the texts’ existence, although they were stamped with the school’s name, the report stated.

Ofsted rated the school “inadequate” in all areas. Inspectors reported that the school’s admissions policy, which said the school was unable to cater for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), contravened the Equality Act and “amounts to direct discrimination.”

Inspectors also raised concerns over the school site, saying that the designated playground was not an “appropriate” space, as it “doubles as a car park and is strewn with rubbish.”

The exit gate to the main road from the playground was always open, allowing “unsupervised access to and from the general public.”

Pupils did not have opportunities to play outside during the day, and did not have a break from 9am until 12.15pm. During their lunchbreak, they sat on the floor in the hall with no planned activities.

In a statement to Tes, the Jamia Islamia Birmingham school office, said on the subject of extremist books, they were surprised at the existence of a pamphlet discovered by Ofsted and it was removed immediately. No student had borrowed the pamphlet in question and all extremist literature had now been removed from the library. An external specialist consultant had been enlisted to help with this.

The statement said that the books may have been part of a donation to the library 18 years ago and added that the material had not been bought.

Tes asked the school to clarify their admissions policy, which said it could not cater for pupils with SEND, according to the report.

"We are making facilities for SEND students," the statement said.


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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