Talk:Operation Trojan Horse

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Change Title??[edit]

Who called this "Operation Trojan Horse"? I think "Trojan Horse letter" miht be a better title, and would avoid confusion with the film.

It is written as though there was a "real" operation with this name, which needs to be substantiated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aa42shirley (talkcontribs) 14:24, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

If you Google '"Trojan Horse" Birmingham', there are few hits referring to "Operation Trojan Horse" except those stemming from this Wikipedia article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aa42shirley (talkcontribs) 14:29, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

To answer your point, although the letter remains from an anonymous source, coverage of the Ofsted inspections and the general hullaballoo has used the WP:COMMONNAME which is this article's title. See also Etymological fallacy - for example, we are not renaming seahorse for it not being equine.

BBC Channel 4 Guardian

Hardly small sources which copy straight from Wikipedia '''tAD''' (talk) 15:08, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

it seems that the authors of the article are pursuing a wholly sinister attempt to suggest that there is and was an operation trojan horse, this has been proven to be untrue by ofsted. so why other than to pursue an islamophobic agenda would one call it an operation knowing that the core issues plot/extremism of the hoax letter are proven to be false?Yorkuk (talk) 11:47, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

It's still a strange title, regardless of what the newspapers refer (or sensationalise) it as. I'd prefer using a title along the lines of "2014 Trojan Horse Letter Scandal". Factorylad (talk) 11:14, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I amended the lead paragraph to deal with this problem in a NPOV way, as follows:[edit]

The Trojan Hoax Affair was a series of anti-Islamic investigations prompted by the so-called "Trojanbbbb Horse letter" which was a hoax letter alleging that Islamists in Birmingham were trying to co-opt schools in England and run them according to their beliefs and ideals.[1][2][3] bbbbbThe name, based on the Ancient Greek legend, came from a hoax letter of March 2014, alleged to be from Islamists in Birmingham, ...

My edit was immediately deleted and I was told to put it first on the Talk page which I am hence doing.

Words such as so-called should be avoided in an encyclopedia, and we have a link to the book at the top of the page so anyone looking for that can find it. I don't see any sources stating that it was "a series of anti-Islamic investigations". That's quite a controversial statement to include, and should be backed with reliable sources. This is Paul (talk) 19:25, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

I have added the following to the start of this article and was also deleted:

Operation Trojan Horse was the title of an anonymous letter, sent to Birmingham City Council in November 2013. The letter alleged a socially conservative sect of Muslims were trying to get their own members on to governing bodies and ousting head teachers. [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

it has been reported and is widely accepted that the trojan horse letter is a hoax - New evidence raises doubts about extremist plot to take over school - . this should be clearly noted within the first paragraph .Yorkuk (talk) 11:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm afraid this "new evidence" was published in March; since then the Ofsted reports reveal that - regardless of the veracity of the letter which gave the apparent conspiracy its name (and the Wikipedia article clearly states that that letter is itself a forgery) - there was indeed a concerted attempt to pervert the agenda of a number of state comprehensive schools. Alfietucker (talk) 16:26, 16 July 2014 (UTC)


I have removed the 'C' assessment of this article as an article should not be assessed by the article's creator, but preferably made by active and experienced members of the relevant project, ie Wikipedia:WikiProject West Midlands. The article is flawed with the use of inadvisable words per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch, eg "alleged" / "extremist". These types of word should not be used unless quoted as part of a cited reference, and then with care and in inverted commas. The article should be copy edited to a neutral point of view. Acabashi (talk) 23:56, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

I see "alleged" as a perfectly neutral word to use to avoid legal issues, as this plot has not been proven yet. What else can I call it? Or should I omit it and take a POV that it definitely happened? '''tAD''' (talk) 13:35, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I've replaced "Islamic extremist" with "Islamist" and "Salafist" when that was in a person's quotation. '''tAD''' (talk) 13:39, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Acabashi, you might want to cite the specific guidelines that reference the self-assessment of articles. I've not personally encountered any opposition to anything I've created and assessed and I've been here for several years, but maybe it's something I've overlooked. Personally I think as a developing event this is a start-class article, so I'll assess it as that. Will also add to WP:Birmingham and a couple of others. This is Paul (talk) 10:24, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
This is Paul - Thanks for that. Perhaps the 'should' should have been 'best'. There are no guidelines I can find on self-assessment - I think this is a WP shortcoming. We could write a very short, incomplete, and not very literate article with one ref and call it a 'B' if we were so inclined. For impartiality I think it good practice for others (non-creators) in relevant projects to assess an article as peer review - I have always asked projects for an assessment, even if I am a member of those relevant projects. Acabashi (talk) 10:05, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
That's probably not a bad idea actually. Articles have to go through peer review for GA and FA, so perhaps a similar but less formal thing is needed for B and C class content. One of the things I've noticed is people sometimes assess something minor as being of high or top importance, the case I particular remember being a page about a television film that aired on Channel 4 which I think the person concerned may have had an interest in. This is Paul (talk) 14:20, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Given that the actual truth of the matter is still along way to having been established, i think it's completely inappropriate to describe it as an 'organised campaign'; the report today has found problems with certain schools, but nothing yet showing it being an organised conspiracy, and indeed most commenters seem to agree the original letter itself is a hoax. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not an op-ed platform. Accordingly I propose to rewrite the whole introduction with this in mind. Star-one (talk) 19:35, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

currently this article is reading like an op-ed and fails to explore the facts that evidence the plot as a hoax. with no evidence of a take over or extremism or an 'islamist agenda'. unfortunately such clarifications are not being allowed . Yorkuk (talk) 11:39, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Cross refs[edit]

Ought there to be mention, in the connected topics section of


as similar ethic/religious based allegations ? -- (talk) 14:29, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

If you can find non-partisan sources, yes. However, if say a governor likened it to them, put in their quote. Otherwise it is breaking WP:NPOV '''tAD''' (talk) 16:03, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
There is a big difference. The Zinoviev Letter and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are known forgeries. The allegations about Operation Trojan Horse have not been shown to be false. In fact, it looks so far as if they are true in that there is no good reason to think the documents false and Islamists in other places are known to have behaved in much the same way.Bill (talk) 21:37, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

the claim of the trojan horse letter have been proven to be false by ofsted, there is no evidence of a plot (as birmingham council have also confirmed through their investigations of the schools. further michael wilshare has not been able to claim any links to extremists/islamists or extremism in any of the schools. Yorkuk (talk) 11:51, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Claiming that known forgeries are "connected topics" simply declares OTH a forgery. Sadly, the OTH allegations were easily substantiated. But this article has, as of this writing, done an admirable job in refusing to equate Islamism with Islam. Profhum (talk) 15:39, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Andrew Moffat[edit]

I don't see why Andrew Moffat's experience should be mentioned under "opposition". He isn't quoted as opposing the investigation or as producing any argument against it. He just said that he didn't think what happened to him was related to Operation Trojan Horse. Does th is bit belong in the article?Bill (talk) 21:37, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Point taken. Will delete '''tAD''' (talk) 22:54, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Muslim Council of Britain[edit]

Given Tahir Alam's prominent role in this controversy, his position as former chair of the education committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, and the similarly trenchant response of the MCB to this controversy, I have added crosslinks and references.Cpsoper (talk) 22:04, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

No longer just "Midlands" interest: in the Top Stories in America's Google News this morning[edit]

I came to this valuable Wikipedia article to learn the background. If experience is any guide, this Top Story will be hotly debated on the American talk shows, particularly as an exhibit by conservatives. It's a kind of smoking gun. Profhum (talk) 15:44, 9 June 2014 (UTC)


The lead now has 9 fairly short paragraphs. Granted, this is a complex and far-ranging case with many opinions and facts to cover, but is this too long? '''tAD''' (talk) 19:08, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Your consolidations have improved it. Trichinosis (talk) 01:53, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks '''tAD''' (talk) 09:42, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Heads up[edit]

Just a heads up to say I've reverted this edit in which a user made unsourced allegations about the topic. This is Paul (talk) 19:08, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. Paul, if you were to look at User talk:Trichinosis, I suggested some additions to the scope of this article. Unfortunately, myself and Trich are too consumed with football fever at the moment to devote appropriate attention to this article. We would both be greatly grateful if it were possible that you had the time and devotion to add such material to the article, or could suggest somebody who does. '''tAD''' (talk) 19:30, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm happy to look for information, but can't say I'm too familiar with the topic, other than what I've seen in the news. Thanks for directing me to your discussion, as that's given me a few ideas of stuff to hunt for, so I should be able to find something. I've also mentioned this at WikiProject West Midlands, so hopefully someone there can help too. This is Paul (talk) 20:00, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Cheers, happy editing '''tAD''' (talk) 20:30, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I had a dabble myself as tonight's Nigera-Iran game is nothing to write home about. I put some things from the Telegraph and Guardian, I think we should stick to these calibre of papers in the media section unless a significant story comes out from one of lower reliability. I seem to remember that soon after The Times broke the story, another writer from the same paper wrote an early piece calling it a hoax. '''tAD''' (talk) 20:57, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I also added Salma Yaqoob to the article as she seems to be proactive in it '''tAD''' (talk) 21:05, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

some useful quotes and other bits[edit]

I did some digging and found a couple of articles with potentially useful quotes. I see the Birmingham Mail Yaqoob story is already used as a source, but there's a good quote from her that could be slotted in somewhere. I concur with the views on Trichinosis's talk page that this issue seems to be split on a left/right basis, so we do need to balance it. What's there so far looks good. This is Paul (talk) 14:05, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Claiming the inspections were politically motivated, Salma Yaqoob said they had been conducted in "a climate of political and media hysteria".

Salma Yaqoob brands Ofsted probe into Trojan Horse schools as 'politically motivated', Birmingham Mail, 9 June 2014

The Respect MP, George Galloway, claimed the episode had become an anti-Muslim "witch hunt".

Ofsted finds 'culture of fear and intimidation' in some schools, The Guardian, 9 June 2014

(not sure if we already have this article, but it contains a lot of quotes from those involved, also we may need to get them directly quoted from another source as this looks like it was a live feed and I don't know if we can use that)

Mr Galloway's quotes came first from Twitter. There's an interesting one in which he calls in "Trojan horse-shit" and likens it to the Iraq War. '''tAD''' (talk) 14:39, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

biased, needs to be balanced[edit]

It might be worth reading the blog to get a sense of balance, there is clearly two side to this story and only one side is currently reflected in this article:

With due respect, the blog you've linked to is very POV. In any case, blogs are - as a rule - considered non-reliable sources for Wikipedia articles. The current Wikipedia article, as far as I'm aware, is built on reliable secondary sources, as per Wikipedia policy. Alfietucker (talk) 19:41, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
As Alfie says, anybody can write a blog. We may as well say it is a hoax because Tahir Alam said so, which I have seen on advocacy websites! Man, imagine that, murderers would get away by saying "I didn't do it"! '''tAD''' (talk) 20:05, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Seeing as we have a media section in this article showing the views of different papers, and the rest of the article is reporting goevrnment findings (which you have the freedom to believe or be sceptical), we are being neutral. '''tAD''' (talk) 20:07, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, I wasn't pointing to the blog as a source but within there are many references which we should use to help balance the story, imho. @The Almightey Drill - the comment you made about my reference: "GuardianFakeLetter" being evidence of me being POV - sorry it shows I was a bit lazy with the full reference but does not counter the argument? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quilliam111 (talkcontribs) 21:37, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

The media, political and school reactions all contain individuals who were sceptical of OTH. I'm sorry but if this isn't enough for you then I'd suggest you write your own blog for your opinions to be heard '''tAD''' (talk) 23:11, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Your blog link suggested that it's a hoax because Douglas Murray used the words "Trojan Horse" in a blog. This is WP:OR and utterly irrelevant - what has Mr Murray to do with this? We included in context that a Guardian writer found this term in Goves book because a) Guardian is a reputable mass-media source even if it is an opinion piece b) Gove is relevant to the article as a key figure. We can't see the unseen on whether this journalist was right or not '''tAD''' (talk) 23:19, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
It's not my blog, however, it does make some sensible references to other material which challenges the first sentence: "Operation Trojan Horse was an organised attempt by Islamists to co-opt schools in England and run them according to their beliefs and ideals." There is no evidence to suggest there was an "organised" attempt, nor is there any evidence of "Islamists" - the OFSTED report found no evidence of extremism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quilliam111 (talkcontribs) 09:10, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
OFSTED did support the opening sentence, that schools were targeted and run to an agenda. Specify this "sensible material", the blog seemed fringe view at best. '''tAD''' (talk) 09:20, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
running an agenda is not a plot. and there was no evidence of a widespread organised campaign that was centralised to any islamist group. Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
"The Ofsted chief said there was evidence of an "organised campaign to target certain schools".
is the above quoted in the ofsted reports? has the evidence proven that there is irrefutably an organised campaign? Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
In the article there is no evidence of "organised campaign" - read the report, bullet point two gives the headline of this taking place but does not provide any evidence of anything being "organised" or being a "campaign". The full inspection report is here:
I note you have not provided any evidence for using the term "Islamists"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quilliam111 (talkcontribs) 12:23, 23 June 2014 (UTC) Quilliam111 (talk)
have ofsted made any reference to confirming specifically an islamist plot with respect to this trojan hoax? Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Sir Wilshaw says in the video that he was told by headteachers that governors had an "organised campaign" to impose a "narrow faith-based ideology". Gee, must be Quakerism or Zoroastrianism or something eh? '''tAD''' (talk) 13:04, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
isnt the above hearsay with a vested interest group and is unproven. Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
You're running into a brick wall here. Step away from flogging the dead horse. You simply hold the opinion that you want to believe that this was a hoax, but can not find a way to convince anybody else so. It's getting tiring now. '''tAD''' (talk) 13:08, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
its now commonly held view that the letter is a hoax. Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
IMHO the problem is two fold:
  • The wiki entry here is for something that is still under investigation, all the facts are not known
  • The entry focuses on the government, there is no balancing from the schools/teachers/governors - hence its biased
Sorry this is tiring you, but I think we need to keep this NPOV.Quilliam111 (talk)
The term "Islamist" is not substantiated - I recommend we remove. Quilliam111 (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 14:15, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Get s bloody life. There was an investigation. We have reported what the accused parties said as well. You find this unbalanced because it isn't unbalanced in your favour. You're boring me now '''tAD''' (talk) 15:27, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I concur with this. As someone who's watched this article develop, I can see great care has been taken to present the subject from a neutral point of view. This is Paul (talk) 21:13, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
for it to be balanced the other point of view needs to be reflected with equal vigor or it seems that youre pursuing an islamophobic agenda rather than an objective neutral based reporting. Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Ample sources report on a coordinated plot by Islamists/extremists/fanatics/fundamentalists. A perusal of the copious sources cited shows this. While TheAlmightyDill might express himself a little forcefully, no doubt, at the end of his tether after yet another wretched England World Cup campaign, I echo his sentiments. As an aside, edit warring is not very friendly behaviour and is frowned upon in these parts. Trichinosis (talk) 09:50, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
however ofsted make no such claim after their inspections. Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

The opening sentence is biased as it stands. 'Operation Trojan Horse was an organised attempt by Islamists to covertly co-opt schools in England.' This implies that the Trojan Horse document is genuine, which has not been proved. Indeed, several sources show that it has been widely dismissed. The OFSTED findings do not establish this point, which is the subject of a separate investigation, unless and until it can be shown that those problems identified were a result of the outworkings of the specific plot which produced the Trojan Horse document. To confound the two without further evidence is simply bias.--Tcgriffin (talk) 12:09, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Operation Trojan Horse is the WP:COMMONNAME from practically any source with any opinion on the subject. We say that the letter is of doubted authenticity, because even sources which believe in a conspiracy believe that it was written by a teacher to expose what was going on. '''tAD''' (talk) 12:36, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
the common name is actually trojan horse hoax. Yorkuk (talk) 12:08, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the objectors here - the opening sentence as it currently stands is not supported by the references cited. Those sources do support the contention that there was an organised attempt to take over schools (though not so incontrovertibly as to make denying this fact a WP:FRINGE - enough people disagree for wikipedia to need to reflect the fact), but they provide no suggestion that Operation Trojan Horse itself was anything other than an invention. Even the sources cited in support seem doubtful about the veracity Operation Trojan Horse itself - eg the Telegraph article calls it the "so-called" Trojan Horse plot, expressing a degree of nuance and doubt that our sentence that its supposed to support doesn't reflect. All it really needs is the word "alleged" in the opening sentence and a bit of tweaking. Most of the rest of the article's good. JimmyGuano (talk) 20:04, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
"Questionable authenticity" is also not a fair description of the letter that as I understand it is pretty much universally believed to be a hoax. JimmyGuano (talk) 20:13, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Rewrite introduction[edit]

I believe the introduction to this article is misleading, in spite of good faith edits by fellow editors. This is a controversial subject and must follow reliable sources. Sources, such as the BBC and Telegraph, report allegations stemming from a (possibly hoax) letter found to have some factual basis by Ofsted. The BBC and Telegraph do not say there was a plot, perhaps for fear of being sued. All we can say is that Ofsted says there was a plot, if a news organisation reports this. Or, if we can find an Ofsted source saying this precise thing (assuming we consider Ofsted to be reliable), we can restate their position and give a reference. But if you look here you'll find even Ofsted hedging their bets: "Some headteachers reported that there has been an organised campaign to target certain schools in Birmingham in order to alter their character and ethos." So Ofsted do not say there has been an organised campaign (plot) but report "some headteachers" saying this. Also, I'm not sure that "altering the character and ethos" equates to "co-opting". The introduction could be much improved if it used indirect speech instead of reporting allegations as fact. --Wavehunter (talk) 06:44, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Ofsted is the only one of those entities which can investigate and rate a school. '''tAD''' (talk) 12:18, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
BBC and Telegraph were not reporting allegations from the letter in the citations in the introduction, they were reporting from Ofsted's findings. The authorship of that letter is irrelevant to an actual investigation. And "co-opting" seems pretty sound to me: '''tAD''' (talk) 12:33, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Germany's international state broadcaster calls it "covertly co-opting" '''tAD''' (talk) 13:57, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

however there is no evidence of a covert co-opting despite its use in one part of the media. do any of the ofsted reports make this claim? Yorkuk (talk) 11:42, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

serious lack of neutrality and objectivity[edit]

currently as it stands the article is a very biased perspective of the trojan horse hoax, the author who is not allowing significant changes to his/her political narrative regardless of facts that dispute his/her perspective. it appears that whilst no evidence of an islamist plot the author is determined to make such a link whilst ignoring the neo conservative lead on this issue.

what the investigations showed was that : the evidence points to very serious failures of governance and the introduction of a conservative Islam which is not representative of the local community, Muslim or otherwise. - See more at:

There was no evidence of a trojan horse plot nor of extremism within any of the schools is not reflected in the article.

There is no mention of explicit accounts of the harsh questioning by officials -

“A lot of girls were asked ‘Are you forced to wear the head scarf?’” the source said. “They asked one male pupil, ‘Are girls here forced to wear headscarves?’ and his answer was ‘Well there are three girls sat in the room that aren’t wearing them. So what do you think?’”

Chris Allen, University of Birmingham - While there was no evidence of a ‘plot’ in Ofsted’s recent investigations, there were some incidents in specific schools that made for uneasy reading. Primarily though, these were concerned with matters of school governance rather than anything else.

soon after the allegations broke, inspectors went back to Park View and it is alleged found it to be outstanding. According to the Guardian, when presented to the Department for Education the findings were rejected, prompting a further inspection that resulted in a series of minor recommendations being replaced by more severe criticisms leading to its classification as ‘inadequate’. -

No Trojan Horse extremism links' Birmingham teachers hear -

these serious issues need to be addressed. Yorkuk (talk) 11:33, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I sympathise with much of the above. The 'warning' on the article lead to not contradict Ofsted or the inquiry is absurd. Neither of these are 'judicial' processes and both have been heavily criticised, therefore both need to be attributed, not given the authority of WP voice. Also, since neither of these bodies used the wording we use, the end result is synth. There were certainly failings at these schools, whether, and to what extent, there was anything resembling an organised attempt to impose alien values, is precisely what the article (and the fuss) is/was all about. Pincrete (talk) 09:55, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Update - Government report[edit]

This is due to be published tomorrow and the article should be updated accordingly. This article contains a lot of information that should be included in the wikipedia article. Trichinosis (talk) 21:46, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Trich, I updated it before I went to the talk page. Just the first sentence though, a lot more for everybody to write! '''tAD''' (talk) 07:41, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Where is the letter?[edit]

Anyone have a source for the full contents of the letter they can add to the article? For something that kicked this entire thing off, and is described as being 'widely leaked' it is unsatisfactory that there is no trace of it. (talk) 11:41, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

New story[edit] Link to a BBC News story of a Christian group criticising the reaction to the conspiracy. It's 1 o'clock in the morning and I don't know what to do with the story lol '''tAD''' (talk) 23:51, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

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  1. ^ "PM acts to contain UK schools extremism scandal". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference six was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference ofsted was invoked but never defined (see the help page).