An Islamic school in Britain has filed a lawsuit against the government education agency Ofsted saying that it was inadequately rated by the watchdog over a 26-year-old leaflet. The school was expected to receive a good rating until inspectors found a 1994 leaflet that spoke about Muslim supremacy in the world.
According to Ofsted officials, the leaflet read: “Today we find that the sons and daughters of Islam are under continuous attack by the forces of non-Islam”. It also spoke of the Khalifah, “the total rulership of Muslims over the world”.
Ofsted said that Birchfield Independent Girls School provided good education to its pupils, but that the educational institution safeguarding it was ineffective and thus the school was given an inadequate rating. The inspectors stressed that they were confident that the views described in the leaflet do not reflect those of the pupils, but the presence of the leaflet in the library is a sign that school authorities are not protecting the students.
Ofsted’s report said: "Leaders have not made sure that pupils are protected from inflammatory and unsuitable literature. Therefore, pupils are not safe from potential radicalization. The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective".
In response, the school mounted a legal challenge against the government watchdog, saying it had become the victim of “draconian and inconsistent inspection practices” against faith-based schools.
"The leaflet identified has no place in our teachings, curriculum or ethos. We work hard to promote fundamental British values and the rule of law at our school. It is simply unacceptable for Ofsted to undermine all of the hard work put in by staff and pupils when coming to wholly inaccurate judgments of schools", the school said in a statement.
Ofsted said that school officials couldn’t explain how the leaflet got into the library or why it was openly displayed on a shelf, or why no one had removed it. Rehana Mora, the head teacher of the Birchfield Independent Girls School, said she was very disappointed with the agency’s decision, which she said was based on a negative attitude towards religious schools. "Our pupils are safe, well cared for and our school has robust systems in place to safeguard our pupils", she said.