The U.K. government has taken Islamophobia and racism to another level by introducing a new “army cadet unit” for state schools starting with Rockwood Academy in Birmingham, a school with a majority of students of color and Muslims.
The cadet unit in Rockwood Academy is the first of 150 units to be established across public schools in the U.K. to give young cadets “the skills and confidence they need to thrive,” Michael Fallon, the British defense minister, told reporters as he launched the program and spoke with the children.
The school, formerly Park View school, was caught at the center of a case known as the “Trojan horse” which involves an anonymous letter to authorities naming its chair of governors as part of an alleged plot by hardline “Islamists” to control the ethos of schools in the area which had a majority Muslim students.
The claims turned out to be unfounded but nevertheless education inspectors acted solely on the allegations and downgraded Park View from outstanding to inadequate, saying it was failing to safeguard pupils from extremist influence, according to the Guardian.
Such units were not meant for recruitment but for teaching the students British and martial values while also advancing their skills and discipline, just like in the “posh schools,” Fallon told BBC. The children will be using live ammunition as part of training within a year.
The school, he added, was “a phoenix from the ashes of a Trojan horse school that is now instilling British values, instead of promoting religious segregation.”
Rockwood Academy was upgraded to a rating of “good” during its latest inspection and praised for how “fundamental British values are promoted highly effectively.”
There are currently about 300 school cadet units across the U.K., but less than 100 in the public sector. Fallon also said that he wanted to increase minority representation in the army from the current 7 percent to 10 percent by 2020.
The news comes a few months after the majority in the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in what is known as the Brexit referendum after conservative politicians ran an anti-immigration and anti-refugee campaign that has since worsened xenophobia and Islamophobia in the country.
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