London — First there was an anonymous letter outlining an Islamic takeover of British schools in Muslim neighborhoods ominously called Operation Trojan Horse. Then the letter was found to be riddled with inaccuracies and widely deemed to be a hoax.
Now a report by a former antiterrorism chief suggests that some of the concerns raised by the letter — fake or not — may in fact be real, the latest twist in a tortured debate about how to reconcile Islam and Britishness in a country that has one of Western Europe’s largest Muslim communities.
According to the report by Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command, there was “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.”
Mr. Clarke said there was no evidence of actual radicalization, violence or encouragement of terrorism. But he told the BBC that “there’s clearly been a wish to introduce what has been described as a conservative religious agenda into those schools.”