A struggling girl was denied extra classes at her school in Birmingham, England because she did not wear a hijab, a senior government worker has alleged.
Anthony Dunne made the claim while giving evidence against five teachers who worked for the Park View Educational Trust which ran three schools that were allegedly subject to an Islamist takeover.
Mr Dunne visited two of the trust’s schools – Park View Academy and Golden Hillock – as part of a government investigation into the so-called Trojan Horse plot, where Islamic fundamentalists allegedly tried to take over school governing bodies, hire teachers who conformed to their views and impose a hard line syllabus on students.
He said that while observing a mathematics lesson he asked one girl struggling with the subject if she was attending extra classes to help her get a good grade. “She looked hesitant and then nodded as though she did not want to upset me,” he said.
The Birmingham Mail says Mr Dunne claims the girl later approached him and said she was “not allowed” to attend the extra classes.
“It was my impression that she was not allowed to attend the lessons because she was female,” he said, adding: “As she was one of very few girls not wearing a hijab I suspected that she was either non-Muslim or not a strictly observant Muslim and this may also have influenced the matter.”
When he quizzed head teacher Monzoor Hussain about the girl he “appeared surprised”.
“It was my general impression from the meeting that Mr Hussain had a similar attitude in responding to any issue we raised with him,” Mr Drunne said.
“He always expressed surprise that the matter could be happening and assured us it was an oversight and he would deal with it. I was not convinced that Mr Hussain was being entirely truthful with us.”
He also said there was a “totalitarian feel” to the school and expressed his shock that there were no instruments in the music department and no artwork featuring the human form.
He added that a teacher who was an “observant Muslim” privately expressed concerns that the school was hiring “too many Asian men”.
The hearing has been adjourned until 30 November. The teachers deny the allegations.