Columnists > ‘England is not France, and the British constitution is not secular’

08 May 2014 | by Christopher Howse

‘England is not France, and the British constitution is not secular’

Alleged attempts to make state schools conform to Salafist Muslim dictates have been reported in several papers in the past two months, and nowhere so courageously as by Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph (Daily, Sunday and online – the group having merged its various platforms). The tale involves a whole series of pitfalls: race, religion, political ideology and fears of terrorism.Gilligan has made the story his own. The Daily Mail reported developments prominently, particularly in March, but he has returned to it week after week. Normally I am shy of drawing attention to achievements of the news group that employs me, but the cumulative effect here is striking.In Birmingham, 25 schools are being investigated by Ofsted and now by Peter Clarke, a former top anti-terrorist officer of t


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