An alleged plot to oust the head teacher of a British elementary-level school in order to implement a hardline Islamic vision of teaching has come to light.
Parents and local politicians reportedly undertook a campaign of harassment against the headteacher of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham, near Manchester.
According to a leaked government investigation, their aim was to remove head teacher Trish O’Donnell to make way for major changes to the school.
The confidential report by Oldham Council was handed to the Sunday Times, which revealed the years-long campaign at the school.
At its height, the plot involved death threats against O’Donnell, who was told that her opponents would try to blow up her car. At one point she was assaulted by a parent.
There was also reportedly a constant stream of low-level incidents, including petitions against O’Donnell and accusations that she dressed in an “unsuitable” way.
Among her most prominent opponents are parent governor Nasim Ashraf and his wife, Hafizan Zaman.
The two reportedly lobbied local mosques to agitate against O’Donnell, while trying to implement more Islamic teaching in the school.
Ashraf reportedly hosted an “Islamic teaching session” on his own initiative, while Zaman is said to have told female teachers that they had to start wearing the veil.
A portion of the report said: “The view of local authority officers who were involved at the time is that Mr Ashraf and Ms Zaman were seeking to secure changes at the school to reflect their interpretation of Islam and were behaving in a way which harassed and sought to intimidate school staff and to undermine the head teacher.”
The plan is similar to co-ordinated attempts in the English city of Birmingham to replace school officials with others more receptive to teaching Islamic values.
The so-called Trojan Horse plot prompted a major investigation from the government involving counter-extremism officials.
However, authorities in Oldham concluded that events at Clarksfield Primary School were not part of a wider, coordinated plan.