Trojan Horse teachers claimed Lee Rigby murder was 'hoax'

Private messages on WhatsApp group offer 'disturbing insight' into the attitudes at Park View

Birmingham mosque
(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Teachers from schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse plot claimed the murder of Lee Rigby was a "hoax" and that homosexuality should be "eradicated".

A review into the alleged Islamist takeover plot in Birmingham has found "clear evidence" of people in schools and governing bodies who "espouse, endorse or fail to challenge extremist views".

The report also published transcripts from a WhatsApp discussion group called the Park View Brotherhood. Monzoor Hussain, the acting headteacher at Park View School, said he set up the group as a way to get ideas for "moral stories" to tell in school assemblies.

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Anti-Israeli images and links to extremist speakers were among more than 3,000 messages posted by 55 teachers, all believed to be male, on the instant messaging service.

Peter Clarke, the former terrorism chief who conducted the review, says the majority of the messages are "innocuous and often mundane" but that some give a "clear and disturbing insight into the attitudes and mind-set of a group of teachers within the Park View Educational Trust".

Hussain claims he closed the site down about a year ago, but the report found that he had only changed the name of the group last December and then finally shut it down in March, days after the Trojan Horse plot allegations emerged.

According to the Daily Telegraph, at least two of the teachers who were part of the discussion group are still in their positions. One of the biggest contributors is believed to be Razwan Faraz, the deputy headteacher at Nansen Primary School, who posted more than 400 messages. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced that the teachers will be referred to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Here are some of the WhatsApp messages highlighted in the report:

Lee Rigby murder a 'hoax'

In May 2013, members of the group circulated links to YouTube videos suggesting that the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby was a "hoax". In the days after the attack, one teacher posted a link to a YouTube clip, adding: "ATTACK ON ISLAM! Plz watch and share ASAP before they remove it!!!!! London butcher incident; It's is a hoax And this is the link to reveal it." Another urged members to watch a video called "Woolwich false flag bulls**t. Masses are in a trance".

Boston bombing 'staged'

Similarly, some members of the group appear convinced that the Boston bombing, which killed three people and injured 254, was staged. They shared links as "proof" that Navy Seals were behind the attack. Clarke notes that the contributions in terms of links to both news items and images were "overwhelmingly anti-Western, Anti-American and anti-Israeli".

Links to extremist speakers

According to the review, speakers mentioned in the discussion group included Shaykh Yusuf Estes, who has reportedly advocated violence towards women and the murder of homosexuals, and Shaykh Shady al-Suleiman, a preacher who has reportedly called on God to "destroy the enemies of Islam". The review says the balance of speakers and events promoted in the WhatsApp discussion "weigh heavily towards the hard-line Salafi, Deobandi and occasionally Islamist spectrum".

'Eradicate' homosexuality

In May 2013, Faraz posted a link to a Guardian article about gay marriage and wrote: "As teachers we must be aware and counter their satanic ways of influencing young people." Months later, during a discussion about homosexuality, Faraz wrote: "May Allah further expose this and give us the strength to deal and eradicate it." Another teacher described the practice of homosexuality as a "filthy cime [sic]" and "certainly the signs of the end of times". They added: "This agenda is also being promoted by our government in the UK, therefore, it's imperative that we as educators don't shy away from this - but address our youth in a tactful manner inshaAllah."

No challenge to anti-Israeli images

On two occasions, images described as "anti-Israeli" were posted on the group, portraying lavatory rolls imprinted with the Israeli flag, reports Clarke. He says Hussain would challenge contributors who posted comments that he did not feel would sit comfortably with "other Muslim groups", but notes that no such challenge was mounted to the anti-Israeli images.

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