The Daily Mail reports that schools opened by Islamic clerics linked to an Abu Hamza ‘terror’ school that was shut down are still running. Jameah Islameah was closed ten years ago after a police raid and dire Ofsted inspections. Set in a Victorian mansion in the East Sussex countryside, it was a suspected jihadi training camp.
Now it has emerged that other schools set up by the founders are still operating – and they are trying to reopen Jameah Islameah for pupils aged 11 and up.
The new Education Secretary Damian Hinds signalled a war on illegal schools and out-of-hours tuition centres. The Jameah Islameah former school building has been owned since 1997 by Islamic scholars Bilal Patel, Muhammad Anas and two others.
They are a band of Deobandi Muslims – the strict Islamic movement that gave birth to the Taliban in Afghanistan – and have never given up on their mission to ‘educate’ the next generation of Islamic scholars.
The school near Crowborough, East Sussex, is inviting children aged 11 and up to apply for boarding places costing £3,000 a year. The principal is Bilal Patel, a cleric who has owned the 54-acre site with three others since 1993.
Builders are beginning restoration of the 100-room mansion. Mr Patel, who has not responded to questions, has presided over attempts to restart classes at least twice since 2007. Last year, his son began advertising a fee-paying sixth form centre at the site. Yesterday a spokesman for Jameah Islameah denied the school was reopening, and said the website advertising places ‘must be a mistake’.
Mr Patel and Mr Anas have been allowed to establish schools elsewhere. A legal loophole means part-time schools are not required to be registered with the Department for Education nor inspected by Ofsted, making it impossible to monitor its curriculum. At Al-Ashraaf, a secondary boys’ school in East London, the chairman Mufti Shah Sadruddin was filmed in 2013 saying all people who insult Islam should be put to death.
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