Wayne Francis, Daily Mail (UK), September 30, 2006
A hardline Muslim teacher who caused a furore by denouncing pupils for celebrating Christmas has been made a Government schools inspector.
Israr Khan’s Ofsted appointment was described by a former colleague as ‘absolutely astonishing’.
Mr Khan, now headmaster of an Islamic school, launched into his tirade during a concert rehearsal at Washwood Heath Secondary School in Birmingham in 1996 after the choir including around 40 Muslim youngsters, had sung a number of popular Christmas songs, including carols.
He leapt from his seat, yelling: “Who is your God? Why are you saying Jesus and Jesus Christ? God is not your God — it is Allah.”
As children in the audience began booing and clapping, a number of choir members — both white and Asian — walked out, some in tears.
Mr Khan, a maths teacher, was asked to work from home pending an investigation but there was no disciplinary action.
It has been claimed that Washwood Heath school was then a ‘hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism’. Rashid Rauf — the airline terror bomb suspect whose extradition is currently being sought from Pakistan — was a pupil there at that time.
Mr Khan left Washwood Heath a year later to found the independent Islamic Hamd House Preparatory School in Small Heath, Birmingham, where he is headmaster.
Earlier this year, he was appointed as a governor of Anderton Park Primary School, in Sparkbrook, Birmingham.
A former Washwood Heath colleague laughed openly when told of Mr Khan’s role as an Ofsted inspector where he has the responsibility for passing or failing schools.
He said: “Given the man’s history, it’s absolutely astonishing. It’s just the cheek of the man that he’s been able to reach that position. He always was an extremely clever man.
“He gave me many insights into the Islamic cause and their hatred of the US and the Western World. He had a big support base among some of the Muslim parents.
“But there were some very influential, radical elements at Washwood Heath at that time and Israr Khan was very close to all that.”
Earlier this year, Anderton Park, where 99.5 per cent of the pupils are Asian, received a dismal Ofsted report which branded its teaching and its achievements as inadequate.
One Muslim father, who asked to be known only as Mohammed, said: “As a governor, Mr Khan will be able to exert a great deal of influence over the school and its policies.
“By his previous actions, he seems to represent what I would call a hardcore attitude to Islam.”
Mr Khan declined to comment about his appointment, waving questions away at his large home in Moseley, Birmingham.
An Ofsted spokesman said: “Israr Khan was appointed as an additional inspector via a highly competitive recruitment and selection process. He has undergone all the relevant security checks.”
Children from Christian families may be turned away from popular Church of England schools to make way for non-believers and those of other faiths under a new quota system.
At least a quarter of places at all new Church of England schools will be set aside for other pupils, according to guidelines outlined by the Church yesterday. The reform of school admissions will also affect Roman Catholic schools which will in future need to prove that their intakes reflect the social nature of the areas from which they recruit.
The changes have been prompted by the Government’s admission code going through Parliament.
It imposes a ban on the interviewing of pupils and requires faith schools to be more open about the criteria they use to measure religious commitment.
Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, praised the new arrangement, announced in a joint statement from the two churches, as a step forward for cohesion.
“A good education is one of the best ways of building understanding of the many issues that unite us as opposed to the views that divide,” he said. “We want to preserve the special contribution faith schools make to raising educational standards and offering choice.
“Church of England schools have an excellent record of providing high quality education and serving disadvantaged communities and Catholic schools are among the most ethnically and socially diverse in the country.”
About a third of all mainstream state schools have a religious character. Most of these are from the major Christian denominations, with 4,600 Church of England and 2,000 Catholic schools. The change will not apply to existing schools.
The agreement follows a speech earlier this year by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which he said there was need for a “clear public commitment” to integrate children of all faiths and guarantee places for local children. He said that in some areas, Muslim children were as likely as others to be educated in church schools because such institutions were trusted by minority religious communities.
The Government is encouraging faith groups to get more involved in state schools by sponsoring semi-independent academies and the new generation of trust schools. The Church has said some 200 new Anglican secondary school may be opened under the plans.