What do you do when your the Head Teacher of a new school proposed to be founded on Military principles and all of a sudden you find the school taken over by hard-line Islamic’s who intend to implement Islamic values and teachings into the school instead? That is the problem former School Master Rick Hodges is faced after finding out that there was an alleged plot by the schools Founders and Governors to do just that. The Phoenix Free School, which was to be located in Oldham, England had its Board of Governors taken over by a group of Islamic hard liners, that supposedly were intent on converting the school from one that was to be based on Military values and principles to one very similar to an Islamic Madrasa. At least that is the contention of Mr. Hodge.
Master Hodge says that he was forced out of the school he was hired to launch after a group of Islamic hardliners acquired seats on the Board of Governors. He says he was first alerted to the planned change to the schools fundamental value system just a couple of weeks prior to his departure. Originally, the school which would have served children aged 11 to 16 was unique because it planned to recruit its staff entirely from former military personnel, a plan which received widespread support in the community.
The idea was that the school would also help smooth out racial issues in the community by bringing the native residents together with the large Pakistani community that has established itself. That ethnic group rarely integrates or interacts with the white population. The problem is even more acute in area schools. In fact, many institutions have become much like the segregated schools of the old southern United States.
Master Hodge said in an interview with the Sunday Times, he overheard plans to force female teachers at the school to start wearing the veil, and said he was ousted using a “Trojan Horse playbook”. He says that a similar plan was stopped at a nearby primary school. There the plan was outed and parents were able to put a stop to it.
Hodge said in the Phoenix case, he became the victim of a concerted “campaign of harassment to browbeat me” which ended in his resignation in 2013. Despite all the effort and support in the community for the school, the Government later denied funding for it for reasons that were never disclosed, and the school failed to opened.
Hodge said he remembers overhearing a conversation between two of he governors, about making the female teachers wear the veil. Hodge said: “He [the man] went completely off about how not wearing a hijab would effectively turn all Muslim women into whores”.
The school’s founder, former British army officer Affan Burki, denied doing anything designed to chase Hodge away from the project, saying that his problem with Hodge is that he is incompetent. Mr. Affan Burki had no comment to make about the alleged Muslim takeover of the proposed school.