Theresa May repeatedly refuses to condemn Donald Trump’s immigration ban

Theresa May has repeatedly refused to condemn Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and entry for citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations after meeting with Turkish leaders.

She was speaking just a day after meeting the new President in Washington, where the pair pledged their commitment to the “special relationship” between Britain and the US.

After agreeing a controversial £100 million fighter jet deal amid wide-ranging purges and security crackdowns following an attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ms May held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Their talks were overshadowed by global debate over Mr Trump’s executive order to ban Syrian refugees from entering the US indefinitely, halt all other asylum admissions for 120 days and suspend travel visas for citizens of “countries of particular concern”, including Syria, Iraq and other Muslim-majority nations.

Yvette Cooper, the former shadow Home Secretary, sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging her to echo condemnation from French and German ministers over the “deeply troubling” executive order.

Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, said the Prime Minister’s refusal to condemn Mr Trump’s Muslim ban “is shocking, wrong and cannot stand”.

He added: “It flies in the face of the values of people across Britain.”

Mr Yıldırım was more direct, calling the crisis a global issue and saying that UN members “cannot turn a blind eye to this issue and settle it by constructing walls”.

“Nobody leaves their homes for nothing, they came here to save their lives and our doors were open…and we would do it again,” he added. “If there is someone in need, you need to give them a helping hand to make sure they survive.”

British diplomats, Muslim figures condemn Trump’s travel ban

Diplomats and prominent Muslims in Britain have condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision to temporarily ban all refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Their criticisms come awkwardly just two days after UK Prime Minister Theresa May officially met with Trump, the first foreign leader to do so, touting the two countries’ “special relationship.”
Trump on Friday signed an executive order banning citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described Trump’s ban as “divisive and wrong,” while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the move was “shameful and cruel.”
But Prime Minister May refused to condemn the ban. Under pressure from British MPs, she later said the government does “not agree” with the executive order.
May also ordered Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to contact their US counterparts “to protect the rights of British nationals,” the Prime Minister’s office said.
When she had hoped to reap the benefits of rushing to America to shore up support ahead of a bruising Brexit battle, she’s being slammed to the ropes by the United Kingdom’s main opposition party.

Theresa May forced to defend views on Sharia Law as she prepares to enter No 10

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/688662/Theresa-May-Sharia-Law-inquiry-Prime-Minister-leader-conservative-party-downing-street

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/sharia-courts-review-branded-a-whitewash-over-appointment-bias-concerns-a7128706.html

May sparked controversy when she spoke out in support of the Islamic courts operating in the country, telling the nation they could “benefit a great deal” from Sharia teachings.

The future Tory leader made the comments as she ordered a review into the system which are accused of ordering women to stay with abusive partners.

Mrs May, said she is worried the courts are “misused” and “exploited” to discriminate against Muslim women, but defended their place in society.

Sharia is Islam’s legal system derived from both the Koran, Islam’s central text, and fatwas – the rulings of Islamic scholars.

There are thought to be around 100 Sharia Law courts operating throughout the UK, dispensing Islamic justice outside the remit of our own legal system.

Judgements handed down by the informal courts have no legal basis, but there are fears their presence means many Muslim women are not getting access to the justice they deserve.

Now, before she takes over Number 10, May has been forced to restate her position on Sharia Law.

 

Why Britain’s universities produce so many radical Islamists

If Theresa May is in the running to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, as no less an authority than David Cameron believes, she will have to avoid missteps like the latest one over universities and free speech. Mrs. May had wanted to order universities to vet all outside speakers for extremist views; student unions would have had to tell the authorities who was coming in advance. That struck the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrats and several Conservative ministers as intolerably illiberal, and the home secretary backed down. Yet she has a point.

Islamic societies, which emerged in the 1960s, have long had links to conservative and political forms of the religion. The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, an umbrella organisation, once had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the 1980s and 1990s the Saudis lavished money on university groups, says Parveen Akhtar, a sociologist at Bradford University, imbuing many with a strong flavour of salafism, a fundamentalist strain of Islam. Islamist groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir have always had student outfits in their sights.

Britain seems to be unusual. In Germany, for example, home-grown terrorists tend to come from troubled backgrounds (they often have prior criminal convictions) and few have gone to university. But that does not necessarily mean that British universities are causing radicalisation. One possible reason lots of British Muslim zealots have gone to university is simply that lots of British Muslims go to university. The country is peculiarly successful at educating immigrants and the children of immigrants, points out Jytte Klausen, a political scientist at Brandeis University.

In any case, Mrs May’s abandoned policy would not have tackled radicalisation at its root. Those who invite radical preachers have already been convinced. And Islamist lectures are widely available online, even if their disseminators are banned from giving them in person.

‘Islamist extremists,’ phrase rejected by Obama, embraced by allies

While President Obama and his aides insist that Muslim extremists have nothing to do with Islam the religion, other world leaders are leaving that approach behind. British Home Secretary Theresa May on Monday announced a get-tough policy that includes a comprehensive strategy to combat what she called “Islamist extremists,” a phrase the Obama administration officials have repeatedly refused to use. Ms. May said the new counter-extremism measures include the power to close sites “that are owned or occupied by extremists or are used to host extremist meetings or speakers.” It was widely interpreted in Britain to mean closing Islamic centres and mosques that foment intolerance and violence.

France has enacted tougher and more intrusive counterterrorism laws in the wake of the Jan. 7 Charlie Hebdo massacre carried out by two Islamists against a satirical magazine that had lampooned Islam.

The United States is home to a relatively small, but growing, Muslim population of 5 million to 8 million people, or about 2 percent, compared to 4 percent in Britain and France’s 8 percent. But the U.S. too has witnessed the kind of incidents seen in Europe. American Muslim residents have travelled to Syria to try to join the ultraviolent Islamic State terror army. Authorities have stopped a number of home-grown terror plots. Some, such as the Fort Hood massacre and the first attack on the World Trade Centre, were carried out by self-proclaimed jihadis in this country.

Soeren Kern, an analyst at the Gatestone Institute, which tracks radical Islam, said domestic politics are at work in Britain and France just as much as security concerns. Britain has general elections set for early May.

“The flurry of counterterrorism activity in recent months is an attempt by the Conservative government to stanch the flow of votes to right-wing parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party, which has long warned of the danger posed by radical Islam, and which is now the third-most-popular political party in Britain,” Mr. Kern said.

British Islamic State fighter ‘calls for Muslims to kill Theresa May’

A British Islamic State fighter has called on Muslims in the UK to “hunt down” and “kill” Theresa May in a Lee Rigby-style terrorist attack. The militant, who is thought to have fled to Syria while on bail, said the Home Secretary must be run over, tied to the back of a car and dragged through the streets of London.

The chilling threats have been posted on Twitter by Abu Abdullah Britani – believed to be Abu Rahin Aziz, a former credit control operator from Luton.

The 32-year-old, who has links to hate preacher Anjem Choudary, had been handed a 36-week jail sentence for stabbing a football fan in London. Messages on the Britani account also call for other politicians to be targeted, adding that they will be easy to find because they will be out campaigning for the General Election. Britani has even posted some of the newly-leaked names and address of American soldiers. The tweets follow Mrs May’s plea for law-abiding Britons to expose extremists in their communities.

Analysis over British Jihadists – moving beyond the theory of ‘bad Islam’

Theresa May’s speech to Conservative conference in Birmingham has sparked a few controversies as journalists call for deeper answers to a complex issue. The Home Secretary quoted a now familiar phrase from the Koran, “let there be no compulsion in religion”, to illustrate that the violent conversion of non-believers is not permitted in Islam. And she added an injunction of her own for good measure: “Let the message go out that we know Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with the ideology of our enemies.”
The Standard states that we have to ask ourselves why young Muslims in this country are attracted to the murderous totalitarian ideology of those who behead aid workers. Ultimately there has been a breakdown of civil society, which has failed to deal with the segregation and alienation of many of our Muslim communities. This is not the job of national government. Our schools and mosques have not been strong enough to counter the ideology that fuels extremism, our local councils have failed to engage young Muslims and too few individuals, Muslim and non-Muslim, are taking the counter-arguments to the extremists.
As a first step let’s stop talking about Islam and Muslims in such infantile terms. It is patronising for British politicians to suggest they know the difference between a good and bad Muslim. Yes, Islam is, for many of its adherents, a religion of peace but like all religions it can also be used to justify violence. This is not a perversion of the religion because all faiths are open to interpretation and jihad is central to Islam. It is not difficult to see why a young British Muslim might feel driven by his religion to take up arms against the Assad regime. But we need to ask ourselves why a young British woman would choose to leave this country to live in the Islamic State. Only when we answer that question can we begin to work on preventing others from doing the same.

‘Trojan Horse schools plot’: What was the Trojan Horse letter?

July 6, 2014

 

In March, an anonymous letter was made public that claimed to be a template illustrating how state schools could be taken over and pushed into adopting a more Islamic culture. The document – now thought to be a hoax – proposed a campaign of installing governors and undermining and then replacing school leaders with staff who would be more sympathetic to their religious agenda.

It refers to “Operation Trojan Horse” as the name of the alleged conspiracy. This classical allusion refers to using a device to get past the defences and to take over the school system from within. It was apparently intended for schools serving areas with a large Muslim population. The tactics it proposed had already been used in Birmingham, the Operation Trojan Horse letter claimed. It has emerged that Birmingham City Council, the Department for Education’s Extremist Unit, the West Midlands Police Counter-Terrorism Unit and the National Association of Head Teachers were already aware of the letter.

A former head teacher at a Birmingham school said that such religiously-motivated, concerted attempts at forcing out heads had been taking place since the 1990s. Another head teacher said he had told the Department for Education (DfE) about the problem in 2010.

 

What are the claims?

There have been claims that boys and girls are being taught separately, assemblies have put forward extremist Islamist views and that a culture is created in which other religions are downgraded. Schools have rejected claims of extremism. There are also claims that teachers and head teachers have been discredited and undermined.

 

How seriously are claims of takeover plots being taken?

Michael Gove appointed former counter-terror chief, Peter Clarke, to investigate “the background behind many of the broader allegations in the Trojan Horse letter” for the DfE. Mr Gove says he expects to publish these findings in July. This appointment has created a controversy of its own, with the chief constable of West Midlands police calling it “desperately unfortunate” as people could draw “unwarranted conclusions” from Mr Clarke’s former role in counter terrorism. Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw took personal charge of the education watchdog’s investigations.

Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr, believes there are reasons to be concerned. “All the information I’m getting… is there has been a serious bid to take over most of the schools in the east and south of the city,” he said.

The National Association of Head Teachers says it takes the claims “extremely seriously”.

Tahir Alam, chair of governors at Park View School, says claims are “ridiculous”

How are the claims being investigated?

Including Ofsted’s, there are four investigations – carried out by Birmingham City Council, the DfE and the Education Funding Agency.

Ofsted said this was “new territory” – when it launched its biggest ever co-ordinated set of inspections over fears of extremism. It inspected 21 schools – a mix of primary, secondary, local authority and academies. They carried out unannounced inspections of a type which focuses on a single concern, rather than the overall quality of teaching and learning. When inspectors do not like what they find they have wide-ranging powers to intervene and order a change of direction.

The city council says that it is investigating 25 schools – prompted by more than 200 contacts from the public. An adviser has been appointed and there will be a review group of MPs, councillors, teachers’ organisations, police and faith leaders. But the politics of education have also become involved, with the council saying it is frustrated that it cannot investigate academies which operate outside of local authority control.

The government and Ofsted have produced an array of proposed changes to school governance after the publication of an inspection report on 21 Birmingham schools. Ofsted found “a culture of fear and intimidation” had taken grip in schools at the centre of the so-called Trojan Horse allegations.

The inspections followed claims in an anonymous letter that hard-line Muslims were trying to impose their views on some of the city’s schools.

Five have been placed in special measures, among them three academies from the Park View Educational Trust.

 

What are the main proposals?

Mr Gove said the government would require all schools to “promote British values” and would back Ofsted’s plan to introduce no-notice school inspections in England.

The chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, recommended:

  • Mandatory training for school governors
  • Changes to funding agreements for academies and free schools
  • An end to the exemption of free schools and academies from the national curriculum

 

What will happen to the five schools in special measures?

In his speech to the House of Commons, Mr Gove said the need for action was “urgent”.

Michael Gove Michael Gove says no pupil should be exposed to extremist views. “Academies will receive letters saying I am minded to terminate funding agreements,” he told MPs.

If this goes ahead, it would mean that Park View Education Trust, which runs Park View and two primary schools, would no longer receive funding to run the schools. The same will apply to Oldknow Academy. A DfE spokesman said this would be the first time this had happened. The DfE is awaiting a response from the trust and would have to find new sponsors for the three schools.

Mr Gove said the governors at local authority run Saltley School would be replaced. The Department for Education said Birmingham City Council had already started the process of imposing an interim executive board at Saltley. A sixth school, local authority run Alston Primary which has been in special measures since May, is already in the process of being turned into an academy “under a strong sponsor”, said the DfE.

 

How does the government define British values?

The prime minister defined British values as “freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions”. David Cameron said he hoped these values would be inculcated in any school in Britain “whether it was a private school, state school, faith-based school, free school, academy or anything else”.

The Department for Education added: “We want to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

 

How will British values be applied to all schools?

The Department for Education says the Independent School Standards, which apply to private schools, academies and free schools, already require schools to “respect” British values. It plans to consult shortly on tighter wording that will require schools to actively “promote” British values. The DfE says it is working with Ofsted on how inspectors will assess the new requirement. Ofsted will also update its training and guidance of inspectors.

School governors will be expected to play a role “in setting and securing an appropriate ethos and monitoring practice” in schools, says the DfE.

 

How might governors’ training change?

Training for governors is currently optional. It can be provided by local authorities or by the National College of Teaching and Leadership. The Department for Education and the National Governors’ Association (NGA) have both produced handbooks. The NGA says training is essential to help governors understand their complex and challenging role and responsibilities. Governors are expected to develop the ethos of the school, hold the head teacher to account and have financial oversight.

The NGA says the academies programme has brought more autonomy to schools so governing boards have more responsibility than ever and need training. “If a governor fails persistently to do this, then they will be in breach of the code of conduct and may bring the governing body or the office of a governor into disrepute – and as such provide grounds for the governing body to consider suspension,” said a spokesman.

 

How could the oversight of academies change?

Traditionally, local authorities have had a role in monitoring standards in the schools they control, acting as a “middle tier” between schools and the Department for Education. Now more than half of secondary schools are academies, funded directly by central government, free of local authority control and able to decide their own curriculum. Concerns have been expressed about the viability of Whitehall monitoring thousands of academies. The government is introducing regional schools commissioners and Head Teacher Boards to improve oversight of academies, while the Labour party proposes a network of regional school standards directors.

 

How did Home Secretary Theresa May become involved?

In a letter to the Education Secretary, Mrs May has raised concerns about the DfE’s handling of the allegations of extremism. She said concerns had been raised about the “inability” of local and central government to tackle the alleged problem in Birmingham’s schools. She also questioned whether Mr Gove’s department was warned about the allegations in 2010 and asked: “If so, why did nobody act?”

The two senior Cabinet members have now moved to dampen down speculation of a rift. They have taken the unusual step of issuing a joint statement insisting they are “working together” on the issue. Commentators are seeing the row as two Conservative heavy-weights jostling for position should there be any change to the party’s leadership.

 

How widespread is this problem?

The biggest inquiry so far is the council’s, which is looking at 25 schools in Birmingham, out of more than 400 in the city. The council says that it will also be talking to local authorities in Bradford and Manchester.

 

Sources:

The Guardian 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/06/michael-gove-defend-liberal-values-islamist-extremism

The BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-27020970

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-26482599

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27024881

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-27012861

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/trojan-horse-row-teachers-suspended-for-refusing-to-impose-strict-islamic-model-9530535.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/trojan-horse-school-when-i-go-to-college-people-are-going-to-say-is-he-carrying-a-bomb-9517826.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trojan-horse-row-theresa-may-accused-of-writing-letter-slating-department-of-eduction-just-to-leak-it-9517286.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/trojan-horse-schools-ofsted-finds-culture-of-fear-and-intimidation-9515306.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/trojan-horse-schools-tried-to-fool-inspectors-ofsted-report-reveals-9511895.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trojan-horse-row-theresa-may-breached-ministerial-code-in-feud-with-michael-gove-over-extremism-in-schools-labour-claims-9509342.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trojan-horse-row-michael-gove-ordered-to-apologise-to-cameron-for-times-briefing-9507170.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/michael-gove-promises-to-push-on-with-controversial-school-reforms-9503822.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/gross-negligence-tristram-hunt-challenges-goves-handling-of-trojan-horse-schools-crisis-9503534.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/trojan-horse-pupils-not-safe-from-extreme-views-claims-ofsted-report-9494642.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/michael-gove-denies-war-with-theresa-may-over-antiextremism-strategy-9492098.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lib-dems-in-call-for-all-state-teachers-to-be-qualified-9533271.html

The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/10963620/Trojan-Horse-hardliner-runs-teacher-recruiting-agency.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10956859/Ofsted-tougher-inspections-in-wake-of-Trojan-Horse-plot.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10949131/Trojan-Horse-plot-school-pays-campaigner-5000-in-public-money-to-thwart-Ofsted.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10949930/Trojan-Horse-Birmingham-council-ignored-warnings-for-12-years.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10892606/Trojan-Horse-debate-We-were-wrong-all-cultures-are-not-equal.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10883151/Trojan-Horse-plot-school-criticised-in-Ofsted-report.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10899804/Trojan-Horse-how-we-revealed-the-truth-behind-the-plot.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10900683/Ofsted-head-to-meet-parents-in-Trojan-Horse-plot.html

Wearing niqab should be woman’s choice, says Theresa May

The Government should not tell women what to wear, the Home Secretary has said amid ongoing debate over the use of full-face veils. Theresa May said it is for women to “make a choice” about what clothes they wear, including veils, although there will be some circumstances when it will be necessary to ask for them to be removed.

 

The ruling followed calls by Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne for a national debate on whether the state should step in to prevent young women having the veil imposed upon them.

 

Asked if parliament needs to issue formal guidance to courts and schools on whether women should be allowed to wear a veil, the Home Secretary told Sky News: “I start from the position that I don’t think Government should tell people, I don’t think the Government should tell women, what they should be wearing.

 

“I think it’s for women to make a choice about what clothes they wish to wear, if they wish to wear a veil that is for a woman to make a choice.” There will be some circumstances in which it’s right for public bodies, for example at the border, at airport security, to say there is a practical necessity for asking somebody to remove a veil. “I think it’s for public bodies like the Border Force officials, it’s for schools and colleges, and others like the judiciary, as we’ve recently seen, to make a judgment in relation to those cases as to whether it’s necessary to ask somebody to remove the veil.

 

“But in general women should be free to decide what to wear for themselves.”

Council defends decision to stock extremist books in Woolwich library

A council has defended its decision to stock extremist books at Woolwich library – yards from where Lee Rigby died (The soldier who was killed in an attack in Woolwich on 22nd May 2013) – including one by a banned cleric claiming “every Muslim should be a terrorist”. Radical preacher Dr Zakir Naik was banned from entering Britain after his presence was deemed not conducive to the public good, yet three of his works are available in the public library. Greenwich Council has defended their right to stock the texts, written in Urdu, which contain controversial statements on women, Jews and terrorism in a library 200 metres from the spot where Lee Rigby was killed in May.

 

“We are not aware of any lists of books banned by the Home Secretary,” a spokesperson said. “Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has been publicly available on the shelves of Britain’s public libraries for decades and remains available for any citizen in the UK to purchase.” The book is said to be available at libraries up and down the country.

 

In one of the texts Dr Naik states he is “proud to be a fundamentalist”, adding: “Every Muslim should be a terrorist. A terrorist is somebody who spreads terror and fear.” The statement was specifically examined by the Court of Appeal when it upheld Theresa May’s decision to ban the Islamic scholar from the UK.

 

Former Islamic extremist Dr Usama Hasan, of counter-extremist think tank Quilliam, said it was “strange” that such “niche” works should be available, warning that there was a small risk potential jihadist could use the text as “justification”. “It is difficult to see how the council justify it and defend their decision,” Dr Hasan said.