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Spies to root out Muslim extremism from British schools

Tuesday September 06, 2011 11:19:06 AM, IANS

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London: The British government has recruited former MI5 spies in schools as a measure to root out Islamic extremism and extremists.

Ministers in Britain are understood to be so worried about the influence of Muslim preachers of hate and other extremists in the classrooms that a new unit has been set up. They have recruited former members of the secret service with expertise in the Islamist terrorist threat to investigate, Daily Express reported.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is concerned that comprehensive schools and the government's new generation of "free schools" may be targeted by extremists.

"We have been working with people who have been in the Intelligence Services in order to ensure that there is no-one from the wrong sort of background involved in education," said Gove.

"And, I should add, not just with the free schools," Gove told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

Whitehall sources confirmed that a "due diligence unit" with former MI5 staff had been set up within the Department for Education to probe for extremists in schools.

Gove insisted that he was determined not to allow anyone wishing to establish a "free school" which are designed to be formed by local communities and funded by the government.

All applicants desiring to set up the new educational establishments, which are free from local council control and can be run by parents or voluntary groups, would be vetted by the new investigation unit.

Gove said: "I've been crystal clear we should not have schools set up by extremists whether they're Christian fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists or any other sort of outrageous and beyond-the-pale organisation."

"We've set up a unit within the Department explicitly to monitor anyone who comes forward with a proposal for extremism."

"In the last government, we had money going to extremist groups that was supposed to go to fight terrorism. Now we have a unit in place to prevent that," the minister stated.




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