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Dispatches Mosque teacher jailed

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A teacher secretly filmed by Channel 4's Dispatches hitting and kicking children during Qur'an lessons at a Mosque in Keighley was today (23rd November 2012) sentenced to ten weeks in prison for assault on children in his care.

At a separate Islamic school, Dispatches exposed what the Department for Education (DfE) has described as ‘a culture of intolerance'. The headmaster at Darul Uloom Islamic High School in Birmingham has since been replaced and a number of teachers have been dismissed following a crackdown on intolerant teaching by DfE.

Background to the investigation

In February 2011 Channel 4 broadcast Dispatches: Lessons in Hate and Violence an investigation into a number of private and deeply secretive Islamic faith schools where serious concerns had been raised about intolerant teachings or child protection issues.

Secret filming found children at a leading independent Islamic high school being taught a hardline, intolerant and highly anti-social version of Islam. At another school Dispatches found pupils as young as six or seven being hit and kicked.

Teacher Jailed for ten weeks for Assault on Children

A religious teacher secreted filmed by Channel 4's Dispatches repeatedly hitting and kicking children during Koran lessons at a Mosque in Keighley was sentenced to ten weeks in prison for assault on children.

Dispatches broadcast footage of teacher Sabir Hussain repeatedly hitting and kicking children as young as six or seven during Qur'an lessons at the Markazi Jamia Mosque school in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

District Judge Sue Bouch told Mr Hussain: "It can be clearly seen on the footage that the children are flinching away from you. That suggests clearly to me, Mr Hussain, that the children were fearful."

"The assaults comprised of kicking to the body and hitting whilst those children remained sitting on the floor."

"You were in a position of responsibility. This is a gross breach of trust."

"All of these factors make the offence so serious that I can only pass a term of imprisonment."

60-year-old Mr Hussain of Keighley, had previously admitted to four counts of assault of children at Bradford Magistrates' Court.

The assaults Mr Hussain admitted happened on December 7 and December 13 last year, and involved four different boys.

Mr Hussain lodged an appeal against his sentence but an application for bail was rejected.

Ann Cryer, Former MP for Keighley, who featured in the programme and had over a number of years raised concerns about child protection at the mosque says: "I'm very pleased Channel 4 felt able to make this programme - most broadcasters stay well away from this issue. This violence against children was going on under the noses of the mosque authorities, and either they didn't know about it or knew about it and did nothing. This is the biggest mosque in Keighley - if other mosques now no longer tolerate hitting children, why not this one?"

Headmaster replaced as DfE crackdown on Intolerant Teaching

The headmaster of an a leading independent Islamic high school exposed by Channel 4's Dispatches has been replaced and a number of teachers have been dismissed, after the Department for Education threatened to close to the school in an investigation into the programme's findings, according to documents released under Freedom of Information (FoI).

The DfE has ruled that the Dispatches: Lessons in Hate and Violence, which secretly filmed teaching at the Darul Uloom Islamic High School in Birmingham, found a "substantial amount of evidence" of intolerance and contempt for other cultures, religions and mainstream society.

The school, which is a full-time independent school for children as young as 11, had claimed that the programme had misrepresented its teachings.

Documents released under FoI reveal that, after viewing unbroadcast rushes recorded by the Dispatches team, the DfE has issued a notice against the school, saying the evidence provided by the programme had demonstrated that the school had "a culture of intolerance where adherents to other faiths are despised and considered inferior".

It said that the school promoted a "wholesale repudiation of mainstream society"; and that the headmaster, deputy headmaster and the religious studies teacher were among the speakers secretly recorded "denigrating or belittling members of other religions" and promoting the view that Muslims must remain separate from mainstream society.

It ruled that one speaker recorded in the programme giving a lesson to the children "appears to be advocating war against America and/or Jews, and to be repudiating democracy"; that children were taught to refer to non-Muslims using terms "used on extreme websites such as those operated by Al Qaeda"; and that the headmaster had given lessons "condemning all non-Muslims and all aspects of their behaviour", as well as promoting Islamic punishments, including the chopping of hands for stealing and stoning for adultery, with no reference to a British context, which "may not be enabling pupils to distinguish right from wrong ... and to respect British law."

The DfE said the "combined effect of these speeches is to emphasise to the pupils that they should not have any contact with people who belong to other religious groups; indeed contact should be hateful... and to discourage them from living in harmony with members of British society". It also said that a separate Ofsted inspection in the wake of the programme had found "serious regulatory failings".

In the wake of the programme, broadcast in February 2011, the school had claimed that their ethos and teachings had been misrepresented. However, the DfE said: "There was no other teaching that DfE saw that presented other religions, cultures or cultural traditions in a positive light. There was no evidence in the footage that was viewed to support the school's contention that its teachings were likely to prepare students to integrate, interact with and contribute beneficially to wider society."

The documents released under FoI show that the school has written back to the DfE with an Action Plan, promising "a significant transformation of the school structure". The school said the headmaster had been replaced by an acting head, and all teachers identified in the film as making "inappropriate comments" had been dismissed. The governing body had also been disbanded and all members of its Senior Management Team had been dismissed. It said it was taking a number of other steps to combat extremism and improve community cohesion. The DfE has accepted the Action Plan, but warned that the school may still be struck off the register for independent schools if it did not adhere to regulatory standards.

Notes To Editor

Dispatches: Lessons in Hate and Violence was first broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday 14th February 2011 at 8pm.

The programme was produced by Hardcash Production the team behind many critically acclaimed Dispatches including Secret NHS Diaries, Undercover Mosque and Train Journeys from Hell.

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