“Islamism in Birmingham schools: how the BBC is selectively reporting the 'Trojan horse' plot” told Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan earlier this week, holding to his view that all those Scary Muslims were doing something extreme to a number of schools in Birmingham. And he was more than ready to accuse everyone else of lying – now there’s a familiar tactic – to keep readers onside.
He goes on “It’s true that one of the council officials at the meeting claimed they'd seen “no evidence” of extremism in the schools, a line seized on by the Beeb. That claim, however, is clearly false, the latest of many attempts by Birmingham City Council to ignore or downplay the problems and its own role in creating them”. Besides, Gilligan had the inside track.
“I too was leaked the recording of Wednesday’s meeting between the heads and the council and I can only say that the BBC’s account of it, at least in the online piece I've linked to, was selective. As you can see from my own report, the council did concede at the meeting that there were ‘very significant’ issues in the schools and that it expected the official reports to have ‘serious implications for us all’”.
However, and there is a significantly-sized however here, Park View Educational Trust, which runs Park View and Golden Hillock secondary schools as well as Nansen primary, has decided to counter the Gilligan smears, such as the suggestion that Park View is a faith school: “Park View is a community school and does not have religious designation. It is not run as a faith school”.
The assertion that former Park View head Lindsey Clark was somehow reduced to a figurehead is dismissed, as is the suggestion that a staff member praised Anwar al-Awlaki. The collective act of worship – which for many schools is Christian in character – is conceded to be Islamic, but – guess what – there is nothing illegal or underhand about this, as readers of Gilligan’s attacks may have concluded.
“The school applied for a part-determination which exempts it from the statutory requirement for a Christian act of worship and allows it to provide an act of worship that is Islamic in character in accordance with the faith background of the children. Ninety-nine per cent of students at Park View are from a Muslim background”. Thus far, Gilligan has not commented on the document.
But what he has said is “the Beeb's record on the story has been mixed. It has done some real reporting on it – that is, making the effort, like us, to gather actual evidence of its own. But on other occasions it’s been too ready to take at face value the obviously self-serving denials of obviously interested parties”. Like Gilligan takes at face value his assumption of Scary Muslims.
Gilligan and Park View cannot both be right. So which one is telling the whopper?