Schools

Cleric who said Western women ‘worse than beasts’ banned from running schools

Education secretary bans former private school proprietor who promoted 'inappropriate' views about women and gay people

Education secretary bans former private school proprietor who promoted 'inappropriate' views about women and gay people

A cleric who promoted “offensive” and “inappropriate” views about women and gay people has been banned from running schools.

The DfE announced today that Waheed Alam, also known as Abu Khadeejah, had been handed a prohibition notice. It prevents him from being involved in the running of any private school or from being a governor of a state school.

Alam was chair of directors of Redstone Educational Services Ltd, which owns and runs Redstone Educational Academy, a private school in Birmingham. Alam was previously chair of the governing body.

In its banning notice, the DfE said education secretary Nadhim Zahawi had found that Alam had engaged in conduct that was “aimed at undermining the fundamental British value of individual liberty”.

His conduct was “so inappropriate that, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, it makes Mr Alam unsuitable to take part in the management of an independent school”.

The DfE said Alam was “also known by the name of Abu Khadeejah”, who had “produced a number of online sermons and articles between 2015 and 2019 which fail to show tolerance of, and respect for, the rights of others, and/or undermining fundamental British values”.

The material “expresses views that can be seen to be aimed at undermining the individual liberty of women by seeking to restrict the activities of women, or certain activities that involve women,” the DfE said.

‘Offensive and inappropriate’ views

The department also said Abu Khadeejah had “published sermons and articles on homosexuality using emotive language to denigrate and demonise gay men in particular”.

The letter described his views as “offensive, inappropriate, and contrary to the equality act 2010, the independent schools standards and DfE statutory guidance”.

“It is therefore, the view of the secretary of state that Mr Alam would be unable to comply with his safeguarding responsibilities, and relevant legislation and guidance if he were to hold a school leadership role.”

Ofsted rated Redstone Educational Academy ‘inadequate’ in 2019 and found it was not meeting the independent school standards. Inspectors said pupils were not safe, boys and girls were illegally segregated by sex and that boys were “treated favourably and have more privileges”.

The report found that the school knew its segregation of pupils was illegal, and had applied to open a separate girls’ school.

However, a pre-registration inspection report for the girls’ school, also published in 2019, found it was “unlikely to meet all the independent school standards when it opens”.

That report found that the school’s proprietor “publicly promotes his beliefs through online articles and sermons”, which “clearly evidence that he holds views that are contrary to fundamental British values and which undermine the legal obligations of the equality act 2010”.

“For example, in March 2019 he sermonised that women should not leave the home without the permission of their husband or father, and that the ways of Western women are worse ‘even than the beasts’.”

Leaders didn’t protect pupils from proprietor’s views

The report also found that leaders did not have safeguards in place to “protect pupils from the known views of the proprietor”.

“The views held by the proprietor are well known, published widely and pupils are more able to access them as the proprietor is known to them.

“School leaders have not put safeguards in place to protect pupils from these partisan views, for example by explicitly countering them with opposing viewpoints. Therefore, leaders have not prioritised pupils’ welfare.”

The report also found that the proprietor “publicly extols views that should not be promoted by the owner of an independent school in England, for example equating homosexuality with paedophilia and referring to both as ‘unnatural temptations’”.

Inspectors found the owner “does not deny holding these views”, but believes they are “private” and separate from his role at the school.

But Ofsted said the “responsibility for meeting the independent school standards rests on the proprietor and not on those with operational oversight of the school”.

Companies House data shows Alam resigned as a director of Redstone Educational Services Limited, and as a controlling member in July 2019.

A subsequent follow-up pre-registration inspection of the girls’ school in 2021 found it was “likely to meet all the independent school standards when it opens”. A monitoring inspection of the boys’ school last year found it met all of the independent school standards that were checked.

Attempts were made to reach Alam for comment. The school was also approached for comment.



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One comment

  1. Mr Hansen Benjamin

    The article cites Mr Alam without context. The statements although problematic on the surface have context and have been presumed of and even implied, these (out of context) views are actively promoted within his schools, which would need to be established in a court of law before passing judgement. It is also ironic to learn two opposing values cannot be held in “modern” Britain where we take “pride” (pun intended) in our tolerance and acceptance of one another without resorting to censorship.