Berkshire

Slough Islamic school to sue over 'xenophobic smears'

Man with Koran
Image caption IslamHood UK denies having ties to controversial speakers

An Islamic weekend school is planning to sue over allegations it has ties to speakers with sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views, which led to its eviction from an academy.

Langley Academy in Slough has stopped renting out premises to IslamHood UK following what it said were "deeply concerning" claims about safeguarding.

IslamHood was accused of having ties to extremist speakers by a local resident.

It responded saying it has been "defamed" by the "xenophobic" claims.

In a statement, IslamHood said: "It is unfortunate that the school has acted in a way where Muslim organisations are guilty until proven innocent based on lies and smears from openly—and proudly—Islamophobic organisations.

"IslamHood has been defamed and we are currently seeking legal action as a result of these allegations."

The academy said it values "inclusivity" and is committed to the UK government's flagship counter-terrorism programme, Prevent.

In a statement, the academy's executive principal, Rhodri Bryant, said: "We take any allegations that extremist views or ideology might be being promoted on our premises extremely seriously.

"We have carried out an in-depth investigation and the lettings agreement with IslamHood has been terminated with immediate effect.

"We are also undertaking a thorough review of our lettings policy and agreement with our external lettings provider to ensure its robustness."

It added it was "deeply concerned" when a complaint was first made against the Islamic institution in December and immediately consulted the estate agency responsible for letting its spaces.

Naheem Bashir, in charge of the Prevent strategy in Slough, told the BBC it is right the school was the one to take action in this circumstance.

"I think the authority is basically down to the institution rather than Prevent or the local authority," Mr Bashir said.

One of Slough's Muslim Community leaders, Zafar Ali, said there is a "high level of understanding" in the town that the issue of radicalisation must be addressed.

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