Inquiry widens into Islamist school takeover plot in UK

A government investigation into an alleged plot by Islamist extremists to take control of the curriculum of schools in Birmingham, Britain`s second largest city, has been expanded to include financial mismanagement.

London: A government investigation into an alleged plot by Islamist extremists to take control of the curriculum of schools in Birmingham, Britain`s second largest city, has been expanded to include financial mismanagement.

The investigation by the UK`s Department for Education (DfE) had tasked Peter Clarke, a former head of counter-terrorism at Scotland Yard who was chosen to lead the inquiry, who is now reportedly looking at links between education service providers and the Birmingham City Council.

The Sunday Times claims a Whitehall official has revealed that Clarke was also examining?allegations of nepotism and conflicts of interest.

Tahir Alam, the chairman of governors at Park View School, which is at the centre of the so-called "Operation Trojan Horse" controversy, is believed to be among those being scrutinised.

Alam has denied any wrongdoing and believes the investigation is politically motivated.

A source close to Birmingham city council, which is conducting its own investigation into "Trojan Horse", a document purporting to be a blueprint for how Muslims could wrest control of schools, said Clarke was investigating whether "one of the reasons for the alleged takeover by governors was financial rather than religious".

Birmingham has a large Muslim population - nearly 22 per cent, according to the 2011 census.

The developments come as Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, demanded details about more than 500,000 pounds raised by the Park View Educational Trust, which is headed by Alam, and which appears on its accounts.

Mahmood said, "The money was raised by the Park View trust but they are not giving details of where the donations came from, when the fundraisers were held and who they were held by".

The trust, which declined to comment, runs three of the 21 schools being investigated by Ofsted, the UK education watchdog, after claims that strict Islamic practices were being imposed in schools.

The publication of the Ofsted inspection reports is expected next month.
It is understood at least six schools will be placed in special measures that could lead to the removal of their governors.

Clarke is expected to publish his findings in late July.

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