Najma Begum is managing director of Transform Training and Recruitment which has advertised 58 jobs in Birmingham over the last six months, including in schools worst affected by the Trojan Horse plot
A hardliner linked to Birmingham’s “Trojan Horse” plot who has called Father Christmas “Satan” runs a job agency recruiting dozens of teachers to the city’s schools.
Najma Begum is managing director of Transform Training and Recruitment (TTARC), which has advertised 58 jobs in Birmingham schools on its website or Facebook page over the last six months, including in schools worst affected by the plot.
However she is also a member of “Educational Activists,” a closed group on the instant messaging site Whatsapp, which includes nearly all of the key individuals in the plot and which works, in the words of its leader, to “Islamise” Birmingham schools.
In her messages on the group, leaked to The Telegraph, Ms Begum, the managing director of TTARC, expressed extremist anti-Christian and anti-Semitic views.
In a message just before Christmas last year, on Dec 15, she described Father Christmas as “Satan” and attacked her fellow Muslims for celebrating the “pagan” festival “without knowing what is the truth behind this”.
Saying that “the Jews and Christians will never be pleased with you [Muslims] until you follow their religion”, she said: “You will follow them, Christians and Jews, span by span, inch by inch, even if they were to enter a lizard’s hole… [You] will be Muslim in the morning and kafir at night, or Muslim at night and kafir by the morning.” Kafir is an insulting term for non-Muslims.
Attempts to prevent children celebrating Christmas have been a key feature at some schools in the plot. At Oldknow, a secular primary placed into special measures by Ofsted last month, Christmas activities were cancelled and the Arabic teacher, Asif Khan, led children in anti-Christian chanting. Oldknow’s chairman of governors, Achmad da Costa, is a member of the Educational Activists group. At Ladypool, staff resisted attempts by the new headteacher, Huda Aslam, to stop Christmas events. Ms Aslam is also a member of the group.
Other key figures in the plot who are members of Educational Activists include Mozz Hussain, headteacher at Park View, another of the schools placed in special measures, Razwan Faraz, deputy head at Nansen, also placed in special measures, and Shahid Akmal, chair of governors at Nansen. In the leaked messages Mr Faraz, the group administrator, described pursuing “the Islamising agenda” by stealth in Birmingham schools.
Ms Begum says in her messages that members of the Educational Activists group can “network” with “Muslim governorors and school leaders” to achieve its objectives. Her colleague at TTARC, Asma Rabbani, is also a member of the group.
Damning official reports last month found that an “organised campaign” had targeted schools in Birmingham to impose a “narrow, faith-based ideology”, with the same people “highly influential across several of the schools”.
A “culture of fear and intimidation” had developed in several of the schools, with “headteachers, including those with a proud record of raising standards… marginalised or forced out of their jobs”. There had been a “breakdown in trust” between staff and governors, who had “sought to make changes to the curriculum on the basis of their own personal beliefs”, with girls and boys “not treated equally”, music in one school removed from the curriculum against pupils’ wishes, and the children’s experiences “restricted”, making them “vulnerable to segregation and emotional dislocation from wider society.”
The schools have been fighting hard to influence an official report on the affair due to be published this month by Birmingham City Council.
The council has consistently claimed that it has seen “no evidence” of extremism in any of the schools. However, the inquiry has failed to approach many of the key sources and others have refused to talk to it.
“We just don’t trust the council. We tried many times to get them interested in this before it blew up in the media,” said one school leader at the heart of the affair. “They basically ignored us and it looks as if they are getting ready to do another whitewash now.”
A parallel inquiry led by a Government-appointed commissioner, Peter Clarke, is also due to report this month and is receiving more co-operation from witnesses than the council inquiry. One Whitehall source said that Mr Clarke was finding “some fairly serious stuff.”
Ms Begum declined to comment.